Social Studies

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League of Denial: The NFL Plays Defense

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Discover the strategies that the National Football League used to avoid admitting that playing professional football can cause chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, in this media gallery from FRONTLINE: League of Denial. After a study commissioned by the NFL showed a higher-than-expected prevalence of brain disorders among football players, the league’s spokesman claimed that the study’s design was flawed, and its commissioner would not acknowledge before Congress that concussions hurt pro football players. And even after a large financial settlement awarded former NFL players hundreds of millions of dollars, the league made no admission of guilt. For background, watch Introduction to CTE and review How CTE Affects the Brain. This resource is part of the FRONTLINE Collection.

A Class Divided 1: The Daring Lesson

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When the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered in April 1968, Jane Elliott taught her third-grade class a daring lesson in discrimination. The third time she taught the lesson, cameras were present.In this video segment from FRONTLINE: "A Class Divided,"Elliott divides her class into two groups — those with blue eyes and those with brown eyes — and discriminates against those with brown eyes.

A Class Divided 2: Day Two

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When the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered in April 1968,Jane Elliott taught her third-grade class a daring lesson in discrimination. The third time she taught the lesson, cameras were present.In this video segment from FRONTLINE: "A Class Divided,"Elliott changes the rules, and discriminates against students with blue eyes.

The Impact of Deportation

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The struggles of a family facing an uncertain future after their mother is deported to Mexico is profiled in this video excerpt from FRONTLINE: "Lost in Detention." Undocumented immigrant Antonio Arceo, his wife Roxanna, and their five American-born children live in Illinois. When Roxana is deported after a routine traffic stop, Antonio is left with the task of working and caring for the children on his own. In addition to his physical struggles caring for the children, he feels emotional stress and considers moving the family back to Mexico. However, interviews with the children show their concern about leaving their country for a place they have never seen.

Unintended Consequences of the 2003 U.S. Invasion of Iraq | Bitter Rivals

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Learn why the United States’ decision to invade Iraq in 2003 and topple its dictator Saddam Hussein had an unintended impact on the balance of power between the Sunnis and Shias in the region, in this video excerpted from FRONTLINE: Bitter Rivals. After the United States took control of Baghdad, its actions unwittingly empowered Shias in Iraq and prompted Sunni resistance to the U.S. occupation. First, American envoy Paul Bremer announced that members of Hussein’s Ba’ath Party, most of them Sunnis, would be banned from government service. Then, the Iraqi army was dissolved. These actions bolstered Shia political groups in Iraq, which shared close links to Iran’s leadership, and set the stage for a violent power struggle. This resource is part of the Frontline Collection.

Obama's Deal: The Deal Making Begins

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FRONTLINE Obama’s Deal takes a sobering look at the Obama administration’s historic push to reform health care, revealing the realities of American politics, the power of special interest groups, and the role of money in policy making. In this video, students learn of President Obama’s negotiations with influential lobbyists and members of Congress—and the importance of political compromise in shaping major legislation.

FRONTLINE: What’s the Deal with Voters’ Rights?

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Learn about voter rights, including why voter identification (voter ID) laws disproportionately impact minority voters, in this media gallery from FRONTLINE: Ballot Watch. According to the videos, there are several reasons why not all U.S. adults have an acceptable form of identification for voting. For example, Social Security cards lack a photograph and current address; passports are expensive and less than half the population has one. Voter ID laws are described as partisan, ineffective, and discriminatory—partisan, because they are supported by Republicans and criticized by Democrats; ineffective, because they ignore more prevalent means of voter fraud; and discriminatory, because the people being turned away at the polls for not having the proper identification tend to be minorities. Lastly, the videos describe protections under the Voting Right Act and explain the effects of the Supreme Court case ruling in Shelby v. Holder.  This resource is part of the FRONTLINE Election Resources Collection.

FRONTLINE: United States of Secrets | Warrantless Wiretapping

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Learn how warrantless government spying on Americans became illegal and about one man’s decision to reveal information on secret surveillance programs under the George W. Bush administration, in this media gallery adapted from FRONTLINE: United States of Secrets. As a lawyer working closely with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA), Thomas Tamm discovered the existence of a government program that spied on American citizens without warrants. Warrantless surveillance became a felony offense after President Richard Nixon was impeached for doing just that. Tamm decided to become a government whistleblower, leaking details about these programs to The New York Times. This resource is part of the FRONTLINE collection.

