Political Ideology Teacher Resources

It seems like American politics are more divided than ever before, but a quick glimpse through American history may change your mind. Whether you’re teaching the littlest social studies students or government classes who are old enough to vote, it’s important for them to understand the full spectrum of political ideology.

For a history context, check out this lesson on the ideological differences between patriots and loyalists during the Revolutionary War. A brief presentation discusses the history of the two-party system in America and how it remains in place today.

To bridge the gap between the 18th century and today, show an informative video that covers the basic ideologies of American politics. Another video discusses the rise of American conservatism in the 20th century—and a class activity details the liberal backlash of the 1990’s.

How do your students align themselves on the current ideological spectrum? Discuss the characteristics of the extremes and moderates of the political spectrum, and have class members take a test to see how they identify. Another resource explains the processes of caucuses and how they affect our political system.

No matter how you or your students plan to vote, we’ve got the social studies resources you need at Lesson Planet!

Showing 25 - 48 of 212 resources
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An Introduction to Samuel Huntington’s The Clash of Civilizations

For Students 9th - 12th Standards
In 1996, Samuel Huntington predicted that in a post-Cold War world, the primary source of conflict would be due to cultural and religious differences, rather than ideological ones. Introduce The Clash of Civilizations with a short,...
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The Founding Fathers and the Constitutional Struggle Over Centralized Power

For Teachers 3rd - 8th
Believe it or not, the Constitution was America's second attempt at a democratic government. Academics travel back to the past to explore the shortcomings of the Articles of Confederation that would eventually lead to the Constitutional...
1 In 1 Collection
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Campaign Coverage Map and Campaign Strategy

For Teachers 7th - 12th
A candidate's campaigning history can reveal a lot about his or her election strategy. Analyze the way that the 2016 presidential candidates traveled through the United States during their campaigns with an interactive map. High...
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The Minor Parties

For Students 10th - 12th
Help to increase the knowledge of your future (or current) voters with this quiz about minor parties. By matching various minor parties, both historical and contemporary, students can become better-informed about the entirety of American...
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One China, Two Systems

For Teachers 6th - 12th
Students study the term 'peaceful coexistence' and the role it plays in the Chinese process for reunification with Taiwan. They research and assess the political ideologies, economic stability and national identities of the countries...
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McCarthysim

For Teachers 11th
Eleventh graders explore and analyze the impact of the Cold War at home and how the fear of communism and nuclear war affected American life throughout the Cold War. They study what role Senator Joseph McCarthy played on American fears...
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Abraham Lincoln: Our Man for All Seasons

For Teachers 10th - 12th
Pupils analyze perceptions of slavery during the Civil War era. In this Abraham Lincoln lesson, students research Internet and print sources regarding Lincoln's view of slavery. Pupils also compare pro- and anti-slavery political...
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Romanticism & Transcendentalism The Intellectual and Social Foundations

For Teachers 10th - 12th
Don’t get lost studying how Romantic thought developed; the information is right here and ready to use. The presentation introduces thorough definitions of the movement, the thoughts of major philosophers, the major works of Romantic...
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Women's Suffrage

For Teachers 10th
Tenth graders examine the role of women in the early 1900s. In groups, they use the internet to research groups who favored or opposed giving women the right to vote. To end the lesson, they note the methods used by women to finally gain...
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How Are People Portrayed by Different Media?

For Teachers 8th - 11th
Student investigate the media portrayal of 9/11. In this media instructional activity, learners analyze how the media portrayed a person in power during the 9/11 attacks. Students gather information about the person's beliefs,...
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Never To Forget

For Teachers 10th
Tenth graders discuss the events leading up to antisemitic behavior in Europe during World War II. Through various activities, 10th graders acquaint themselves with the political ideology of Nazism and assess responsibility for the...
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FDR-Hitler: Conflicting Political Systems

For Teachers 9th - 12th
Students compare and contrast the governments of the United States and Germany during World War II. Using different media, they identify the actions of both countries during the war and their major mistakes. They write a short summary...
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Designing a Political Campaign

For Teachers 12th
Twelfth graders create an original political campaign complete with a party, ideology, slogan, poster, and brochure. They work in collaborative groups to complete this assignment using Microsoft Word and a drawing program.
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American Jews and Civil Rights

For Teachers 10th
Tenth graders examine the Civil Rights movement of the 1960's and how American Jews were involved. They discuss the responsibilities of any minority or ethnic group. They consider the process of change in politics as well.
1 In 1 Collection
PD Learning Network

Bias in News Sources

For Teachers 9th - 12th
As young consumers of media, it is important for high schoolers to explore concepts of bias and prejudice, and how they may be present in media. After discussing ideological messages that media can contain, individuals complete a warm-up...
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"An Expression of the American Mind": Understanding the Declaration of Independence

For Teachers 9th - 12th
Students research the structure of the Declaration: introduction, main political/philosophical ideas, grievances and assertion of sovereignty. They analyze the ideological/political origins of the ideas in the Declaration. Students...
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Moot Court

For Teachers 9th - 12th
Young scholars research and discuss court cases in preparation for Moot Court. Student attorneys research precedents involving their cases, while student justices research political ideology of Supreme Court Justices. Student attorneys...
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Anna and the King: The Real Story of Anna Leonowens

For Teachers 5th - 12th
Students explore the true life of Anna Leonowens and how the mythic story of her relationship with the King of Siam evolved. They explore the systems of nineteenth century colonization as well as twentieth century political ideology.
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Courting Controversy?

For Teachers 6th - 12th
Students consider their own personal opinions on divisive issues. They examine the confirmation of Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr. and investigate issues from different ideological and philosophical perspectives.
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Are You a Liberal or a Conservative?

For Teachers 9th - 12th
High schoolers take an Internet quiz that categorizes their placement on an ideological spectrum. They, in groups, define liberal and conservative.
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Get Out and Vote!

For Teachers 9th - 12th
Students examine political activism. Pupils discuss forms of political activism, specifically voting. They listen to Public Service Announcements. Classmates write and record their own Public Service Announcements to encourage others...
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The Revolutions of 1848

For Teachers 9th - 11th
1848 was a hot year for Europe, which endured political tumult and upheaval after years of tension buildup. This presentation details the circumstances surrounding revolutions in France, Austria-Hungary, Romania, Italy, Prussia, and...
1 In 1 Collection 13:34
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The Cold War

For Students 9th - 12th Standards
How did the United States and the USSR seek ideological and strategic influence throughout the world during the Cold War? This video details the Soviet's creation of pro-communist governments in surrounding nations following World War II...
6:27
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Why Do People Join Cults?

For Students 6th - 12th Standards
It's easy to dismiss cult members as being brainwashed by a charismatic leader, but the process of being recruited into a cult is much more complicated than that. Learn more about the ways cults use an extreme ideology and sophisticated...

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