Skip to main content
1 Review | 92 Downloads

The Emoluments Clause and the President

Grade Level Grades 9-12
Resource Type Activity
Standards Alignment
Common Core State Standards, State-specific


Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Pinterest
Share On LinkedIn


The emoluments clause is a provision in the U.S. Constitution to ensure that elected leaders do not gain a profit from their offices. Three groups sued President Trump over the emoluments clause in federal court. Political and legal analysts are uncertain what the outcomes of these cases will be.

This civil conversation activity offers a structured discussion on the emoluments clause and the presidency, under the guidance of a facilitator, in which students are encouraged to engage intellectually with challenging materials, gain insight about their own point of view, and strive for a shared understanding of issues.

Like this lesson on the emoluments clause?

Check out the Share My Lesson collection, Constitution Day Activities.


Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
Evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric.
Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and communicative tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.
Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole.
Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary that makes clear the relationships among the key details and ideas.
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including analyzing how an author uses and refines the meaning of a key term over the course of a text (e.g., how Madison defines faction in Federalist No. 10).
Evaluate authors’ differing points of view on the same historical event or issue by assessing the authors’ claims, reasoning, and evidence.
Evaluate an author’s premises, claims, and evidence by corroborating or challenging them with other information.
By the end of grade 12, read and comprehend history/social studies texts in the grades 11-CCR text complexity band independently and proficiently.
Draw evidence from informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
Write routinely over extended time frames (time for reflection and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.
Discuss Article II of the Constitution as it relates to the executive branch, including eligibility for office and length of term, election to and removal from office, the oath of office, and the enumerated executive powers.
Delineate and evaluate the reasoning in seminal U.S. texts, including the application of constitutional principles and use of legal reasoning (e.g., in U.S. Supreme Court majority opinions and dissents) and the premises, purposes, and arguments in works of public advocacy (e.g., The Federalist, presidential addresses).
Discuss Article I of the Constitution as it relates to the legislative branch, including eligibility for office and lengths of terms of representatives and senators; election to office; the roles of the House and Senate in impeachment proceedings; the role of the vice president; the enumerated legislative powers; and the process by which a bill becomes a law.
explain how certain provisions of the U.S. Constitution provide for checks and balances among the three branches of government;
analyze the structure and functions of the executive branch of government, including the constitutional powers of the president, the growth of presidential power, and the role of the Cabinet and executive departments;
Presidential power in wartime and in foreign affairs
Power separated and balanced
the separation of powers and the capacity to govern
The rule of law is a system in which no one, including government, is above the law. The United States legal system has evolved over time as the result of implementation and interpretation of common law, constitutional law, statutory law, and administrative regulations.


1 Review
The civil Conversation component is good enough on its own to be a lesson.
October 06, 2020
Jennifer Jolley
January 05, 2020