Lesson 3 Response: Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

Paper instructions

Movie to be referenced Free movie
Clip transcript link attached
Watch the clip from Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and respond to these questions in about 250 words.
What is the nature of the struggle between Jeff Smith and Jim Taylor here?
How does this scene dramatize and promote populist ideas?


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– Hello?


– Yes? Wait a minute. Well, force him [INAUDIBLE] about it.

– Yes, sir.

– Hello, Clark? This is Jim Taylor from Washington. Now about this Smith filibuster– if your team of newspapers in the southwest must realize that this bill he’s trying to block will affect your section as well as elite. It’s the patriotic duty of every newspaper in the country.

Hello? Wait a minute. Yes?


– Well, hold them. We’ve got to keep hammering at this man until we smash him.

– All right. I always got a great kick out of that part of the Declaration of Independence. Now, you’re not going to have a country that can make these kind of rules work if you haven’t got men that have learned to tell human rights from a punch in the nose.


– That’s due for a headline.

– It’s a funny thing about man, you know. They all start life being boys. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if some of the senators were boys once. And That’s why it seemed like a pretty good idea to me to get the boys out of crowded cities and stuffy basements for a couple of months out of the year and build their bodies and minds for a man sized job, because those boys are going to be behind these desks some of these days.

And it seemed like a pretty good idea, getting boys from all over the country, boys of all nationalities and ways of living, getting them together. Let them find out what makes different people tick the way they do. Because I wouldn’t give you two cents for all your fancy rules if behind them they didn’t have a little bit of plain, ordinary, everyday kindness. And a little looking out for the other fellow, too.


That’s pretty important, all that. It’s just the blood and bone and sinew of this democracy that some great men handed down to the human race, that’s all. But of course if you’ve got to build a dam where that boys camp ought to be to get some graff to pay off some political army or something, well, that’s a different thing.

Oh, no. If you think I’m going back there to tell those boys in my state and say look, now fellas, forget about it. Forget all this stuff I’ve been telling you about this land you live in. It’s a lot of hooey.

This isn’t your country. It belongs to a lot of James Taylors. Oh, no. Not me. And anybody here that thinks I’m going to do that, they got another thing coming.


Well, that’s all right. I just wanted to find out whether you still had faces.



Oh, I– I’m sorry, gentlemen. I know I’m being disrespectful to this honorable body. I know that. A guy like me should never be allowed to get in here in the first place. I know that. And I hate to stand here and try your patience like this. But either I’m dead right or I’m crazy.

– You wouldn’t care to put that to a vote, would you, Senator?




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