1. Begin by asking students to think of a current or historical government scandal(s). Have a class discussion about scandals and how they can affect the government and nation.
2. Introduce the study of such scandals by offereing the students the roles of members of Congress engaged in hearings about a number of historic scandals for the purpose of making laws that will prevent such scandals in the future.
3. Divide students into four groups, each one of which will research one of the following:
- Ulysses S. Grant: Credit Mobilier and the Whiskey Ring
- Warren G. Harding: the Teapot Dome Scandal
- Richard Nixon: Watergate
- Ronald Reagan: the Iran-Contra Affair
4. Have the students compose a report or presentation (PowerPoint). Students must be able to provide convincing evidence that the malfeasance took place, some idea as to suspects, and an understanding of the background issues involved.
5. After a discussion of the causes of these scandals, members of the Congress (class) must come up with legislation designed to prevent such scandals in the future.
This lesson can be extended by extending the number of scandals involved.
- Gould, L.L. (1996). American first ladies: Their lives and their legacy. New York, New York: Garland Publishing.
- Credit Mobilier
- A basic history of the Teapot Dome Scandal:
This lesson was developed by Marian Maxfield, Kent State University