Schools Become "Campaign Central" With ABC-CLIO's Election History Reference Resources, Activities

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Free site connects history of past elections with 2008 Presidential Campaign process.

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Presidential Elections: In History & Today

How does the Electoral College work? Does media bias influence what voters do at the polls? What influence have special-interest groups had on past presidential elections? With less than two months until the most historic presidential election in decades, school librarians and teachers can use the excitement of current events as a springboard to answer questions about campaigns and voters, and teach the history of our country's political process with an authoritative and intriguing collection of free resources from ABC-CLIO. Launching on September 5, 2008, "Presidential Elections: In History & Today" will feature historical background on elections paired with classroom activities and research project ideas that will help put Campaign 2008 into historical context for students.

"Our country's 56th presidential election is significant in many ways. During the primary election, young voters turned out in unprecedented numbers, and the controversy and excitement surrounding the candidates have been extraordinary," said Becky Snyder, president, ABC-CLIO. "With our collection of history resources, school library media specialists and teachers can transform schools into 'Campaign Central.' With the articles, activities and classroom ideas on our election site, students will discover the history of U.S. elections and develop an understanding of how the past has shaped the way Campaign 2008 works."

While many students find the McCain-Obama race riveting, this collection of history reference materials will help them explore other significant election campaigns. They will learn about how and why voting rights have expanded since the 1787 Constitutional Convention. They will discover how one significant event can change a candidate's future by listening to an excerpt from the 1960 Kennedy-Nixon debate. Plus, they will become familiar with the 2008 candidates through the site's in-depth biographies of Senator Barack Obama, his running mate Senator Joe Biden, and Senator John McCain and his soon-to-be named vice presidential nominee.

Designed to support election study across the curriculum, the free site offers teachers one-click access to more than 25 project ideas, each with a set of related references, primary sources and more. Topics range from "The Role of the Media in the Election" to "The Expansion of Voting Rights in America," helping students research past events to put today's in historical context.

To keep track of the constantly changing events in Campaign 2008, school library media specialists and teachers can sign up to receive timely emails with news and other updates to support classroom discussions and assignments.

"Presidential Elections: In History & Today" will be available free at through Election Day on November 4, 2008.

ABC-CLIO provides history teachers and students with authoritative reference information and teacher resources that help students hone the skills of history inquiry and inquiry-based discussion as they master historical content and develop a deeper understanding of history's major themes and lessons. ABC-CLIO's award-winning subscription databases provide a comprehensive collection of references, curriculum and current events that together simplify historical research and help students make sense of world events as they unfold. A premier history publisher for more than 50 years, ABC-CLIO is based in Santa Barbara, Calif. For more information or a list of available titles, visit


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