Executive Branch and Policy Making

LSHS Government Class

In this activity you will examine the critical role of the President in creating public policy and analyze the impact of American public policy on the US and the world.


**INSTRUCTIONS: View the resources listed below as your guide through various government policies in modern and contemporary US History.


Fill in the chart provided including: a policy, summary of the policy, is it foreign or domestic, and impact on the country/world. Later you will use this information and add how the presidency effected the policy.


[Click here] for another copy of the Student Chart and Essay Rubric.

G.I. Bill (Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944)

  1. Listen to this broadcast aired shortly after the bill was signed describe a nation preparing to welcome World War II veterans.

  2. Look through this photo gallery of famous GI Bill recipients. Learn about what many now famous Americans did with their GI Bill.

  3. The "Servicemen's Readjustment Act" (1944) [primary source]

  4. Read through the "GI Bill" article from ABC-CLIO. (You may have to select "Lone Star" to view the article or login to MackinVia if viewing from home.)

  5. Army-Navy Screen Magazine #43: "GI Bill Of Rights - Serviceman's Readjustment Act of 1944" (Produced by the Army Information Branch, Army Pictorial Services, Air Forces and the Navy Department.) [video]

Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965

  1. Listen to this NPR radio story from 2006 titled "1965 Immigration Law Changed Face of America"

  2. Read this article that summarizes the Act itself. (You may have to select "Lone Star" to view the article or login to MackinVia if viewing from home.)

  3. Explore the Act and its effect on history through this article "US Immigration Since 1965"

  4. Examine this picture and read the caption and article below it.

Affirmative Action Executive Order 11246 & 11375


  1. A summary of E.O. 11375 [article]

  2. An overview and resource materials about E.O. 11246 from the US Federal Department of Labor. (You will need to click on the links to find examples of impact.)

  3. Watch this video explaining what "affirmative action" is and the rationale behind affirmative action programs.

  4. Examine this picture and read the caption below.

Voting Rights Act of 1965


  1. President Lyndon Johnson - Speech on Voting Rights [video]

  2. Read why the Voting Rights Act of 1965 is one of our country's "100 Milestone Documents" [from the National Archives]

  3. Read a summary of the document and its impact on history from the US Department of Justice [article]

  4. Consider presidential roles as you examine this picture and its caption.

North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)

  1. Examine the economic impact that NAFTA made on its member countries in this article from the Office of the US Trade Representative

  2. Read this summary article from ABC-CLIO

  3. Watch this video and consider the role that presidential action played in NAFTA's history.

  4. Explore the myths and facts of NAFTA in this handout from the Office of the US Trade Representative

  5. Consider this article titled "Why Don't US Exports Create More Jobs" from the Council on Foreign Relations

Nixon's Visit to China 1971

  1. Read this article for an introduction to Nixon's visit to China. Also explore the primary source documents that are linked in the article.

  2. Examine this picture of Nixon and Chinese Communist Party chairman Mao Zedong. Make sure to read the caption.

  3. Watch this video to explore the long term impact on Nixon's China visit.

  4. Watch this video where President Nixon announces that he has accepted an invitation to visit the People's Republic of China. Take note of the goals that he outlines for the trip. (Broadcast July 15, 1971.)

  5. Explore this timeline from PBS of the events surrounding Nixon's visit to China.

Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981

  1. Read this article about the Act and its impact.

  2. Watch this video of President Reagan's remarks and reflection before signing the historic tax cuts in 1981.

  3. Read this article from PBS about The 1982 Recession

Operation Desert Storm

  1. Read this article for an introduction to Operation Desert Storm. Also explore the primary source documents that are linked in the article.

  2. Explore this timeline and overview of the war.

  3. Read this article from ABC-CLIO summarizing the war.

  4. Examine this map to get a better idea of the location and action of the war.

  5. View this photo and caption to see one of the many effects of the war.

  6. View this photo to see some of the coalition of nations who worked together in the war.

  7. View this photo to see one example of changes after the war.

Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

  1. Read this article about the Treaty from the United Nations Office of Disarmament Affairs

  2. Read this article to consider the impact that the Treaty has had on history.

  3. This summary provides a detailed history of the development and proliferation of nuclear weapons, as well a summary of the Treaty.

  4. Examine this map and article to consider the impact of the Treaty.