American Presidents





James Monroe American Presidents Teacher Guide

A lecture on James Monroe and John Quincy Adams
April 16, 1999 on C-SPAN
Recommended Use:
Secondary or College Level


Before Viewing American Presidents
Identify the current president and secretary of state. What is the relationship between these two people? What are the secretary of stateís credentials? Would the secretary of state make a good president? Why or why not? In what ways do the two jobs overlap? How are they different?

Visit C-SPANís American Presidents web site and other sources to gather information on James Monroe and John Quincy Adams. Review with students general background about the time period during which James Monroe was president, and John Quincy Adams was his secretary of state. Review also the time period during which John Quincy Adams was president. What is each man best known for? What questions are raised by the background information students have gathered?

What are some circumstances that contribute to inaccurate "historical stereotypes" of a president? Include the following on your list (and add others), and identify how each may affect the way a president is remembered by succeeding generations:

  • Personality
  • Politics
  • Reputation of preceding president(s)
  • Reputation of succeeding president(s)
  • Popular opinion
  • Social/cultural climate
  • International events
  • Domestic events
  • The nature of his accomplishments

While Viewing American Presidents
Directions: Take notes on how each of the following contribute to James Monroe's and John Quincy Adamsí respective historical stereotypes.

Trait James Monroe John Quincy Adams
1. Personality ______________
______________
______________
______________
2. Politics______________
______________
______________
______________
3. Reputation of preceding president(s)______________
______________
______________
______________
4. Reputation of succeeding president(s)______________
______________
______________
______________
5. Popular opinion______________
______________
______________
______________
6. Social/cultural climate ______________
______________
______________
______________
7. International events______________
______________
______________
______________
8. Domestic events______________
______________
______________
______________
9. The nature of his accomplishments______________
______________
______________
______________


After Viewing American Presidents
In what ways were Presidents Monroe and Adamsí historical stereotypes created by the similar forces and circumstances? In what ways were they different? How did their relationship with one another hurt or help their public personas? Their effectiveness in their jobs?

Finish the following sentences, according to information and opinions offered by Mr. Norton Smith:

  • James Monroeís reputation was impacted the most by:
  • John Quincy Adamsí reputation was impacted most by:
  • An accurate history of James Monroe would emphasize:
  • An accurate history of John Quincy Adams would emphasize:


Additional Activity
In what way do you think the "historical stereotypes" of the current or most recent presidents will be impacted by the same factors that affected Monroe and Adams. Make predictions by completing the above chart for a current or recent president.


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