Engaging President Jackson Activity
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nullification crisis lesson plan

Presidential Decision: President Jackson and the Nullification Crisis!

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In this presidential decision making activity, students take on the role as President Jackson and his advisors to come to a decisions to 'solve' the Nullification Crisis.

SITUATION: Congress passed a sharp increase on the tariff in 1828 which angered many in the South as it hurts their economy while helping the northern states. They have deemed it the "Tariff of Abominations" and now South Carolina has nullified the tax, saying they won't enforce this federal law, and threatened to secede if they are forced to do so. This could lead to disunion or civil war if not handled well. How will you respond, Mr. President?

First, you review a timeline of important events that led to the crisis to help students understand factors leading to this issue. Then there is a 'context' overview slide that breaks down the crisis into a very understandable language. Then, students read the 'Presidential Briefing' and complete the 'Presidential Decisions' worksheet in this very engaging, student centered lesson.

The worksheet has students consider important questions a president must consider before coming to a decision- what do we know about this issue, what limitations do I have, what does the Constitution allow me to do, what do I wish the result to be, what could go wrong, how do the American people feel on this issue, and several more. This is such a powerful problem-solving activity for history class that develops critical thinking and active learning!

Then, students write a short speech announcing their decision and this could be read to the class so students learn how each group approached the crisis. Lastly, you review what the president actually did to handle this situation- which is explained on the slideshow. There is a sheet to record what actually happen and reflect on how well they did in the activity. Trust me, students will be so much more interested in what actually happened, ask questions about it, and think critically about a historical event they might otherwise have not cared a lick about! So get your students in the drive seat in history and engage them in some seriously exciting history!

 This has everything you need to complete the activity- no outside resources are needed! And there are links to the Google slides version so you can edit anything you want! Its definitely the most engaging lesson for President Jackson that I use with my students. 👊

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