U.S. Presidents: Washington to Lincoln

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U.S. Presidents: Washington to Lincoln

An Easy-to-Use History Play
for Elementary and Middle School

Grades 3-8
35 minutes
$39.95
(2 or more Book/CD sets @ $30 each)

In Stock.

Includes script, teacher's guide, and audio CD. The CD has all the songs recorded twice: first with singing, so you and your students can learn the songs, and then without voices so your students can perform without us singing along.

And if you ever have any trouble or questions, you can contact us at any time for help.

 

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For individual teachers/classes:
Book/CD - $39.95 for 1, $30/ea for 2+
Hint: order 1 for each teacher. (details)

For 3+ teachers or whole schools:
Site License - $75.00
Comes with 3 copies of book/CD plus unlimited photocopying rights (details)
School/site name:

Musical extras:
Piano/Guitar Score - $9.95 (details)
Extra/Replacement CD - $9.95

Or order by phone, fax or PO

This musical can be done as a complete play, skits, readers' theater, or you can just sing songs. No music or drama experience needed!

A fifth-grade class is visiting a museum of American history, and boy are they in for a surprise: the actual presidents are there to greet them! U.S. Presidents introduces students to the first sixteen presidents of the country, from George Washington to Abraham Lincoln. Plenty of other famous characters drop by too, like Abigail Adams, Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr, Dolly Madison, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Susan B. Anthony. The show reviews the most outstanding achievements of the presidents, providing a lively overview of early American history, including the origins of political parties and the nature of the executive branch.

U.S. Presidents: Washington to Lincoln is a great complement to your curriculum resources in social studies. And, like all of our plays, this show can be used to improve reading, vocabulary, reading comprehension, performance and music skills, class camaraderie and teamwork, and numerous social skills (read about it!) -- all while enabling students to be part of a truly fun and creative experience they will never forget!

Key Concepts

U.S Presidents reinforces students' familiarity with the following people, events, and concepts:

  • George Washington; Valley Forge, inaugural address, two terms, vetoing, avoiding permanent alliances
  • John Adams and John Quincy Adams; popular votes and the electoral college
  • Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton; Louisiana Purchase, Declaration of Independence, Federalist vs. Jeffersonian parties and the beginning of the two-party system
  • constitution and Bill of Rights
  • James Madison and James Monroe; War of 1812, Missouri Compromise, Monroe Doctrine
  • Andrew Jackson; Kitchen Cabinet, federal bureaucracy, depression
  • the legislative, executive, and judiciary branches of government; "checks and balances"
  • suffragettes and the Woman's Rights Movement
  • James Polk; Manifest Destiny, the Trail of Tears
  • Abraham Lincoln (and Taylor, Buchanan, Fillmore, Pierce); Civil War, Union, Confederates, Gettysburg Address
Author: Ron Fink (Composer) and John Heath (Book and Lyrics)
ISBN: 978-1-886588-31-8
© 2004 Bad Wolf Press, LLC

"U.S. Presidents has an adorable script, catchy tunes (in a great variety of musical styles)---a fun way to learn some historical facts! As always with your plays, it was quick and easy to have ready to perform."

---Evelyn Easley, Teacher (5th grade), James McKee School, Elk Grove, CA

"It's teacher friendly and an easy production to perform."

---Jane Barden, Teacher (5th grade), Hulstrom Option School, Northglenn, CO

"Great understanding of US history."

---Patricia Bell, Teacher (4th/5th grade), Norma Coombs School, Pasadena, CA

Casting

Flexible casting from 11-40 students.
Use as many Groupies, Students, Kitchen Cabinet members, etc.
as desired; one student can easily play several roles. Note that all
roles can be played by either boys or girls, including the presidents;
see our comments on page 40 of the Teacher's Guide.

Script

This is the first one-third of the script:

CHARACTERS:

Mrs. Griffin (Teacher)
Various Students
Miss Docent (Museum Guide)
George Washington
Henry Knox
John Jay
Abigail, John, and John Quincy Adams
Thomas Jefferson
Alexander Hamilton
Dolly Madison
Presidential Groupies
Andrew Jackson
Jackson's Kitchen Cabinet
Martin Van Buren, William Henry Harrison, and John Tyler
Elizabeth Cady Stanton
Susan B. Anthony
Zachary Taylor, Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan
Abraham Lincoln
and a CHORUS comprised of all students who are not playing roles on stage at
the time.

