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Film Viewing: Unprecedented: The 2000 Presidential Film Film Viewing: Unprecedented: The 2000 Presidential Election

The film Unprecedented: The 2000 Presidential Election is a riveting story about the battle for the Presidency in Florida and the undermining of democracy in America. Filmmakers Richard Ray Pérez and Joan Sekler examine modern America's most controversial political contest: the Election of George W. Bush.

What emerges is a disturbing picture of an election marred by suspicious irregularities, electoral injustices, and sinister voter purges in a state governed by the winning candidate's brother. George W. Bush stole the presidency of the United States… and got away with it.

"…the movie highlights those on the front lines—from the African-Americans who were turned away from the polling booths for assorted reasons. … In one memorable scene the filmmakers freeze-frame a 'protest' against the ballot recount, identifying participants as staff members of Republican elected officials."

--Elaine Dutka, Los Angeles Times

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After viewing the film in class, please answer the questions:

  1. Why did Blacks in Florida react the way they did to the first candidacy of Jeb Bush?

  2. What did Blacks do after Jeb Bush was elected governor in 1998? Considering the events of 2000, was this a good strategy? Explain.

  3. From what you saw in the film, create a list of strategies the Republicans used to prevent the recounting of votes in Florida.

  4. Compare the film to our previous assignment: Create a list of events or issues you were unaware of before seeing this film.

  5. Lawyers, college professors and journalists are interviewed and comment on the workings of the Electoral College. considering the information they provide and what you already know about why the Electoral College was created, pretend you were Alexander Hamilton and you were given a chance to comment for the film. What would you say?

  6. Pretend you were invited to join a group of people in Florida to decide what, if anything to do about the coming 2004 Presidential elections. What would be your contributions to that discussion? What would you suggest to the people of Florida? Explain your answers and try to use the information you have gathered to back up your arguments.

Extra Credit

Create a poster-sized timeline of the events leading up to the inauguration of George W. Bush. Your timeline will be posted in class.

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Who didn't vote in Florida this article is written by Greg Palst and appears on (read all four pages of this article - you must click on the links on the bottom of the page!)

Article from The Nation Magazine by Vincent Bugliousi, None Dare Call it Treason.

Listing of short articles detailing the events of Election 2000

Unprecedented: The 2000 Presidential Election. Web page for the film.

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Grading Rubric

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State Standards 5.2 and 5.3, National Standards III and V

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Updated: 05/04/04