Election of 1800 Lesson Plan

Instructor: Dana Dance-Schissel

Dana teaches social sciences at the college level and English and psychology at the high school level. She has master's degrees in applied, clinical and community psychology.

Politics can be tough, but your instruction on the election of 1800 doesn't have to be. Guide students through to mastery of 1800th century politics with the help of a Study.com text lesson and small group activity.

Learning Objectives:

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • list the candidates and parties from the election of 1800
  • analyze the outcome of the election of 1800


30 minutes to 1 hour


  • Photocopies of assorted newspaper headlines regarding the elections of 1800 and 2000.

Curriculum Standards


Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.


Identify key steps in a text's description of a process related to history/social studies (e.g., how a bill becomes law, how interest rates are raised or lowered).


  • Begin by dividing the students into small groups.
  • Give each group several photocopies of different newspaper headlines relating to the election of 1800.
  • Ask the groups to use their headlines to draft a summary of what they think is going on in the election. They should include the presidential and vice presidential candidates, their platforms and issues, and any potential controversies, along with any relevant factual information they can gather.
  • Have each group create a summary of what they think is going on in the election of 1800 based on their analysis of the headlines.
  • Each group should share their findings with the class. Do the groups agree? What are some potential reasons for discrepancies between groups?
  • Now have students read the Introduction and Candidates sections of the Study.com text lesson Presidential Election of 1800: Candidates, Summary & Significance.
  • Review the group summaries in regards to the candidates and their platforms in light of this new information and discuss as a class. Which groups got it right? Which were off base? Were the headlines telling in terms of the actual presidential candidates? Why or why not?
  • Have the students read the remainder of the text lesson now. Discuss this new information as a class and how it might have affected the headlines.
  • Allow the students to reconvene in their small groups and give them each several newspaper headlines from the election of 2000. What can they tell about the election of 2000 from the headlines? How does this compare to the election of 1800?
  • Finish by having them share their thoughts with the class for discussion.

Discussion Questions

  • Was the election of 1800 fair?
  • What might have happened if Adams refused to leave office?


  • Have students research political cartoons of the time along with newspaper editorials. What do these relics convey about public opinion during the election of 1800?
  • Ask students to create persuasive campaign flyers for each of the candidates from the election of 1800.

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