Executive privilege, or the idea that the president has the right to withhold sensitive information from the public, goes all the way back to the very first president of the United States. The idea has become increasingly relevant lately, as since President Nixon, several presidents have invoked executive privilege in an effort to cover up scandals and other damaging information. Listen to learn about executive privilege, how it works, and when it can and can’t be used.
Story Length: 4:31
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The United States Constitution gives specific powers to each branch of government. This separation of powers between the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches is meant to prevent one branch from becoming too powerful. In the last decade, the Legislative branch has been unnerved by the growth of Executive power under President Bush and President Obama. Listen to learn about an FBI raid in 2006 that had congressmen from both parties alarmed.
Over the course of American history, debates have raged over the extent of presidential powers. When the founding fathers wrote the Constitution, they intended for there to be limits on what presidents could do without congressional approval or oversight. Nonetheless, presidents from Andrew Jackson and Abraham Lincoln in the 19th century to Franklin Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan in the 20th century exercised an extraordinary amount of power. This story looks at presidential power in the 21st century, focusing on the “war on terror”. Listen to hear to what extent, and for what length of time, presidents should be granted expanded power.
The Articles of Confederation, created in 1777 and ratified in 1781 by the Continental Congress, established the first system of government for the United States. Created in the midst of the war for independence, the Articles were strongly influenced by the ongoing struggle against what many American colonists saw as a tyrannical government in England. Designed in part to preserve the independence of the newly formed states, the Articles placed strict limits on what the national government could do, including the power to tax and to create a national judiciary. The Constitutional Convention of 1787 aimed to improve upon the articles and ultimately led to the creation of the U.S. Constitution. Listen to hear about the first national display of the original Articles at the National Archives in 2009 and learn about the history of this foundational document.
President Abraham Lincoln is regarded by many historians as the best American president. Interestingly, his presidency was preceded by one considered among our worst: President James Buchanan. During his one term in office, Buchanan is judged for having secretly helped bring about the Dred Scott decision, among the most unjust Supreme Court decisions in history, and for his unwillingness to try to halt the secession crisis of 1860-61. In this audio story, an historian makes the case for Buchanan being the worst of our presidents, and considers his legacy and influence in what would become the American Civil War.
The Lexile Audio Measure is an indicator of the complexity of an audio passage. It is based on a scientifically developed scale with a maximum score of 2000L.How to Use Lexile Audio Measures
Find stories at the right level of complexity for your students, so that they will be challenged without being frustrated. The measures are categorized into low, medium, or high in order to aid teachers in story selection when they do not know students’ Lexile listening levels.
|Listening Level||Lexile Audio Measures|
These recommended ranges are for instructional use of Listenwise audio content in combination with supports such as the interactive transcript, etc.
|Grade||Lexile Audio Measures (Recommended Ranges)|
|1||215L - 610L|
|2||490L - 855L|
|3||725L - 1060L|
|4||945L - 1250L|
|5||1045L - 1350L|
|6||1125L - 1430L|
|7||1190L - 1500L|
|8||1250L - 1555L|
|9||1300L - 1610L|
|10||1345L - 1655L|
|11/12||1385L - 1695L|