President George H.W. Bush: A Life of Service

CLP Current Event: December 4, 2018

What would George Herbert Walker Bush advise us about being a patriotic American? Read more in this week’s CLP Current Event.

Brought to teachers by Susie Marcus, CLP consultant, with CLP staff.

“Because you run against each other that doesn’t mean you’re enemies,” he once said. “Politics doesn’t have to be uncivil and nasty.”

News Sources

Points of light: Why service to others was the real hallmark of President Bush’s life, by Michelle Nunn, CNN, December 2, 2018
“As people attempt in the coming days to define President Bush, they will characterize him as wise, gracious and committed to civility. And they will speak of his courage, from his days as a fighter pilot to his birthday celebrations jumping out of airplanes.
But I hope they don’t miss what I see as the real hallmark of President Bush’s life — his unyielding commitment to public and community service. It was his true north.”

Tributes to George H.W. Bus pour in from former presidents, world leaders and celebs, by Jessica Estepa and Dalvin Brown, USA Today, December 1, 2018
“As news of the World War II veteran’s death spread across the globe, family members, politicians and pop culture celebrities expressed gratitude and paid tribute online to the life and legacy of the late president.”

George H.W. Bush Accomplished Much More as President Than He Ever Got Credit For, by Michael Duffy, Time, December 1, 2018
“Straddling the end of one era and the start of another, Bush would struggle to keep his balance. His actions weren’t always elegant, but he would accomplish much more than he was given credit for.”

10 Questions for George H.W. Bush, by Michael Duffy, Time, April 28, 2011
“Is there something that only Presidents can understand about being President? Like any job, you have to be in it before you can fully understand and appreciate it. So right now there are only five of us who understand what it means to be Commander in Chief. No matter the politics, there is a mutual respect and understanding among us that is hard to explain.”

Questions to Consider

  • Who was President George Herbert Walker Bush?
  • What is his political legacy?
  • How did family influenced his career?
  • What might explain his passion for public service?
  • What was the Points of Light initiative?
  • What was the impact of military service for George HW Bush?W Bush?
  • Did he symbolize the end of World War II’s Greatest Generation?
  • How important are “people skills” for an effective president?
  • Was his time in Congress related to his decision to ask Congress for permission to begin the Persian Gulf War?
  • Was George H.W. Bush the “foreign policy” president? Why or why not?
  • Did George HW Bush demonstrate the President that the Framers envisioned? If so, what were those qualities? If not, what was lacking?

Background and More

Remembering Former President, National Constitution Center chair George H.W. Bush, by NCC Staff, Constitution Daily, December 1, 2018
“President Bush had an incredible number of experiences before he succeeded Ronald Reagan in the White House in 1989 at the 41st president. After leaving office in 1993, he was one of the most active former presidents ever, making headlines with his annual parachute jumps and public appearances.”

Obituary: George H.W. Bush, BBC, December 1, 2018

Here’s why George H.W. Bush loved to wear those crazy colorful socks, by Francesca Gariano, Today, December 1, 2018

Biography of President George H.W. Bush, Scholastic

George H.W. Bush, Miller Center

Lesson Plans

Lesson on American Presidents: George H.W. Bush, Lesson on American Presidents
CLP: Upper Elementary & Middle School; article and a variety of activities

Constitutional and Legal Connections

An Unlikely Hardliner, George H.W. Bush Was Ready to Push Presidential Powers, by Kate Keller, Smithsonian, May 14, 2018

How Presidential Power Evolved, From The Founding Fathers to Donald Trump, by Krystina Martinez & Rick Holter, KERA News, April 28, 2017

Congress Authorizes Gulf War: Historic act: The vote in both houses, supporting Bush and freeing troops to attack Iraq, is decisive and bipartisan. It is the strongest move since Tonkin Gulf., by Sara Fritz and William J. Eaton, Los Angeles Times, January 13, 1991

Gulf of Tonkin Resolution,

Oregon Connections

Wyden: George HW Bush had a core decency, by Jennifer Dowling, KOIN, December 1, 2018

Oregon State Social Science Standards

8.8 Evaluate information from a variety of sources and perspectives.
8.21 Analyze important political and ethical values such as freedom, democracy, equality and justice embodied in documents such as the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.
HS.33 Explain the role of government in various current events.
HS.35 Examine the pluralistic realities of society (e.g., race, poverty, gender and age), recognizing issues of equity, and evaluating need for change.
HS.59 Demonstrate the skills and dispositions needed to be a critical consumer of information.
HS.60. Analyze an event, issue, problem, or phenomenon from varied or opposing perspectives or points of view.

We the People Lesson Connections

Middle School, Level 2

  • Unit 6, Lesson 30: How might citizens participate in civic affairs?

High School, Level 3

  • Unit 6, Lesson 33: What does it mean to be a citizen?