The Election of 1896 - Gold or Silver?
Ohio Content Standard: Grade 11, History 4; Grade
12, History 3; Grade 12, Economics 7
Duration of Lesson: 2 class periods
- Students will understand the issues behind the Election of
- Students will be able to describe the positions of William
McKinley and William Jennings Bryan.
- Students will analyze editorial cartoons supporting
McKinley's candidacy and evaluate the effectiveness of the cartoons.
- Students will create editorial cartoons supporting Bryan and explain their cartoons.
Summary: This lesson is designed to explore the
Election of 1896 and how editorial cartoons were used to support the
candidates. Students will analyze cartoons supporting McKinley's candidacy and
create cartoons supporting the candidacy of Bryan. Students will determine the
effectiveness in persuading the public's vote.
- Editorial cartoons 1-4 and accompanying overhead
- Election of 1896 Fact Sheet
- Overhead projector
- Editorial cartoons 1-4
- Cartoon Analysis worksheet
- White paper for political cartoon drawing
- Drawing supplies
Pre-Assessment: Review with students the Election of
1896. A fact sheet is attached to this lesson if needed. A reading may also
be made available to students or assigned from a text book to provide some
background information on this important election.
- Complete pre-assessment
- Provide students with a copy of
the four attached editorial cartoons and a Cartoon Analysis worksheet.
- As a class, assign a number to
each of the cartoons so that as students complete the Cartoon Analysis
worksheet, they complete the cartoons in the same order.
- Allow students time to analyze
each cartoon and complete the Cartoon Analysis worksheet.
- As a class discuss the
students' findings. Students will likely point out that these cartoons are all
in support of McKinley. Ask students who they would vote for after analyzing
these cartoons and why. Discuss the effectiveness of the cartoons.
- Review discussion from day 1.
- Students prepare their own
political cartoon in support of Bryan.
Post-Assessment: Students present their political
cartoons, explaining their use of symbolism and the message of the cartoon.
- Students will write a summary of the political cartoon
- Students will write summaries of the two candidates'