Presidential Speech Analysis

In this assignment, students are asked to read and view a presidential “State of the Union” speech, interpret its meaning and intent, critique the strength of the arguments, and apply their knowledge to analyze which sources of presidential power the President relied upon in each major section of the speech. Students will outline the speech to facilitate analysis and will do research to set the speech in the cultural and political context of its time.

Subjects: Social Studies, US Government

Prior Knowledge: Students will need to have a solid understanding of the powers of the executive office and also be comfortable reading material from a variety of sources. They should be aware of the U.S. Constitutional provision (Article II-Section 3), which is the legal source of the “State of the Union” message. They should be able to outline and analyze a lengthy speech and draw conclusions about its content. Students should be able to research a topic independently.

Key Concepts and Terms: Bi-partisan, Domestic Policy, Executive Agreement, Executive Order, Executive Privilege, Foreign Policy, Formal Powers, Implied Powers, Item Veto, Joint Session of Congress, Mid-term Elections, Partisan, Pocket Veto, Presidential Agenda, State of the Union Address, Article II-Section 3 of the Constitution, Treaty

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