Teaching Cleveland
table of contentshome
Elementary School Edition: K-5

Lesson 15

McKinley for President - 1896!


Students will learn about the connection between Cleveland and the 1896 Presidential Campaign of William McKinley. Students will understand the significance the campaign button and slogan played in the 1896 presidential campaign and identify its contribution to current campaigns.





  1. What was Cleveland's connection to the Presidential election of 1896?
  2. What are "campaign buttons" and how are they used in elections?


  1. Because 1996 is also a Presidential Election year, discuss the campaign with the students. Who is running for president? With what political party is the candidate affiliated? What have been some of the issues, slogans, advertisement campaigns? Ask students how the candidates get their messages to the American People?
  2. Have students imagine that it is the 1896 Presidential Campaign. Who is running? What political parties are involved? What are some of the issues? Students can gain this information by researching in their texts or by teacher presentation. Ask students how the candidates of 1896 might have delivered their "messages" to the American People? How were they able to "advertise" their name and political party and position?
  3. Brainstorm with students on how we can personally advertise causes and beliefs we have today. (wearing ribbons on our lapels, wearing a T-shirt with a slogan, bumper stickers, etc.) Give background information on the political button and its use in the1896 election.
  4. Distribute Handout #1 - Creating a Presidential Campaign Button to students. Have students decide on a candidate they would like for President of the United States (it does not have to be one of the declared candidates, just someone they think would make a good president) They should identify qualities they think are important about their candidate, perhaps develop a slogan, and then design their campaign button. As an alternate activity you can focus on a class or school election rather than the Presidential election.
    This activity also works well as a cooperative group activity.

previous lesson table of contents next lesson

website design credits