12E.3 Government Influence in the US Economy
This set examines key moments of government involvement in the US economy, beginning in the 1860s with the Pacific Railway Act, through the crucial New Deal and World War II era, and continuing to the twenty-first century with water regulation during the most recent California drought.
- HSS 12.3.1 Understand how the role of government in a market economy often includes providing for national defense, addressing environmental concerns, defining and enforcing property rights, attempting to make markets more competitive, and protecting consumers\' rights.
- HSS 12.3.2 Identify the factors that may cause the costs of government actions to outweigh the benefits.
- HSS 12.3.3 Describe the aims of government fiscal policies (taxation, borrowing, spending) and their influence on production, employment, and price levels.
- HSS 12.3.4 Understand the aims and tools of monetary policy and their influence on economic activity (e.g., the Federal Reserve).
What is the role of government in our economic lives? How has this changed over time throughout American history?
- Provide context. a. Use the source descriptions and the directions on the student handout to give students some basic context about circumstances surrounding Theodore Roosevelt's writing of this letter, including what industrial capitalism looked like at the time. Also, make sure students understand that this letter was not legislation but was Roosevelt's opinion, or argument, about the importance of government regulation.b. Explain the purpose of the literacy activity: to closely examine lines of text to notice what is stated and implied in Roosevelt's argument about government intervention regarding natural resources and to then think about how this relates to other arguments.
- Interpret and discuss text. For each of the three sections of the student handout ("Identify," "Infer," and "Synthesize"):a. Briefly explain the directions, reinforcing what each thinking process term ("identify," "infer," and "synthesize") means in relation to the last.b. Have students work to answer the questions individually, in pairs, or in small groups (but with opportunities for all students to verbally process either before or after writing). c. Debrief responses as a class, spending the most time here discussing the "synthesize" section as this will provide the most opportunity to draw out viewpoints about government economic intervention as it relates to the natural environment.
- Extend the learning. Later in the unit, to provide more speaking opportunities while reinforcing key unit themes, ask students to use unit sources to debate the extent to which the goals and fears Roosevelt outlines in this letter have been realized.
- The Library of Congress. The Library of Congress’ Primary Source Analysis Tool supports an inquiry model of instruction by asking students to first observe, then reflect, then question. Their customizable tool includes specific prompts for student interrogation of books and other printed materials, maps, oral recordings, photographs and paintings, and many other types of primary sources.
- The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). NARA has developed a vast collection of document analysis worksheets, ready for classroom use. Their website offers teachers a wide collection of customizable tools – appropriate for working with photographs, maps, written documents, and more. NARA has also customized their tools to meet the needs of young learners, and intermediate or secondary students.