Cornelius Van Vorst, ca.1620; 
Jersey City Free Public Library; Grover Cleveland Political Cartoon; 
Grover Cleveland Birthplace Historical Site Collection Peter Lee, former slave, ca.1880; 
Hoboken Historical Photographs Collection; Farm Map of Hillsboro, Somerset County, 1860; 
Historical Maps of New Jersey Collection; Bathing Beauties, 1890-1930; 
American Labor Museum/Botto House National Landmark Collection; Flag Salute, 1950; 
Seabrook Farms Collection;

Introductory Activity
Background
U.S. Constitution
During the 1960s and 1970s executive power and its exercise increased as part of the phenomenon known as the Imperial Presidency. As the Vietnam War progressed in to the late 1960s many Americans began to question the war and the president's power to conduct it. Early in the conflict many Americans unquestionably supported the conduct of the Vietnam War as it related to containing communism. It became apparent to the public that their elected leaders' comments about the progress of the war were increasingly out of synch with what was being reported by the press. In May 1967 Senator Clifford Case of New Jersey travelled to South Vietnam on a fact-finding mission. Upon his return to the United States his support of the conduct of the war began to change by late 1967.
For the rest of the presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson Americans trust in their leaders continued to erode. In the wake of increasing protests at home, the Tet Offensive and the apparent lack of American progress in meeting its war goals in Vietnam it was evident to the president that he did not have the support of the nation. By early 1968 Americans were looking at their leaders with more scrutiny and were less willing to accept their words at face value. Johnson declined to run for re-election in 1968 and former vice-president Richard M. Nixon won the presidency promising to restore law and order and end the Vietnam War. But, Americans' trust in their elected officials had been severely tested by the Johnson Administration.
Throughout President Nixon's first term it appeared to Americans that their trust had been well placed. Nixon assured a rapid conclusion to the Vietnam War, and on the surface the return of troops gave the impression that war was winding down. But, Senator Case and average American citizens continued to question and oppose the execution of Nixon's Vietnam War policies which were designed to end the war. In reality they were escalating casualties on both sides, extending the war into neighboring nations and utterly destroying the nations of North and South Vietnam. In the years following 1967 Senator Clifford Case worked actively to bring about a cessation of hostilities in Indochina and to get all American personnel, and prisoners of war, out of Indochina and back on American soil.
Learning Goals
Essential questions that study of this unit will touch upon are:
  1. How should the Congress act when the President of the United States wants to exert unilateral power?
  2. Should public officials exercise independent judgment?
In this lesson students will work with different types of documents in order to come to an understanding of the following:
  1. The powers of the Congress and the powers of the president as well as the checks and balances between each.
  2. What inherent and formal powers of the president are, and how during the "Imperial Presidency" the inherent powers of the president increased over time.
  3. Who Senator Case was, what his principles were, and what his interpretation was of public service and appropriate exercise of power by public officials.
  4. How Senator Case's position on American military involvement in the Vietnam War evolved over time.
  5. The way in which Senator Case acted in his role as United States Senator to affect policy changes in the execution of the Vietnam War.
  6. How to analyze primary source documents such as print sources and photographs.
  7. Effective ways of integrating images and text, through selective diction, to communicate an idea clearly and concisely.
Introductory Activity – Checks and Balances
Clifford Case held a deep affinity for the Senate and approached his service to the nation and to his constituents in New Jersey with a seriousness and reverence evident in only a select few individuals that have served in this body throughout its history. Case understood the vital role fulfilled by the legislative branch and attempted to adhere to Congress' constitutional obligations to intervene when other branches, namely the executive, exceeded their authority. Case's correspondence and speeches reflect an astute awareness of Congress' role in resolving crises and a desire to encourage his Senate colleagues and citizens to permit the legislative branch the ability to exercise its powers. Before you evaluate Clifford Case's record as a public servant and stances on key issues affecting the United States in the postwar period, it is essential that you understand the principle of checks and balances established by the Constitution.
Link to Document
Examine Article I and Article II of the Constitution of the United States. Individually or with a partner, complete the following activities and answer the following questions.
  1. Identify the powers granted to the Executive Branch intended to check the Legislative Branch.
  2. Identify the powers granted to the Legislative Branch intended to check the Executive Branch.
  3. In your opinion, which branch of the government is capable of exercising its authority most rapidly? Provide specific evidence to support your response.
  4. In your opinion, which branch of government best reflects the will of the American people? Provide specific evidence to support your response.
  5. During his political career, Clifford Case made one failed attempt to run for governor of New Jersey, reportedly dropping out of the race because he did not raise sufficient funds to seriously challenge his opponent. Historians speculate that Case knew his limitations and did not consider himself executive material.
    • Which traits might make someone best suited for the executive branch? The legislative branch? Support your conclusions with specific examples.
    • In your opinion, which branch provides the best opportunity to affect change? Support your conclusions with specific examples.
  6. Modifications: If you feel that your students may struggle with the language of the Constitution, you may wish to either provide an annotated or plain language version of it. Another alternative would be to provide the students with a list of the powers given to each branch of government by the Constitution and instruct the students to categorize them.
Introductory Activity – Checks and Balances
  1. Do Now Activity: At the beginning of the class session provide students with the question "What makes a good legislator?" Students should take 5 minutes to jot down their own responses and then prepare to share with the class.
  2. Have students share their responses with the class while you record their responses. Ideally they will be recorded in a location where all students can see the unique list being developed by the class.
  3. Provide students with the materials for this activity if they do not have access to Electronic New Jersey.
  4. When students arrive at the Introductory Activity page they will see the following text, prompt and questions:
    Clifford Case held a deep affinity for the Senate and approached his service to the nation and to his constituents in New Jersey with a seriousness and reverence evident in only a select few individuals that have served in this body throughout its history. Case understood the vital role fulfilled by the legislative branch and attempted to adhere to Congress' constitutional obligations to intervene when other branches, namely the executive, exceeded their authority. Case's correspondence and speeches reflect an astute awareness of Congress' role in resolving crises and a desire to encourage his Senate colleagues and citizens to permit the legislative branch the ability to exercise its powers. Before you evaluate Clifford Case's record as a public servant and stances on key issues affecting the United States in the postwar period, it is essential that you understand the principle of checks and balances established by the Constitution.
    Examine Article I and Article II of the Constitution of the United States. Individually or with a partner, complete the following activities and answer the following questions.
    1. Identify the powers granted to the Executive Branch intended to check the Legislative Branch.
    2. Identify the powers granted to the Legislative Branch intended to check the Executive Branch.
    3. Which branch of government is capable of exercising its authority most rapidly?
    4. In your opinion, which branch of government best reflects the will of the American people? Provide specific evidence to support your response.
    5. During his political career, Clifford Case made one failed attempt to run for governor of New Jersey, reportedly dropping out of the race because he did not raise sufficient funds to seriously challenge his opponent. Historians speculate that Case knew his limitations and did not consider himself executive material.
      • Which traits might make someone best suited for the executive branch? The legislative branch? Support your conclusions with specific examples.
      • In your opinion, which branch provides the best opportunity to affect change? Support your conclusions with specific examples.
  5. Students should prepare talking points for each of the discussion questions and be prepared to point to textual evidence to support their responses
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