Lesson Plan

The Election of Barack Obama 44th President of the United States

The election of Barack Obama is commonly described as "historic." But what does that term mean? Does the historic character of his election mean different things to different people? Does its meaning depend on the race, age, class, gender, geographic region, or political party of the person using the term? While the most common usage refers to the fact that, for the first time, an African American will be President of the United States, the challenges that he will face both at home and abroad are historic as well: the country is fighting two wars and confronts the most serious financial problems since the Great Depression. This lesson focuses on the relationship between the Civil Rights Movement and Obama's election, but it also asks students why they think Barack Obama's election is "historic."

Guiding Questions

Why is Barack Obama's election considered "historic?"

Learning Objectives

Describe some of Barack Obama's credentials, values, and political ideals.

Understand the connection between the Civil Rights Movement and the election of Barack Obama to be President of the United States.

Discuss the importance of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Appreciate the importance of perspective in viewing and analyzing the significance of an historical event.