Enter the Student Contest!

Student Video Contest American Government Oxford University PressENGAGE! Student Video Contest

Please SHARE this page with your students!

CONTEST GOAL:  “By The People” by Jim Morone and Rogan Kersh is a fresh new way of looking at an old subject, American government and politics. The narrative style of this book weaves stories from our past and explains how they are still relevant in our lives today. Oxford University Press is sponsoring “ENGAGE!”, a student video contest designed to challenge your students to present their own story and teach the rest of us a lesson about American Government and politics.

Students are invited to submit a video in accordance with the rules below. All approved submissions will be posted on the “By The People” American Government Facebook page and will be judged by Oxford University Press staff, American Government instructors, and the authors Jim Morone and Rogan Kersh. The winning contestant will receive a $750 gift card awarded by Oxford University Press.


  • Contestants must be current undergraduate students taking American Government during the Fall of 2012.
  • Employees or family members of Oxford University Press or The Grandview Group may not participate.
  • Students create a video around one of the themes below.
  • Videos must be under 8 minutes long and are to be posted on YouTube and a link sent to Oxford University Press via this submission form on the By The People (BTP) Facebook page (
  • Submission DEADLINE: December 20, 2012. No exceptions.
  • Finalist will be awarded the prize in January 2013.
  • Submissions will be vetted to ensure contestants meet the requirements for the contest, are appropriate, and that they address one of the topics below.
  • Contestants will receive an email confirming they passed the criteria screening and that their submission has been posted to the BTP Facebook page.
    • They should follow the BTP Facebook page and “Like” or “Share” their submission then encourage their friends, etc. to “Like” their submission.
    • The top ten “liked” submissions move onto Phase II which will include 9 judges (supreme court)
    • The American Government instructor of the winner will receive an OUP gift certificate.


Consider television programs and movies from long ago and/or today and consider how they can parallel American Government at any level (local, state, federal). Select examples and compare how accurate they are in their portrayal of reality during the time they were created. (i.e., Avatar, Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, The Newsroom, Rambo II, etc.)

Pick one example and explain / illustrate how it reflects an aspect of American government as you have studied it in this course.


I. CAMPAIGN CONSULTANT: Political Advertising Specialist - Identify and review four advertisements from the campaign of 2012. Include video clips for your video submission. Now, video a memo to either the Obama or Romney team advising them:

  • How do you assess their ads?
  • How should they respond to the rival campaign?
  • Offer any other advice you think the campaign can use.

II. CAMPAIGN CONSULTANT: Strategist - Pay close attention to the news from the campaign trail for two weeks, including the polls. Then send a video to one of the presidential campaigns, either President Obama or Governor Romney, assessing the current situation and advising them on what they should do next.

III. CREATE YOUR OWN CAMPAIGN AD: Review the four advertisements posted to the web site and/or follow any campaign closely for two weeks. Now, film and edit a campaign ad for one side.


I. What is the single most important idea in America today? Why? Defend your choice.

Hint: In Chapter 2 of “By The People”  (it can be found on the Preview Tab of the website) describes seven important ideas.  Pick one of those…or offer your own.


Describe your generation’s view of American politics. Consider any (or all of the following themes:

  • How do you think people your age see politics and American democracy?
  • How do you think it is different from those who are older or younger than you?
  • Do you feel aligned with your cohort?
  • Many studies suggest Generation Y is especially mistrustful of politics. Do you agree?
  • Why or why not?
  • Are you optimistic about American democracy?