In an election year, we’re all familiar with the political pitches of the candidates. But, behind every great candidate is the brains behind the operation. That’s the role of the campaign manager who coordinates a political campaign's strategy, fundraising, advertising, polling, and getting out the vote effort.
Upper School history teacher Katie McCarthy designed an assignment for the students in Form 3 where they were to create a campaign/propaganda pitch for their Roman emperor and share it with the class on a Google Slideshow. Each student’s task was to buff the image of their man: Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Nero, Vespasian, Titus, Domitian, Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, Marcus Aurelius, Commodus, and Septimus Severus. The name of the game was to increase their emperor’s auctoritas (authority) and potestas (power)?
As campaign manager for an emperor, the students researched each emperor as he took part in an election to become the next leader of the country. They presented the emperor in the most positive way possible in order to earn him votes from the people and discussed their emperor’s achievements, leadership style, personality, and other qualifications. And like true political operatives, they shined the best possible light on their candidates' strong suit. For instance, Nero's campaign manager stated that Nero was a talented musician, but omitted the varying historical accounts that Nero may have played a role in the burning of Rome which raged for nine days to rebuild the city in his own image. That’s politicking as an art form!
Each campaign pitch contained an introduction, four points that illustrated the emperor’s achievements, leadership style, personality, or other qualifications and campaign slogan that highlighted the emperor’s strengths. Some memorable taglines included: “Rome is ragin’ for Trajan!” “Don’t be curious, vote for Tiberius, “Nothing rhymes with Caligula but he’s still the best.”
Each teacher, Katie McCarthy, David Baker, and Trish Watson used different forms of technology for the students to apply to make pitches such as FlipGrid or Screencastify and then created a unified Google Slides show. After these were produced and placed into the Slideshow, the class viewed everyone's propaganda pitches and voted. Claudius (Sophie Glazier '23's emperor) won with nine of 15 final votes and Tiberius (Elle Jacobson '23) took second place with six final votes.
When in Rome or in this case in your bedroom acting as a campaign manager, you do as the Romans do. And, that’s accentuating the positive of their candidates.