The 1960 presidential debates between former presidents John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon marked the first time television played a decisive role in the outcome of a national political contest—but it would not be the last. Now, students have an opportunity to go back in time and witness the most historic and influential presidential debates of the television era. Sponsored in part by the History Channel, “The History of Televised Presidential Debates” provides a timeline of every televised presidential debate since 1960. Special features let students watch a documentary about the Kennedy-Nixon contest, read political commentary about the debate, and even watch the debate itself. Students also can look at essays on the use of television in politics, view archived interviews with media professionals, check out television viewing and voting statistics, and even read a 1959 article written by Kennedy about the role television plays in running a national campaign. Plus, teachers have access to several curriculum resources, including sample lesson plans, activities, a glossary of terms, and more.

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