Teach and learn by asking questions. Adlai's speeches and articles, as well as articles about Adlai, provide a wealth of opportunity for classroom discussion. Consider using some or all of these questions for whole group, small group, or partnered discussion. Ask additional "why" questions to help prompt students to form their own interpretations and opinions. Extend the ideas students generate in the discussions by having them apply what they have learned in an Adlai-related project.
The discussion questions listed here are derived from the following teaching concepts: perspective-taking (what would Adlai think today?), historical context, liberalism vs. communism, globalization and the challenges of development, and international law. Click the titles within each category below to view the full text (pdf) of the document; click Questions to access the discussion questions related to each.
Note that these documents are all available in the Core Ideas section of the website, as well as within the Adlai Archive. Both .pdf and .doc versions are available in the Archive. The redundant list of links below is provided for your convenience.
How did Adlai Stevenson feel about running for president in 1952?
What were some of the tough issues he saw on the horizon?
What was at risk if the American public was uninformed?
Does Stevenson believe that Nehru is attracted to communism's economic achievements or its social philosophy? Why?
Why did Stevenson believe that the "untouchables" were particularly attracted to communism?
How did Stevenson think the Five Year Plan of development would help thwart the appeal of communism?
What were the Congressional investigations tinged with the "persecution of fear" that Stevenson referred to?
What is the "domino theory" Stevenson referred to? Why was there fear of Indian communism?
Why does Stevenson recommend agricultural reforms before industrial reforms in Pakistan?
What is the "American Legion"?
What is Stevenson referring to when he comments on the personal attacks on General Marshall?
Why did Stevenson view communism as a threat to individual liberty and freedom of thought?
What were Stevenson's thoughts regarding harnessing the atom?
Why would freedom of ideas help cultivate the atom's "power of good"?
What is "mutually assured destruction," and how did that influence Stevenson's thoughts on modern war?
What institution did Stevenson believe was the answer against the "devouring" spread of modern war?
Did Stevenson believe that peaceful nations owed a responsibility to other nations in need? What was the situation in Tibet that he was referencing?
Who was Machiavelli, and why did Stevenson believe that "Machiavellian" politics were more dangerous than ever in the nuclear age?
When Stevenson mentions headings "right, center, or left," to what is he referring?
What is the Taft-Hartley Act?
Why was Stevenson identifying himself with Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman?
From what was Stevenson proposing to save India?
When Stevenson discusses "the sound of tireless voices," to which Constitutional amendment is he referring?
When Stevenson spoke of not fearing to speak the hard truths and the unpopular, how did that relate to his 1952 campaign against Eisenhower?
What was occurring at the time of the speech that reflected the judge's quote, "that community is already in the process of dissolution where each man begins to eye his neighbor as a possible enemy, where non-conformity is a mark of disaffection"?
What were some of Stevenson's statewide reforms as Governor? Did he favor a strong centralized state government?
What is a political boss? Why were some bosses threatened by Stevenson, a political newcomer?
Why did Stevenson believe that democracy is difficult and dangerous?
At which point in the speech does Stevenson touch on Madison's concept of "factions"?
What does Stevenson say is the most effective propaganda against democracy abroad?
According to Stevenson, why is democracy the most preferential form of government?
What is international law? Did Stevenson believe in international law?
How was international law to be enforced?
How might the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki have affected Stevenson's view of the need for the United Nations?
Why did Stevenson believe the United States was in the best position to lead a postwar world order?
What did Adlai mean when he said, "...barriers to international trade are barriers to peace"?
How does Stevenson differentiate socialism from communism? What does he say about the relationship between socialism and American capitalism?
Why did Stevenson believe an unbalanced distribution of wealth posed a threat to a peaceful world order?
What "divide" did Stevenson describe in global development? Who were the "North" and "South"?
What is the Monroe Doctrine? Do you believe Stevenson would say that the Monroe Doctrine has expanded, shrunken, or grown extinct today?
Did Stevenson view potential German aggression as an American problem only, or did he take a broader perspective? How did his view fit into his overall opinions regarding isolationism and anti-isolationism?
What was the "economic" war with Germany that Stevenson described? Are there commodities today that are targets of economic war and terrorism?
What is political patronage, and why did Stevenson want to move away from it?
Why did Stevenson consider the highway program the "most urgent and vital of the immediate tasks confronting the state"?
Can you name the 10 areas on which Stevenson hoped progress would continue when he left his role as governor? Choose two and describe why you think they would have been, or still are, important.