The CLASS enters, following their teacher, MRS. GRIFFIN.
THEY all stop and the TEACHER speaks.)

TEACHER: Attention, students! I want you all to listen and look carefully on our f
ield trip today.

STUDENT #1: Mrs. Griffin, what is this place?

TEACHER: This the Presidential Museum. We're going to learn about the Presidents
of the United States.

STUDENT #2: All of them? Even Benjamin Franklin?

TEACHER: Benjamin Franklin was NOT one of the presidents.

STUDENT #3: How about Elvis?

TEACHER: Shush. This morning we're going to learn about the first 16 presidents,
from Washington to Lincoln. And I can see we have a lot to learn.

STUDENT #1: Yeah. I can never keep those old guys straight.

Song 1 - Listen now!

STUDENT A:
Washington's the first one
I'm pretty sure
After that I have no clue

STUDENT B:
Tyler or a Taylor
Pierce or a Polk
James Buchanan, who are you?

STUDENTS C and D:
I remember Lincoln
The rest are a blur
Never been that good with names

STUDENTS E and F:
Sixteen different fellows
Hard to keep straight
Three named John and four named James.

CLASS:
Presidents, presidents, presidents
The first sixteen - who were those gents?
Presidents, presidents, presidents
The first sixteen - who were those gents?
Time we started thinkin'
'Bout Washington to Lincoln
We haven't got an inklin' 'bout the presidents.

Washington's the first one
I'm pretty sure
After that I have no clue

Tyler or a Taylor
Pierce or a Polk
James Buchanan, who are you?

I remember Lincoln
The rest are a blur
Never been that good with names

Sixteen different fellows
Hard to keep straight
Three named John and four named James.

CLASS:
Presidents, presidents, presidents
The first sixteen - who were those gents?
Presidents, presidents, presidents
The first sixteen - who were those gents?
Time we started thinkin'
'Bout Washington to Lincoln
We haven't got an inklin' 'bout the presidents.

(MISS DOCENT enters.)

MISS DOCENT: Welcome, Mrs. Griffin and students, to the Presidential
Museum. My name is Miss Docent, and I'll be your guide. I understand
we only have half an hour today, so I recommend we tour the south wing.
This section contains displays for the first 16 presidents.

MRS. GRIFFIN (looking at a display): Ooh!. Look at these teeth!

MISS DOCENT: Those are some of the false teeth used by George
Washington. They're made of ivory.

(GEORGE WASHINGTON suddenly appears, accompanied
by HENRY KNOX and JOHN JAY.)

Ah, and here's President Washington now.

MRS. GRIFFIN: My goodness. How do you do that?

MISS DOCENT: I have no idea. It just happens.

GEORGE WASHINGTON: Good morning. Let me introduce you to my Secretary
of War, Henry Knox, and my special envoy, John Jay.

KNOX and JAY: Our pleasure.

WASHINGTON: I have no idea what a special envoy is, but one of the
cool things about being president is that you can appoint them any time
you like.

MRS. GRIFFIN: Class, pay attention. This is George Washington, Father
of Our Country. Excuse me, Mr. President. I've always wondered: In
the Revolutionary War, how did you manage to get your men through that
terrible winter in Valley Forge?

WASHINGTON: One word, Mrs. Griffin: s'mores.

MRS. GRIFFIN: S'mores?

WASHINGTON: Sure. While the redcoats were trying to survive on boiled
mutton, my men were toasting marshmallows over the campfire.

KNOX: They were delicious---did wonders for our morale.

WASHINGTON: Though, as you can see...
(holds up dentures)
...they were tough on our teeth.

KNOX: I TOLD you we should have flossed.

MRS. GRIFFIN: Did you hear that, class? Let this be a lesson to you.

MISS DOCENT: Mr. Washington was unanimously elected our first
president in 1789. Without his firm guidance, it's doubtful our new
country would have survived.

WASHINGTON: Oh, you exaggerate.

JAY: No she doesn't. You were mahhhvelous.

KNOX: Absolutely: you were first in war, first in peace, and first in
the hearts of your countrymen.

