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LESSONS: GRADES 4-8  ›  Making History at the White House, "The White House in Crisis"
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CORRESPONDING TEACHER'S TEXT

Throughout recent history, people both at home and abroad have looked to the White House for leadership in times of crisis. But what happens when presidents struggle with issues and events that emanate from the White House? They may find, at these moments, that their ability to govern is threatened and they have imperiled the future of the nation. What happens when citizens lose confidence in the chief executive’s ability to lead?

Impeachment is certainly a serious threat to a president’s political life. It places the nation in a precarious position, as well. Two impeached presidents — Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton — found the White House to be both an asset and an embarrassment. Woodrow Wilson was incapacitated by a stroke in 1919, and his wife Edith took on extraordinary responsibilities when her husband struggled with illness. During the Cold War, John F. Kennedy assembled advisers in the White House to respond to the Cuban missile crisis and the possibility of nuclear war. Richard Nixon’s preoccupation with the Watergate scandal eventually consumed his administration.




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