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The Election of 1912

Lesson Plan

Content Standard:

Grade 10, History 4-C

Duration of Lesson:

1-2 Class Periods


  • Students will analyze the Presidential Election of 1912.
  • Students will examine the two party system and the role of third parties in said system.
  • Students will identify the "hot button" issues in the 1912 presidential election.
  • Students will evaluate the role of the media in the portrayal of candidates in an election.


Using political cartoons students will become familiar with the candidates, issues, results, and interpretations of the presidential election of 1912.

Materials needed:

Printout of lesson plan

Copies of cartoons on paper or computer


Copies of The_1912_Election_Cartoon_Analysis_Worksheet.pdf


Identify the following with their symbolic meaning:

  • Donkey
  • Elephant
  • Moose

Identify the three main candidates in the 1912 Presidential Election

Instructional Steps:

  1. Divide the students into three topical groups. Assign each group one of the following topics: Stereotype, Symbol, or Caricature.
  2. Distribute copies of the cartoons to each member of the topical group so all cartoons are in use for each group. (example: Stereotype group will have all cartoons, as will Symbol, etc.)
  3. Distribute Cartoon Analysis Worksheet to each student.
  4. Students are to find examples of their assigned topic using each of the cartoons present in their group and fill in the appropriate space on the worksheet in Part I. (5-10 minutes)
  5. Students are to then arrange themselves in a group according to their individual cartoon, thus forming 6-8 new groups centered on one specific cartoon.
  6. Students are to complete Worksheet Part II using information from other members of their group. (5-10 minutes)
  7. Individual groups will briefly present analysis of their cartoon to the class (Note: an overhead copy of the cartoon will expedite this process)

Post-Assessment Activity:

As a class, students will answer and discuss remaining questions (Part III) on Cartoon Analysis Worksheet.

Extension Activities:

Have students:

  • List examples of third party candidates in recent presidential elections.
  • Give examples of how a third party candidate in a recent election has affected the outcome.
  • Find an example of an editorial cartoon portraying a third party candidate.


The Bill Posters

The Bill Posters

Favors Always for the Few

Favors Always for the Few

The Man Hunt

The Man Hunt

Can He Get Across?

Can He Get Across?

Why Is It Nobody Loves Me?

Why Is It Nobody Loves Me?

The Elephant

The Elephant