The Marriage of Mass Media and Politics

Franklin D. Roosevelt delivers fireside chat

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As they approach the legal voting age, more students are finding themselves part of the target audiences that politicians are trying to reach via mass media.

The theme for next year’s National History Day is Communication in History: The Key to Understanding. You can help your students start preparing with this activity looking at the different ways presidents have used mass media to communicate their agendas to the public. This inquiry-based curriculum package includes a range of multimedia primary sources, background and commentary, and a supplemental worksheet to help organize ideas and answer the central inquiry question:

How did new types of mass media affect the way politicians communicated with the public?

This Investigate activity is part of ABC-CLIO’s American Government database, an exploration of the structure, historical foundations, and contemporary challenges of the U.S. government. Click here to activate your free preview of this database and gain access to thousands of primary and secondary sources, biographies of important historical and present government figures, inquiry-based student activities, and more than 260 Course Essential Video modules.