|The Impeachment of Andrew Johnson|
|Impeachment Simulation Game: Comments To Teachers||
back to the Andrew Johnson Home Page
|Developed by Eric Rothschild, HarpWeek consultant, specifically for this Website.|
|The Purpose of Simulation
The purpose of any simulation is to encourage students to understand the issues involved in a specific historical moment and not simply to replicate it. This simulation has the additional goal of having students experience the challenge of using primary source materials to understand history. In this case, using Harpers Weekly provides a double challenge. First, it is written for a highly intelligent readership and thus its vocabulary and levels of explication will not be easy for many students. Second, it has a clear bias which the instructor will have to address before his or her students begin the simulation.
Specific Notes Relating to the Johnson Impeachment
In addition, the instructions given students in the simulation make clear that at the end of the trial they are free to vote for or against conviction even as the Senators did who voted in May, 1868. But unlike their predecessors a hundred and thirty years ago, they may vote to convict.
The third liberty with the facts I have taken involves including people as witnesses in the trial who did not participate in the impeachment hearings in 1868. The reasons for doing so primarily involve an effort to create a simulation in which all students do research and reading in Harpers Weekly.
Finally, you will note in the simulation itself that with the exception of the students playing the parts of President Johnson and the three attorneys for each side, all students are instructed to "give up" the character they played as witnesses in the trial and to become a member of the Senate, voting on the impeachment charges. The reason for doing so is educational. By forcing almost every student to take a stand on Johnsons innocence or guilt, the teacher will ensure that the students know all the issues surrounding impeachment. If the students were limited to a role as a witness, they would only learn one part of a complex event and would have no reason to listen closely to the trial after they completed their moment on the witness stand.
Short Paper as an Introduction
Harper's Weekly and Other Resources
Finally, as with most activities, teachers do better with simulations when they adapt them to their particular classroom circumstance. So dont hesitate to change whats here.
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