Song 2

JAY and KNOX:
You set the precedent for president
You set the tone for all to come
How to veto, what to sign
How to keep the Veep in line
When to bargain, when to fight
How to wear a wig just right.

WASHINGTON (spoken): I did look pretty good, didn't I?

JAY and KNOX:
You set the precedent for president
You set the tone for all to come
How to nuance and finesse
An inaugural address
The job's tiring and it's tough
And so two terms are enough.

WASHINGTON:
Just say no
To permanent alliances
Don't make treaties that can lead you into war
Just say yes
To politic neutrality
And then settle back and have another s'more!

JAY, KNOX, WASHINGTON, CHORUS:
You set the precedent for president
You set the tone for all to come
How to veto, what to sign
How to keep the Veep in line
When to bargain, when to fight
How to wear a wig just right.
How to nuance and finesse
An inaugural address.
The job's tiring and it's tough
And so two terms are enough
You set the precedent for president.

(WASHINGTON, JAY, and KNOX exit.)

DOCENT: Now over here we have the second and sixth presidents, the
Adams family.

GRIFFIN (hands on hips, glares at students): And don't even THINK
about any Uncle Fester jokes.

DOCENT: Let's see if we can conjure up John Adams and his son John
Quincy Adams.

(ABIGAIL appears)

JOHN (from off or side of stage): Was too!

JOHN QUINCY (from off or side of stage: Was not!

JOHN: Was too!

JOHN QUINCY: Was not!

ABIGAIL (to DOCENT, GRIFFIN): Honestly, those two are going to drive
me nuts.

DOCENT: Hello, Abigail. Are they at it again?

ABIGAIL: As always.

JOHN (still from side of stage): Was too!

JOHN QUINCY: Was not!

ABIGAIL: John! John Quincy! You get in here right now. And stop that
bickering. Two presidents acting like children. You should be ashamed
of yourselves.

(The two men enter. ABIGAIL speaks to DOCENT)

ABIGAIL: My husband and son are forever arguing.

GRIFFIN: About who was the best president?

ABIGAIL: No. About who was LEAST popular.

JOHN QUINCY (pointing to JOHN): HE started it.

JOHN: Nuh-uh! He said he was less liked than I was. Even though I was
Washington's vice-president, I defeated Jefferson in the election by
only 3 electoral votes.

JOHN QUINCY: At least YOU got to be vice-president.

JOHN: The most insignificant office ever contrived or conceived.

JOHN QUINCY: But even when I won the election Andrew Jackson defeated
me in both the popular vote and the electoral college. You can't beat that.

ABIGAIL: Please, you were both fine presidents.

JOHN: But they didn't like us! I kept our young nation out of the war
between the French and British and I STILL lost my bid for re-election.

JOHN QUINCY: And I had big ideas for funding highways and canals, even
a national university, but nobody agreed and I got creamed in MY try
for re-election.

JOHN: No, I was creamed.

JOHN QUINCY: I was annihilated.

JOHN: Yeah? Well, my own barber didn't vote for me.

JOHN QUINCY: That's nothing. I didn't even vote for me.

ABIGAIL: Boys!

Song 3 - Listen now!

JOHN:
Four years
I used my clout
No war
I kept us out.

I said
We wouldn't shoot
Four years
Then I got the boot.

ABIGAIL:
Johnny oh Johnny
You are the best
Johnny oh Johnny
Now give it a rest.
Though you're a slow learner
My love can't be firmer
My sweet single-termer
I still love you.

JOHN QUINCY:
Four years
I had big plans
Too bad
I had no fans.

I tried
Hard not to pout
Four years
They voted me out!

ABIGAIL and CHORUS:
Johnny oh Johnny
You are the best
Johnny oh Johnny
Now give it a rest.
Though you're a slow learner
My love can't be firmer
My sweet single-termer
I still love you.
My sweet single-termer
I still love you.

(The three ADAMS exit. JEFFERSON enters.)

THOMAS JEFFERSON: Did I just hear John Adams?

DOCENT: Oh, hello, President Jefferson. I'm afraid you just missed
him.

JEFFERSON: He helped me draft the Declaration of Independence. We got
to be good friends after, well, after I whipped him in that
presidential election.

