Featured Teaching Kits
Teacher-approved stories, resources, and worksheets for teaching about the roles of the president and the executive branch in your classroom
Many of the president's closest advisers did not like or respect him—at first. This play takes place in the days leading up to the Civil War and illustrates the challenges that the recently elected President Lincoln had to face.
“Remember, remember always, that all of us . . . are descended from immigrants and revolutionists.”
— Franklin D. Roosevelt
"Citizens by birth or choice, of a common country, that country has a right to concentrate your affections. The name of American, which belongs to you, in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of Patriotism, more than any appellation derived from local discriminations."
— George Washington
"We are bound by ideals that . . . teach us what it means to be citizens. Every child must be taught these ideals. Every citizen must uphold them. . . . I ask you to be citizens. Citizens, not spectators. Citizens, not subjects. Responsible citizens building communities of service and a nation of character."
— George W. Bush
“Change will not come if we wait for some other person, or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”
— Barack Obama
Who Shook the World
During the American Revolution, he led the Continental Army to victory over the British. Then as father of our country he not only refused to become king—he refused to seek a third term as president in order to demonstrate that a peaceful transfer of power was more important than who was in power.
Not only did Madison play a key role in creating the U.S. Constitution, but as the fourth president, Madison led the U.S. through the War of 1812.
In 1863, the 16th president issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed the enslaved people in the Confederate states. His leadership during the Civil War kept the country from splitting apart.
Franklin D. Roosevelt
The 32nd president led the nation during two of its most difficult periods, the Great Depression and World War II.
Supplemental resources for teaching about the presidency
and the executive branch
Terms and definitions that pertain to the office of the president
What is the executive branch?
The president leads the executive branch, which is composed of the vice president and the president's cabinet—15 advisers, called secretaries, who oversee departments such as the Departments of Defense and Education.
What is the legislative branch?
The legislative branch is made of the House of Representatives and the Senate. They draft laws, confirm or reject presidential nominations, and have the authority to declare war.
What is foreign policy?
Foreign policy is the way a government interacts with the governments of other nations.
The president enforces U.S. laws, creates policies, hires and fires officials within the executive branch, and appoints federal judges. An example of a Chief Executive function is President John F. Kennedy issuing an executive order to launch the Peace Corps.
The Constitution gives the president the power to sign acts of Congress into law or to veto any bill. An example of the legislative leader role is President Lyndon B. Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Head of political party
Presidents use their influence to back party candidates and raise money for House and Senate campaigns. One example of this role is President Donald Trump holding campaign rallies for Republicans running for office.
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Discover other free social studies topics and middle school teaching resources.
Photo Credits: Stephen Oliver on Unsplash (Mt. Rushmore); Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images (FDR); Steve Cukrov/Shutterstock.com (Constitution); Georgios Kollidas/Shutterstock.com (Washington); Everett Historical/Shutterstock.com (Lincoln); Everett - Art/Shutterstock.com (Madison); Zohar Lazar (George Washington Illustration); Peter Gridley/Getty Images (White House); John Parrot/Stocktrek Images/Getty Images (Lincoln's Cabinet); Stringer/AFP/Getty Images (Jimmy Carter)