The Choice 2016: Rebranding Trump

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Examine the pivotal role that a reality television show played in reshaping Donald Trump’s image, from that of a failed businessman to a presidential candidate, in this digital short from FRONTLINE’s “Choice” Moments. Donald Trump’s reputation had been tarnished by the collapse of his business empire in the early 1990s. Yet, his 14-season run on The Apprentice ultimately gave him the opportunity to make over his image and court the American public directly as a plainspoken decision maker, as his TV persona had. This resource is part of the FRONTLINE Election Resources Collection.

Divided States of America: The Passage of the Affordable Care Act

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Learn how the partisan vote on the Affordable Care Act (ACA)—a historic piece of health-care reform legislation proposed by the Obama administration—would lead to unforeseen consequences in these video excerpts from FRONTLINE: Divided States of America. With Republicans unified in opposition to the president, Obama failed to secure bipartisan support for health-care reform. Consequently, the ACA was passed without a single House or Senate Republican voting for it. In part because of the way it was passed, the ACA (or “Obamacare”) would help fuel the rise of the Tea Party movement and become a symbol of the country’s growing divide.

This resource is part of the FRONTLINE Collection.

The Choice 2016: Beware of Washington

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Learn how the Washington, D.C. establishment’s response to the political role that Hillary Clinton had adopted as First Lady shaped her public image in this digital short from FRONTLINE’s “Choice” Moments. Although Bill Clinton had won the 1992 presidential election, Hillary Clinton would also play a powerful role in her husband’s administration. In leading the president’s healthcare task force, Mrs. Clinton appeared to refuse the advice given from some prominent members of society. Her critics attacked her, openly questioning Mrs. Clinton’s secretive policy efforts and making highly personal allegations against her and the president. This resource is part of the FRONTLINE Election Resources Collection.

FRONTLINE: United States of Secrets | The White House Responds to 9/11

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Examine how the George W. Bush administration ultimately approved and implemented a secret and controversial surveillance program following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, in this media gallery adapted from FRONTLINE: United States of Secrets. Hours after the attacks, the White House initiated a response that would lead to a historically unprecedented use of presidential powers, including the authorization of a National Security Agency program that would gather the communication data of millions of Americans and search it for suspicious connections. This resource is part of the FRONTLINE collection.

Divided States of America: Race, Justice, and the Obama Presidency

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Explore why the 2012 shooting of a black student became a pivotal tension point around race and justice during Barack Obama’s presidency, in these videos excerpted from FRONTLINE: Divided States of America. Trayvon Martin’s death at the hands of a neighborhood watch volunteer ignited passions across the nation. America’s first black president grappled with his response. Obama’s initial silence, followed by carefully guarded words, prompted a backlash—and not just from conservative pundits. Many in the black community were traumatized by the incident and by others like it. Following the shooter’s court acquittal the next year, Obama acknowledged his own experiences as a black American. For many, this was the first time in his administration that he openly spoke for black people.

This resource is part of the FRONTLINE Collection.

FRONTLINE: United States of Secrets | Whistleblower

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Discover why a former senior manager at the National Security Agency made the difficult decision to reveal aspects of a secret surveillance program to the press, in this media gallery adapted from FRONTLINE: United States of Secrets. Following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Thomas Drake proposed that terrorists threatening America could be identified through a program that could gather international phone and email data but keep the identity of American citizens encrypted. After learning that the George W. Bush administration chose to implement the NSA program domestically with no privacy protection for Americans, Drake decided to join other government whistleblowers who questioned the legality of the program. This resource is part of the FRONTLINE collection.

Putin and the Press | Putin's Revenge

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Learn how Russian president Vladimir Putin’s decision to crack down on a television show that parodied government officials was a significant departure from his predecessor’s vision of Russia and had implications for the country’s future, in this video excerpted from Putin’s Revenge: FRONTLINE. Putin’s efforts to curtail the freedom of the press were part of a larger initiative to consolidate power and silence dissent. This resource is part of the FRONTLINE Collection.

Check out the Teaching Tips for FRONTLINE’s new Transparency Project.