Teacher-Written Lesson

A Crash Course on Elections in America

  • Written by Sophia Institute for Teachers
  • 45 minutes per activity
  • RatingRatingRatingRatingRating

Lesson Overview

NEW: UPDATED for the 2020 presidential election!

Your students may not all be Catholic, but they all have a role to play in promoting the common good in private and public life!

During election season, and especially during presidential elections, the nation focuses on voting for presidential candidates as a key way to participate in promoting the common good. And perhaps in this election more than in any in recent history, citizens are wrestling with voting as a moral choice. What is voting? Are we taking an affirmative action, or merely expressing a preference? Is voting a right we can choose to exercise, or is it a moral obligation? And how can we understand what is at stake in each race, and thereby vote with a well-formed conscience?

Because of the significance and universal relevance of this topic, we have prepared several activities for you this month. A presidential election is a teachable moment that only comes along every four years! Therefore, we recommend making the most of the opportunity and teaching them all.

Your students will learn about:

  • Church teaching on where our rights come from
  • The Declaration of Independence and the principles of the U.S. Constitution
  • The different powers given to local, state, and national governments
  • The guidance the Church offers on voting with a well-formed conscience
  • How they can evaluate candidates in light of their stated positions on key issues
  • The many ways young people can promote the common good and participate in public life—now and in the future—in addition to voting.

Recommended For

Grade Level: High School

Subject: Civics, Government, and Economics, Civics, Participating in Civic Life, Current Events, Religion, Living as a Disciple of Jesus Christ in Society, Moral Theology, Social Justice

Learner: Traditional Classroom, Advanced Placement, Homeschooled Students, Classical Education

Tagged as: participation,  elections,  common good,  citizenship

Lesson Reviews

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Nov 04, 2016

I wish there were a whole government course written like this. Great resource.

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Oct 27, 2016

The topics covered are excellent. The class times needed for each lesson are quite different from each other. The most likely conclusion that will be drawn by the students that it is morally acceptable not to vote, even if one candidate wants to murder children and the other has a problem with personal sexual sins. Abortion is much more evil. The conclusion should be that the least evil should be done; therefore, the morally required choice is to vote such that the abortion promoter does not win.

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