Constitutional Crisis and Impeachment: Lesson Plans and Activities
On January 13, 2021, Donald J. Trump became the only president to be impeached twice. Use this collection of materials to understand what the Constitution says on impeachment and removal from office, including the 25th Amendment. Our team will be continually updating this collection with breaking resources to help keep you in the know about how to teach about impeachment and how the process works.
Constitutional Crisis and Impeachment: Defining the Processes
What is a constitutional crisis? How does the process of impeachment work? The U.S. Constitution was designed with a system of checks and balances to share power among the president, Congress, and the courts, as well as between the federal government and states. Although rare, the most serious constitutional crises happen when our foundational democratic institutions are rendered ineffectual and, in some cases, perceived as illegitimate.
Impeachment, on the other hand, is when a legislative body decides to charge a government official with a crime. It is very similar to an indictment in our criminal law system. The Constitution states that a president can be impeached for "treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors." According to Article One of the United States Constitution, the House of Representatives has the right to impeach a president, and the Senate has the right to try impeachment cases and remove the president from office. The Senate's vote is final. Help your students understand the processes, ramifications and history of this legislative process in the United States in this curated collection of impeachment lesson plans. Explore a sample of what we offer below:
- The 25th Amendment: Constitutional Crises
- The Powers of Congress: Impeachment
- Experts Define Impeachment for Students
Constitutional Crisis and Understanding History
Historically, the United States House has only impeached three presidents, Andrew Johnson, Bill Clinton and Donald Trump; however, no presidents have been removed from office by the Senate. Learn more about the history of impeachment and how the process works with Classroom Law and the video below.
Teach About Democracy
Get more preK-12 lessons, activities and resources on teaching the foundations of democracy.