Lowering the Voting Age: Nixon and the 26th Amendment
- Nixon Presidential Library Education Team
- Focusing on Details: Discussion Topic
- Historical Era:
- Contemporary United States (1968 to the present)
- Primary Historical Thinking Skill:
- Historical Analysis & Interpretation
- Bloom's Taxonomy:
This activity encourages students to think critically about the history and importance of the 26th Amendment, that granted the right to vote to American citizens aged eighteen or older.
- Analyze a primary document.
- Learn more about the 26th Amendment and the road to its ratification.
- Think critically about voting rights.
For grades 9-12. Approximate time needed is 30 minutes.
Review or familiarize students with the history of the 26th Amendment and the push to lower the voting age. If needed, provide additional background on the history of voting rights and Constitutional Amendments. For resources on this topic, visit www.nixonlibrary.gov, explore the virtual exhibit on the Presidential Timeline, or read the text of the 26th Amendment on The Charters of Freedom online exhibit from the National Archives.
Explore: Allow students several minutes to explore the document individually or in small groups. Remind students to consider the discussion questions provided. If you prefer, have students write down their answers.
Class Discussion: After students have completed their own investigation, discuss the questions as a class. Encourage students to use their imaginations and put themselves in the place of President Nixon. Ask them what they liked about his remarks and encourage them to think of things they would have changed.
Wrap up: After exploring these initial questions, instruct students to click the I’m Done button. Students can email their responses to the question How have young voters made a difference in American politics?.
To learn more about the document featured in this activity, follow the link below.