Fantasy Congress: The Sweet Sixteen Activity


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A fantasy football style activity to help review some of the influential laws that Congress has passed. Instructions, bracket, and readings are in this packet.

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Fantasy Congress: The Sweet Sixteen Activity

  1. 1. Fantasy Congress Instructions You may write on the tournament bracket, but in order to have adequate space to write, please use a separate sheet of paper to complete tasks 3 and 4. You only need one paper per group, however, please make sure all of your names are on the paper. 1. Working as a group with members of your table, read about the sixteen most influential laws passed by Congress. (These laws were highlighted in Government's Greatest Achievement's: From Civil Rights to Homeland Security, by Paul C. Light, and The Laws that Shaped America: Fifteen Acts of Congress and their Lasting Impact, by Dennis W. Johnson.) 2. Play the “teams” (the laws) against one another on the tournament bracket. Base your winner for each division on which law has had the most influence or benefit for the common good. 3. Write one sentence about the loser of each bracket, explaining why you felt it was a weaker or less effective law than the winner. You should have a total of 14 sentences, excluding the Championship Game. 4. Championship Game: You will be responsible for highlighting the advantages of the ultimate achievement of Congress. o Title of Act, Year it was Passed o Description: What did the legislation provide for? What was it about? o Powers: Which expressed or implied powers of Congress allowed this legislation to take place? o What if? Write a 1-2 paragraph description of what the US or world would be like if this legislation had never been passed.
  2. 2. Space Exploration   Fantasy Congress         Food Quality Protection   Tournament Bracket         Elite Eight Elite Eight Wilderness Protection Interstate Highways Final Four Final Four Arms Reduction Civil Rights Protection Regional Winner EAST Elite Eight Elite Eight Bank Stability Marshall Plan Ultimate Champion: Consumer Safety Promise of Land Elite Eight Elite Eight Higher Education Westward Expansion Regional Winner WEST Final Four Final Four Child Nutrition The GI Bill Elite Eight Elite Eight Social Security Group Names: Women’s Suffrage  
  3. 3. Fantasy Congress: The Sweet Sixteen Promoting Space Exploration Wilderness Protection National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958 Wilderness Act of 1964 Since the end of World This Act directed the Secretary of the Interior, within 10 War II, the United years, to review every roadless area of 5,000 or more States had worked hard acres and every roadless island (regardless of size) within to make breakthroughs National Wildlife Refuge and National Park Systems and in rocket science. to recommend to the President the suitability of each such area or island for inclusion in the National This particular Wilderness Preservation System, with final decisions legislation expanded made by Congress. the original National Advisory Committee for Under Aeronautics (NACA) authority of into what is now known this Act, over as NASA. NASA 25 million research, which was acres of land generously funded by Eisenhower’s successors, John F. and water in Kennedy and Richard Nixon, was responsible for the National successful and groundbreaking American achievements Wildlife Refuge such as the Apollo 11 lunar landing in 1969 and the System were development of the space shuttle, first launched in 1981. reviewed. More recently, NASA has sent robotic exploratory missions Seven million to Mars and launched a spacecraft to view Pluto. NASA’s acres in were research has also contributed to advances in consumer- found to be oriented goods such as telecommunications satellites and suitable to be made into national parks. From these computer technology. recommendations, as of December 1998, over 6,832,800 acres have been established as part of the National Wilderness Preservation System by special Acts of Congress. 1
  4. 4. Fantasy Congress: The Sweet Sixteen Arms Reduction Bank Stability The Arms Control and Disarmament Act of 1961 Banking Act of 1933 This was landmark legislation designed to create arms By the early 1930s, the Great control and reduction as a key component of United Depression had started and States national security policy during and after the Cold America's financial markets War. lay in ruin. Due to the financial chaos initiated by With this act, Congress achieved three main tasks: (1) it the stock market crash of set ambitious goals and purposes for coordinating October 1929, more than disarmament with other defense strategies; (2) it created 9,000 banks had failed by the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, a body March of 1933, signaling the that would make the country's commitment to arms worst economic depression in control a part of its governing institutions; and (3) it modern history. established standards and procedures for integrating all aspects of security policy. This act was crucial in The government took action to protect people who had encouraging the United States to work together with deposited their money in banks by creating the Banking other countries, such as Russia, towards reducing nuclear Act of 1933, which also formed the FDIC. The FDIC's stockpiles. purpose was to provide stability to the economy and the failing banking system. Officially created in the Glass- Steagall Act of 1933, and modeled after the deposit insurance program initially enacted in Massachusetts, the FDIC guaranteed a specific amount of checking and savings deposits for its member banks. This action prevented thousands of people from losing money they had saved, and encouraged people to start depositing money to banks once again. 2
