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This module is part of our How Did We Get Here? series, which has been designed to provide teachers with ready-made, classroom-friendly resources on topics in American history that are front-and-center in current events. This module, which is based on live sessions conducted on Zoom, features a lecture on the origins and evolution of the Electoral College by Professor Alexander Keyssar (Harvard Kennedy School) and a lecture on key figures of the Early Republic by Professor Akhil Reed Amar (Yale University).
It also includes expert advice for teaching these topics led by Gilder Lehrman Institute Master Teachers Angel Brea, Jermain Corbin, and Justin Emrich. Topics examined include the history of the Electoral College and attempts at reforming how we elect the President, the development of the three branches of government, and the evolution of the Supreme Court.
• Two lectures, one each by Alexander Keyssar and Akhil Reed Amar
• Three pedagogy sessions with Master Teachers Angel Brea, Jermain Corbin, and Justin Emrich
• A certificate of completion for five hours of professional development
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Alexander Keyssar is the Matthew W. Stirling Jr. Professor of History and Social Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. He specializes in the exploration of historical problems that have contemporary policy implications. His book The Right to Vote: The Contested History of Democracy in the United States (2000) was named the best book in US history by both the American Historical Association and the Historical Society; it was also a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the Los Angeles Times Book Award. A significantly revised and updated edition of The Right to Vote was published in 2009. Keyssar’s latest book, Why Do We Still Have the Electoral College? (2020), is published by Harvard University Press.
Akhil Reed Amar is Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science at Yale University, where he teaches constitutional law in both Yale College and Yale Law School. After graduating from Yale Law School in 1984, and clerking for then Judge (now Justice) Stephen Breyer, Amar joined the Yale faculty in 1985. Amar’s work has won awards from both the American Bar Association and the Federalist Society, and he has been cited by Supreme Court justices across the spectrum in more than 40 cases. He is the author of more than a hundred law review articles and several books, most notably The Bill of Rights (1998), and The Constitution Today (2016). His latest book, The Words That Made Us: America’s Constitutional Conversation, 1760–1840, came out in May 2021. He has recently launched a weekly podcast, Amarica’s Constitution.