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2020 High School Essay Contest: Information for Teachers

2020 High School Essay Contest: AMENDMENT XIX - THE RIGHT OF CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES TO VOTE SHALL NOT BE DENIED OR ABRIDGED BY THE UNITED STATES OR BY ANY STATE ON ACCOUNT OF SEX.

INFORMATION FOR TEACHERS

This guide provides information for teachers as to how the essay prompt aligns with the Florida high school curriculum standards and how teachers may promote the essay contest to their students.

The contest rules, submission requirements, and deadlines are available on the Middle District’s website at www.flmd.uscourts.gov.

PROMOTING STUDENT PARTICIPATION AND INTEREST

We hope you will encourage your students to participate in the 2020 essay contest. The top three winners’ teachers will receive a $500 classroom grant. Accordingly, if your students participate, they may ask for your contact information to include in their online contest entry form. In promoting the essay contest to your students, you may want to review with them or direct them to the contest rules, regulations, and deadlines, and emphasize the following benefits:

  • Cash prizes for the top ten winners.
  • Classroom grants for teachers of the top three winners.
  • Recognition ceremony in the ceremonial courtroom at the Bryan Simpson United States Courthouse.
  • Opportunity to shadow a federal judge.
  • Opportunity to create a writing sample for college and scholarship applications.
  • Opportunity to develop research skills and historical knowledge regarding the Nineteenth Amendment.

ESSAY PROMPT

Voting is the most basic right of a citizen and vital to a functioning democracy. Women, however, were not always extended this fundamental right. The Nineteenth Amendment, 100 years ago, granted women the right to vote (suffrage). Identify and evaluate some of the methods proponents of the Nineteenth Amendment (suffragists) used to influence and change opinions about voting rights for women. Referencing a specific example, what method do you think was most effective and why?

HOW DOES THE ESSAY PROMPT ALIGN WITH THE FLORIDA HIGH SCHOOL CURRICULUM?

The essay prompt is designed to align with several English Language Arts and Social Studies/Civics and Government CPALMS standards, as referenced below (scoring of essays).

HOW WILL THE ESSAYS BE SCORED?

The essays will be judged by lawyers and judges in the Jacksonville Division. Their decisions will be final. The essay graders will evaluate the essays based on the following four categories, which directly align with CPALMS standards as indicated:

  • Identifying methods proponents of the Nineteenth Amendment used to influence and change opinions about voting rights for women.
    • An above average essay will effectively identify and describe different methods used by proponents of the Nineteenth Amendment to influence and change opinions about voting rights for women. (CPALMS standards: LAFS.910.W.1.2; LAFS.1112.W.1.2; LAFS.910.WHST.3.9; SS.912.A.1; SS912.A.3.12; SS912.A.7.5; SS.912.C.2.9)
  • Identifying and evaluating one example of a particularly effective method proponents of the Nineteenth Amendment used to influence and change opinions about voting rights for women.
    • An above average essay will convey a competent and well-developed thesis, evaluating how the selected example was particularly effective in changing opinions about voting rights for women. (CPALMS standards: LAFS.910.W.1.1; LAFS.910.W.1.2; LAFS.1112.W.1.1; LAFS.1112.W. 1.2; LAFS.910.W.2.4; LAFS.1112.W.2.4; LAFS.1112.W.3.9; LAFS.1112.WHST.1.1; LAFS910.WHST.2.4; SS.912.C.2.2; SS.912.C.2.8)
  • Using correct grammar, spelling, and composition. 
    • An above average essay will contain few to no punctuation, spelling and/or capitalization errors and use precise, topic-appropriate language and vocabulary (CPALMS standards LAFS.910.W.1.1; LAFS.910.W.1.2; LAFS.1112.W. 1.1; LAFS.1112.W. 1.2; LAFS.1112.WHST.1.1).

STUDENTS' USE OF SUGGESTED PRIMARY RESOURCES

Teachers should note that the Supreme Court cases listed on the contest website can be challenging for even the most advanced readers. Law students struggle when first reading these cases, and even seasoned attorneys find that they must read the cases with close focus and attention. Therefore, your students can certainly seek out summaries or descriptions of the referenced material to assist in their understanding of the referenced cases and other documents. Likewise, students are not limited to the suggested primary resources, and are encouraged to seek out other information and resources.

PUBLICLY AVAILABLE RESOURCES FOR TEACHERS

American Bar Association Law Day 2020

Civics Renewal Network

League of Women Voters of Clallam County (PDF)

National Education Association

National Park Service

Rutgers Center for American Women and Politics Eagleton Institute of Politics

Share My Lesson

TeachingHistory.org

PUBLICLY AVAILABLE RESOURCES FOR STUDENTS

19th Amendment to the United States Constitution: Women’s Right to Vote (1920)

Federal Bar Association

History of United States Women’s Suffrage

Nineteenth Amendment

Nineteenth Amendment 1920

The Nineteenth Amendment

SELECTED CASE LAW

United States v. Anthony, 24 F.Cas. 829 (C.C.D.N.Y. 1873): In 1872, Susan B. Anthony and 14 other women cast their vote in the November presidential election in Rochester, New York. Anthony was indicted under the act of Congress of May 31, 1870, which made it an offense for a person to knowingly vote without having a lawful right to vote. Anthony was tried and convicted for her actions.

Minor v. Happersett, 88 U.S. 162 (1875): The issue before the United States Supreme Court was whether the 14th Amendment granted the right of suffrage upon women despite the provision of the Constitution and laws of the state which granted the right of suffrage solely to men. The Court held "that the Constitution … does not confer the right of suffrage (right to vote) upon anyone, and that the constitutions and laws of the several States which commit that important trust to men alone are not necessarily void."

Fairchild v. Hughes, 258 U.S. 126 (1922): A private citizen of New York challenged the constitutionality of the 19th Amendment claiming that it would increase the costs of elections and "prevent ascertainment of the wishes" of the lawfully entitled male voters. The United States Supreme Court held that the citizen did not have standing to challenge the Amendment where he was not an elected official and the State of New York ratified the Amendment.

Leser v. Garrett, 258 U.S. 130 (1922): The State of Maryland refused to ratify the 19th Amendment and sought to invalidate its authority over citizens in its state. The United States Supreme Court refused this proposition for reasons including that the 19th Amendment was similar to the 15th Amendment that had been "recognized and acted on for half a century."