  5. 5. Fantasy Congress: The Sweet Sixteen Consumer Safety and Protection Increase Access to Post-Secondary Education The Consumer Product Safety Act of 1972 Higher Education Act of 1965 This created the Consumer With the goal of strengthening American colleges and Product Safety universities, the Higher Education Act provides financial Commission which, when assistance and other resources for students pursuing it finds an unreasonable postsecondary and college degrees. The act also provides risk of injury associated funding for extension and continuing education programs. with a consumer product It allocates [gives] funds to increase library collections, it can develop a standard and the number of employed qualified librarians. It also to reduce or eliminate the focuses on strengthening schools by means of faculty risk. It can also ban a exchange programs, joint use of learning facilities, and product if it does not training programs for developing more capable faculties. meet reasonable safety Finally, the Higher Education Act assists students by standards, and it has the supporting undergraduate scholarships, loans with authority to force recalls reduced interest rates, and work-study programs. It for products that present concentrates on a substantial product improving the quality hazard. This same legislation is the one that protects of teaching, and consumers from lead in paint, toys that are fire hazards, provides financial and other dangerous problems. assistance to improve undergraduate This legislation also led to consumer protection in other instruction (by, for areas, including food, drugs, cosmetics, medical devices, example, providing tobacco products, firearms and ammunition, motor assistance to those vehicles, pesticides, aircraft, boats and fixed site institutions that are amusement rides. unable to afford modern teaching materials). 3
  6. 6. Fantasy Congress: The Sweet Sixteen Reduce Hunger and Improve Nutrition Promoting Security and Health for the Elderly Child Nutrition Act of 1966 Social Security Acts of 1935 and 1965 The Act was This was enacted in the throes of the Great Depression. created as a The law got its title from the groundbreaking social result of the insurance program designed to provide a steady income years of for retired workers aged 65 or older. cumulative successful The act has been amended numerous times, and payroll experience taxes grew to pay for it. In the 1950s, more people were under the added to Social Security's beneficiary pool, and the National School benefit was increased, including the first cost-of-living Lunch Program allowance since 1940. In 1956, disability insurance was to help meet the instituted. Early retirement for women at age 62 was nutritional needs of children. The National School Lunch permitted. Payroll taxes hovered at four percent. Program feeds 30.5 million children per day (as of 2007). NSLP was operated in over 101,000 public and nonprofit In 1965, the passage of the Social Security Act private schools in 2007. The milk program, functioning Amendments, popularly known as Medicare, resulted in a since 1954, was extended on June 30, 1970 and basic program of hospital insurance for persons aged 65 incorporated into the act. The act also provided Federal and older, and a supplementary medical insurance funding assistance towards non-food purchases for school program to aid the elderly in paying health care bills. It equipment. was funded by a tax on the earnings of The act established the School Breakfast Program, a employees, matched federally assisted meal program that provides low-cost or by by employers, free breakfasts to children in public and non-profit and was well schools as well as child care institutions. During the received. In the first signing of the act, the president remarked that “good three years of the nutrition is essential to good learning.” program, nearly 20 million beneficiaries enrolled in it. 4
  7. 7. Fantasy Congress: The Sweet Sixteen Safe Food and Drinking Water Strengthen the Nation's Highway System Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) of 1996 Interstate Highway Act of 1956 Congress presented the Environmental Protection Agency Popularly known as the with an enormous challenge of implementing the most National Interstate and comprehensive and historic overhaul of the Nation's Defense Highways Act, pesticide and food safety laws in decades. the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956 The Food Quality Protection Act amended the Federal established an Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and interstate highway the Federal Food Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) by system in the United fundamentally changing the way EPA regulates States. The movement pesticides. behind the construction of a Some of the major transcontinental requirements include highway started in the stricter safety standards, 1930s when President especially for infants and Franklin Roosevelt children, and a complete expressed interest in reassessment of all existing the construction of a pesticide tolerances. This network of toll web site provides superhighways that background information on would provide more jobs for people in need of work FQPA's provisions and during the Great Depression. But with America on the discusses some of the verge of joining the war in Europe, the time for a massive specific issues raised by highway program had not arrived. At the end of the war, FQPA, as well as the law's the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1944 funded highway implementation status. improvements and established major new ground by authorizing and designating, the construction of 40,000 miles of a “National System of Interstate Highways.” 5