GRIFFIN: He seems a little bitter.

JEFFERSON: Oh, he's just a bit high strung. New Englander, you know.
Remarkably sensible for a Harvard boy.

ALEXANDER HAMILTON (entering): Tom Jefferson? Is that you?

JEFFERSON: Alexander Hamilton! My old Federalist nemesis. How have you
been?

HAMILTON: Not bad, not bad. I've slowed down a bit since that Aaron
Burr thing.

JEFFERSON: Well, we've all slowed a bit. Everything I did after that
Louisiana Purchase seems a bit anti-climatic. But the party politics we
started...now THAT has really taken off!

GRIFFIN: Excuse me, but did you say you started the political parties?

HAMILTON: Pretty much. I was Secretary of the Treasury under
Washington, and the leading figure in the Federalist party. We believed
in a powerful central government, a national debt, strong central bank,
support for industry, and rule by the best people.

JEFFERSON: But my Jeffersonian politics belonged to what is called
the Democratic-Republicans favored states rights, agriculture, and the
extension of democracy.

DOCENT: George Washington warned against forming political factions.

HAMILTON: Oh none of us could have foreseen the incredible development
of the two-party system.

JEFFERSON and HAMILTON (good naturedly, even though in competition):

Song 4 - Listen now!

The framers of the constitution
All hoped we'd get along
The framers got a lot just perfect
But this one they got wrong.

They thought that we would work together
And rule in harmony
But really there is just one item
On which we can agree.

You are the bad guys
We are the good guys
The world is split in two
We're gonna party
Come on and party
And may the worst one lose!
We're gonna party
And may the worst one lose!

HAMILTON:
We need a government with power
It's strength should be increased

JEFFERSON:
The government is best I'm certain
That governs us the least.

HAMILTON:
Let's make our policies pro-business

JEFFERSON:
The farmer is our man
We like the French

HAMILTON:
We love the British

JEFFERSON and HAMILTON (pointing to each other):
It's YOU I cannot stand!

You are the bad guys
We are the good guys
The world is split in two
We're gonna party
Come on and party
And may the worst one lose!
We're gonna party
And may the worst one lose!

Our two parties have just one thing we've concurred
Our two parties know that we don't need a third.

JEFFERSON, HAMILTON, CHORUS:
You are the bad guys
We are the good guys
The world is split in two
We're gonna party
Come on and party
And may the worst one lose!
We're gonna party
And may the worst one lose!
We're gonna party
And may the worst one lose!

(This concludes the first one-third of the script.)

Sample Songs

Click on the song name to hear samples. Please note that internet song samples have low fidelity and rest assured that the CDs we sell sound much better! (This player requires Flash. If you have any trouble hearing the samples, just contact us for help.)


Full Song List

1. "Presidents"
2. "Precedent for President"
3. "Four Years"
4. "We're Gonna Party"
5. "Ooh, Sigh"
6. "Man, He Loves this Job"
7. "Manifest Destiny?"
8. "Rifles and Cannons"
9. "We All Won"
10. "Presidents" (new version)

Common Core and Other National Standards

History/Social Studies

Language Arts

Fine Arts

  • National Music Standards 1, 2, 6, 7, and 8 for K-4th, Standard 1 for 5th-8th
  • National Theater Standards 2, 3, 6, 7, and 8 for K-4th, Standards 2 and 6 for 5th-8th
  • National Dance Standards 1 and 2 for K-4th

Vocabulary

docent
neutrality
unanimously
dispossessed
envoy
clout
annihilated
devastating
precedent
"got the boot"
nemesis
humility
nuance
concurred
advocate
high strung
finesse
"saddled with"
reviled

Historical/Political Terms:

Valley Forge
Veep
two-party system
inaugural address
electoral college
Federalist
Jeffersonian
constitution
Bill of Rights
Declaration of Independence
national seal
War of 1812
Missouri Compromise
Monroe Doctrine
Louisiana Purchase
redcoats
permanent alliances
Kitchen Cabinet
federal bureaucracy
Supreme Court
congress
"checks and balances"
depression
suffragettes
legislative
executive
judiciary
Manifest Destiny
Civil War
Trail of Tears
Union
Confederates
Gettysburgh Address
national debt
e pluibus unum