Students watch videos on Jeannette Rankin, and learn about her role in the Women’s Suffrage Movement and her role in Montana and Washington politics. They then answer questions about Rankin and create a postage stamp honoring her.
This lesson is part of "Great States: Unit 8: State Government & Constitution" which gives students the opportunity to explore some unique features of Montana’s politics and government, both in the past and today.
2.5: Identify and explain the individual’s responsibilities to family, peers, and the community, including the need for civility, respect for diversity, and the rights of others.
4.4: Identify and describe famous people, important democratic values (e.g., democracy, freedom, justice), symbols (e.g., Montana and U.S. flags, state flower), and holidays, in the history of Montana, American Indian tribes, and the United States.
6.5: Identify examples of individual struggles and their influence and contributions (e.g., Sitting Bull, Louis Riel, Chief Plenty Coups, Evelyn Cameron, Helen Keller, Mohandas Gandhi, Rosa Parks).
Helena District 6.5: Identify examples of personal struggles of historical figures in Montana history and how their struggles influenced their accomplishments.
- Video: Montana Mosaic: Jeannette Rankin Suffragette
- Video: Montana Mosaic: Jeannette Rankin Search for Peace
- An interactive whiteboard, projector, or another type of screen to show videos to the class
- Class set of Jeannette Rankin handout
- Markers, crayons, or colored pencils
- Describe how Montanans are known for fighting for what they believe in. An example of this is Montana’s Jeannette Rankin. Jeannette Rankin was a pacifist who voted against US involvement in both World Wars. Her stand incurred the wrath of millions of Americans including many, but not all, Montanans. Jeannette Rankin reflects Montana toughness, courage, and integrity. Hers is a Montana story.
- Tell students they will be watching two videos about Jeannette Rankin and her role in Women’s Suffrage Movement and Montana politics. Mention that Rankin was elected to Congress before women had the right to vote across all states.
- Disperse the Jeannette Rankin handout to students. Instruct students to take notes on Jeannette Rankin’s story.
- Play the video, Montana Mosaic: Jeannette Rankin Suffragette. [4:20]
- Play the video, Montana Mosaic: Jeannette Rankin Search for Peace. [2:25]
- Explain that one way to honor someone’s bravery is to design a postage stamp for him or her. The US Postal Service releases special stamps in honor of people’s legacies from time to time. Leaders such as Thomas Jefferson and Teddy Roosevelt, brave figures such as Harriet Tubman and Sitting Bull, and artists such as Maya Angelou and Andy Warhol have all been commemorated with a stamp.
- Have students answer questions from the handout and design a postage stamp to honor Jeannette Rankin.
- Grew up in Montana, college educated, large family [1st video, 0:20]
- Fighting to get the right for women to vote in political elections [1st video, 2:04]
- Congress [1st video, 2:40]
- Rankin believed she could not vote to send young men to war, she voted “no” on World War I [1st video, 3:34]
- Voting against the United States entering World War II [2nd video, 1:00]
- She was chastised by most people and became ineffective in politics [2nd video, 1:07]
- Pacifism [2nd video, 1:27]
- It meant that she had an opportunity to be a great leader, but because of her unpopular vote, she would not get reelected [2nd video, throughout]