  8. 8. Fantasy Congress: The Sweet Sixteen Civil Rights – Reducing Discrimination Marshall Plan: Rebuilding Europe after World War II Civil Rights Act of 1964 Economic Recovery Act of 1948 This act, signed Better known as the Marshall Plan, this Act provided into law by economic assistance to restore the economic infrastructure President of post-war Europe. Lyndon Johnson in 1964, When World War II ended in 1945, Europe lay in ruins: its prohibited cities were shattered; its economies were devastated; its discrimination in people faced famine. After the war, the Soviet Union’s public places, control of Eastern Europe heightened the sense of crisis. To provided for the meet this emergency, Secretary of State George Marshall integration of proposed that Europe create a plan for their economic reconstruction and that the United States provide economic schools and other public facilities, and made employment assistance. Over the next four years, Congress appropriated discrimination illegal. The act outlawed segregation in $13.3 billion for European recovery. This aid provided much businesses such as theaters, restaurants, and hotels. It needed capital and materials that enabled Europeans to banned discriminatory practices in employment and rebuild the continent’s economy. For the US, the Marshall ended segregation in public places such as swimming Plan provided markets for American goods, created reliable pools, libraries, and public schools.This document was trading partners, and the most sweeping civil rights legislation since supported the Reconstruction. development of stable democratic governments in In a nationally televised address in 1963, President Western Europe. In short, Kennedy urged the nation to take action toward the Marshall Plan re- guaranteeing equal treatment of every American energized the economies regardless of race. Soon after, Kennedy proposed that of both the United States Congress consider civil rights legislation that would and Europe. Congress’s address voting rights, public accommodations, school approval of the Marshall desegregation, nondiscrimination in federally assisted Plan signaled an extension programs, and more. Despite Kennedy’s assassination in of the bipartisanship of November of 1963, his proposal culminated in the Civil World War II into the Rights Act of 1964, signed into law by President Johnson. postwar years. 6
  9. 9. Fantasy Congress: The Sweet Sixteen The Promise of Land Westward Expansion The Homestead and Morrill Act of 1862 Northwest Ordinance of 1787 The Homestead Act, enacted during the Civil War in 1862, provided that any adult citizen, or intended citizen, who had never taken arms against the U.S. government could claim 160 acres of government land. Claimants were required to “improve” the plot by building a dwelling and cultivating the land. After 5 years on the land, the original filer was entitled to the property, free and clear, except for a small registration fee. The Morrill Act committed the Federal Government to grant each state 30,000 acres of public land for each of its Representatives and Senators in Congress. The Morrill land grants laid the foundation for a national system of Considered to be one of the most significant state colleges and universities. In some cases, the land achievements of the Congress of the Confederation, the sales financed existing colleges; in others, new schools Northwest Ordinance of 1787 put the world on notice not were created by the states. Major universities such as only that the land north of the Ohio River and east of the Nebraska, Kentucky, Clemson, and Cornell were Mississippi would be settled, but that it would eventually chartered as land-grant schools. State colleges brought become part of the United States. Until then this area higher education had been temporarily forbidden to development. within the reach of millions of students, Increasing numbers of settlers and land speculators were a development that attracted to what are now the states of Ohio, Indiana, could not help but Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin. This pressure together reshape the nation’s with the demand from the Ohio Land Company, soon to social and economic obtain vast holdings in the Northwest, prompted the fabric. Congress to pass this Ordinance. 7
  10. 10. Fantasy Congress: The Sweet Sixteen Promise to American Veterans Women’s Suffrage GI Bill of 1944 19th Amendment, 1920 This was a series of benefits for World War II veterans The 19th amendment granted by the U.S. Congress under the Servicemen's guarantees all American women Readjustment Act of 1944 and extended by later the right to vote. Achieving this legislation. Administrated by the Veterans milestone required a lengthy Administration, these benefits included educational and difficult struggle; victory scholarships for college or vocational training, mortgage took decades of agitation and loan guarantees for home buyers, and cash payments for protest. Beginning in the mid- those unemployed after discharge. Between 1944 and 19th century, several 1949, nearly 9 million veterans received a total of $4 generations of woman suffrage billion from the G.I. Bill's compensation program. supporters lectured, wrote, marched, lobbied, and practiced Benefits similar to the G.I. Bill would be extended to civil disobedience to achieve veterans of the Korean War. Subsequently, the Veterans’ what many Americans Readjustment Benefits Act of 1966 extended such considered a radical change of the Constitution. Few provisions to all who serve in the armed forces, even in early supporters lived to see final victory in 1920. peacetime. The precedents established Between 1878, when the amendment was first introduced by the G.I. Bill for in Congress, and August 18, 1920, when it was ratified, federal aid to higher champions of voting rights for women worked tirelessly, education would expand but strategies for achieving their goal varied. Some over the course of the pursued a strategy of passing suffrage acts in each state— Cold War. Totaling over nine western states adopted woman suffrage legislation $14 billion, the bill was by 1912. Some suffragists used tactics such as parades crucial to the expansion and hunger strikes. Often supporters met fierce of the middle class. resistance. Opponents heckled, jailed, and sometimes physically abused them. 8