COMM> Communicator Update: April 2004

  • From: Gleason Sackmann <gleason@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: K12Newsletters <k12newsletters@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 29 Apr 2004 08:48:40 -0500

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From: "Cindy Koeppel" <ckoeppel@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: <ckoeppel@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Subject: Communicator Update: April 2004
Date: Wed, 28 Apr 2004 12:56:20 -0500
Importance: Normal


Welcome to The Dirksen Congressional Center's Communicator - a web-based 
e-newsletter providing educators with news and ideas to enhance civic education 
and improve the understanding of Congress -- 



1. Monthly Feature - Civil Rights Act of 1964
2. Monthly Theme - Political Parties: The Development
3. Featured Grant-funded Project
4. News and Views from The Center
5. Trivia -- Puzzled by Political Parties?
6. Postscript Information


In July of this year, the nation will mark the 40th anniversary of President 
Lyndon Johnson's signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Dirksen Center, 
named for then Senate Minority Leader Everett McKinley Dirksen who was 
instrumental in the passage of that landmark act, has posted extensive 
information about the legislation on its CongressLink Web site. In fact, these 
materials are among the most frequently visited by the site's users.

There is an extensive description of how this bill became law at 
After outlining the major features of the Act, the essay deals with the social 
conditions and political factors shaping the legislative climate. The process 
by which the bill wound its way through the House and Senate receives detailed 
attention, too, in a story illustrated with occasional photographs from The 
Center's archival holdings and with links to historical annotations. 
CongressLink also hosts images and transcriptions of key documents related to 
the Act at 
They include the White House press release in February 1963 in which President 
John F. Kennedy introduced his proposal for civil rights reform. There are also 
excerpts from Senator Dirksen's personal notebook and his speeches on the 
subject along with samples of the correspondence he received during the 
Senate's consideration of the bill.

The story of the 1964 Civil Rights Act is interesting and instructive because 
it illustrates how a historically important piece of legislation became part of 
our nation's heritage. An examination of the Act also provides a way to 
understand the climate of opinion regarding African American rights, the nature 
of civil rights activity, the obstacles to political and social change, the 
role of politics in the way issues are handled, the actions of individual 
senators and representatives, and the nature of legislative activity in 
general. The intricate process that makes a bill become law is a combination of 
all these factors.

2. POLITICAL PARTIES: THE DEVELOPMENT -- The resources introduced in our April 
issue of Communicator will help your students trace the history of political 
parties and consider why two parties can dominate government.

The Constitution did not mention political parties, but two national parties 
emerged soon after its ratification in 1789 -- the Federalists, who favored 
strong central government, and the Democratic-Republicans, who wanted limited 
government. The First American Party System: Federalists and 
Democratic-Republicans: The Platforms They Never Had is a lesson plan to help 
students learn more about the statements of party beliefs and goals and be able 
to summarize the key positions of the Federalists and Democratic-Republicans. 
Find this lesson at: 

A split in the Democratic-Republican party gave birth to the Democratic party 
in the mid-1820s. The Republican party was organized in 1854 after the breakup 
of the Whig party, which had formed in 1834. These two parties, of course, 
continue to dominate elections today. To determine whether or not you tend to 
be a Democrat or Republican, take the surveys posted at 
or the 
spectrum test associated with the lesson plan at 

*NEW* The American Democracy: Political Parties, Candidates, and Campaigns 
multiple-choice quiz will challenge students' knowledge about America's 
two-party system and its role in American politics. Students will be questioned 
about the historical development of political parties in the United States 
which examine the role of minor parties and the reasons for the emergence and 
persistence of the two-party system. Find this quiz at: 


This month our featured grant-funded project is a Congressional Research Award 
of $3,500 awarded to Jennifer Schenk from Rutgers University. Jennifer's 
research, How Candidates for Congress Claim to be Representative of 
Constituents, will look at the role of descriptive representative vs. 
substantive representative to examine the different ways male and female 
candidates to Congress propose to represent others. Learn more about this 
project and others at: 


** Dirksen Center Announces Grant Awards **

The Dirksen Center will distribute $32,340.00 in Congressional Research Awards 
to ten projects in 2004. Since 1978, The Center has awarded over $585,000 to 
more than 315 research projects.

According to Center staff member Frank Mackaman, political scientists will use 
the grants to study such topics as Issue Avoidance among Members of the U.S. 
House of Representatives, Analyzing Minority Party Floor Motions Across 
Congressional Partisan Eras, Balancing Acts: Congressional Power, Executive 
Privilege and the Public's Right to Know, and more.

Recipients this year include Ph.D. candidates and faculty from Penn State 
University, the University of North Carolina, American University, the 
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the University of Florida, 
among others.

A complete list of this year's Congressional Research Award recipients is 
posted at 

**Congress for Kids Earns 5 Stars!**

Congress for Kids -- 
<> -- received 5 
stars and was cited as "Hot" in SBC's Knowledge Network Explorer - 
Web N' site.

5. Puzzled by Political Parties?

1. By 1856, the Democratic party was made up mostly of ___________.

A) Anti-Nebraska Whigs
B) Northerners
C) Know-Nothings
D) Southerners

2. The __________ _____ was formed by people from different groups who wanted 
to stop the spread of slavery in the western territories.

A) American party
B) Whigs
C) Republican party
D) Know-Nothings

3. The outspoken leader of the anti-war Peace Democrats in the North during the 
Civil War was?

A) Charles Sumner
B) Samuel Chase
C) Thaddeus Stevens
D) Clement Vallandigham

Answers to the March issue of Fun, Facts, and Trivia link here: 

That will do it for this month! Encourage your colleagues to subscribe to the 
Communicator. If you have questions, comments, or suggestions, contact Cindy 
Koeppel. Your feedback makes a difference!

6. NOTICE REGARDING E-MAIL ADDRESSES: Communicator's mailing list has over 
14,000 names and is still growing. Please follow the instructions below to help 
us with list editing:

TO SUBSCRIBE to the Communicator, please follow these instructions: Send an 
e-mail to <mailto:ckoeppel@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>Cindy Koeppel with the phrase - 
subscribe Communicator - in the body of the message. Your e-mail address will 
be added to our mailing list.

If you experience any problem, send an e-mail to 
<mailto:ckoeppel@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>Cindy Koeppel.

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