HISTORY Blog

A Class That Makes Us Want to Go Back to School

By History.com Staff

We’re back after some downtime due to last week’s storm. We sincerely hope our readers are safe and sound, and our thoughts are with all those who were affected by the disaster.

With America heading to the polls tomorrow, we wanted to devote today’s HISTORY Blog post to a fun and fascinating class taught this semester by Patrick Spero at Williams College. “The Politics of the Presidency” surveys the American presidency from George Washington to Abraham Lincoln, paying special attention to partisan politics and presidential campaigns. Instead of writing essays and reports, students get the chance to create minute-long video campaign ads for and against each of the presidential candidates covered by the course. The challenge is that they have to act like modern-day campaign managers while working with materials—images, quotations, music, etc.—from the 18th and 19th centuries.

We’ll continue to follow the course over the coming weeks and post some of the students’ work here on the HISTORY Blog. In the meantime, check out this video in which Professor Spero describes the class and the unique methodology he’s using to teach today’s students about yesterday’s presidential politics. You can also see some of the first videos of the semester here.

Categories: Elections, U.S. Presidents, Voting