Televised Debates: Candidates Take a Stand

Lesson Duration

What are the Roles of the Citizen in American Democracy? 

Students use primary source material from the 1960 debates between John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon to explore what voters can learn from political debates. They then create a guide book to help voters select a candidate.

Essential Question

What criteria should voters use to select a leader?


Students will be able to:

  • identify important elements of a debate, such as taking a stand on an issue.
  • describe the importance of the 1960 debates.
  • identify information viewers can learn about a candidate from a televised debate.
  • determine and describe important criteria for selecting a candidate.


The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library