Reading Like a Historian: Manifest Destiny

Resource ID#: 36138 Type: Lesson Plan

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General Information

Subject(s): Social Studies, English Language Arts
Grade Level(s): 11
Intended Audience: Educators educators
Suggested Technology: Computer for Presenter, LCD Projector, Microsoft Office
Instructional Time: 1 Hour(s)
Resource supports reading in content area:Yes
Freely Available: Yes
Keywords: Manifest Destiny, John O’Sullivan, Westward Expansion, sourcing, contextualization, close reading
Instructional Design Framework(s): Direct Instruction
Resource Collection: General Collection

Aligned Standards

This vetted resource aligns to concepts or skills in these benchmarks.

5 Lesson Plans

Reading Like a Historian: Irish Immigration

In this lesson, students analyze primary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: Were the Irish considered "white" in the 19th century? The teacher introduces the topic with background information on anti-Irish hostility. Students are then split into groups of 4 and given 2 political cartoons (one by Thomas Nast), a primary source except from a Know-Nothing newspaper, and a secondary source by historian David Roediger. For each, they answer guiding questions, and then, using all 4 documents, compare evidence that Irish were/were not considered "white." A final class discussion addresses the racially ambiguous status of the Irish.

Reading Like a Historian: Lewis and Clark SAC

In this lesson, students analyze primary and secondary source documents, as well as engage in a Structured Academic Controversy, in an effort to answer the central historical question: Were Lewis and Clark respectful to the Native Americans they encountered on their journey? Detailed directions are provided for both teacher and students as to how to conduct a Structured Academic Controversy. All primary and secondary source documents (a letter from Thomas Jefferson, 4 excerpts from Clark's journals from 1805 and 1806, and a Time magazine article exploring the expedition from the Native American's point of view) are included with the lesson.

Reading Like a Historian: Louisiana Purchase

In this lesson, students analyze 3 primary source documents (an editorial by Alexander Hamilton, and back-and-forth letters by Senators Rufus King and Timothy Pickering) in an effort to answer the central historical question: Why did Federalists oppose the Louisiana Purchase? The teacher models sourcing and contextualization to help students analyze the documents while the students fill in a graphic organizer. A final class discussion attempts to uncover the Federalist critics' real motivations—was their opposition practical or political?

Reading Like a Historian: Nat Turner

In this lesson, students analyze 3 source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: Was Nat Turner a hero or a madman? The lesson begins by first reading the class textbook's account of the Nat Turner massacre and then reading a timeline which includes Turner's capture and execution. The teacher them models the first document, an excerpt from Thomas Gray's Confessions of Nat Turner, by helping students answer sourcing, contextualization, corroboration, and close reading questions. Students then do the same with 2 more documents: a newspaper editorial contemptuous of Turner and an admiring 1843 speech by Henry Garnet to the National Negro Convention. Finally, students use all 3 documents to write a response to the central question and discuss as a class: what kind of person was Nat Turner?

Reading Like a Historian: Texas Independence

In this lesson, students analyze primary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: Why did Texans declare independence from Mexico in 1836? The teacher introduces the topic with a film clip (Note: requires registration to Discovery Education's website) and timeline and elicits student hypotheses. Students are then given 4 documents: 1) the Texas Declaration of Independence, 2) a letter by Tejano Rafael Manchola, 3) a speech by Mexican Juan Seguin, and 4) a pamphlet by abolitionist Benjamin Lundy. Students then analyze each using a graphic organizer; a final class discussion invites students to participate in the historical debate.

Related Resources

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Lesson Plans

Reading Like a Historian: Irish Immigration:

In this lesson, students analyze primary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: Were the Irish considered "white" in the 19th century? The teacher introduces the topic with background information on anti-Irish hostility. Students are then split into groups of 4 and given 2 political cartoons (one by Thomas Nast), a primary source except from a Know-Nothing newspaper, and a secondary source by historian David Roediger. For each, they answer guiding questions, and then, using all 4 documents, compare evidence that Irish were/were not considered "white." A final class discussion addresses the racially ambiguous status of the Irish.

Type: Lesson Plan

Reading Like a Historian: Lewis and Clark SAC:

In this lesson, students analyze primary and secondary source documents, as well as engage in a Structured Academic Controversy, in an effort to answer the central historical question: Were Lewis and Clark respectful to the Native Americans they encountered on their journey? Detailed directions are provided for both teacher and students as to how to conduct a Structured Academic Controversy. All primary and secondary source documents (a letter from Thomas Jefferson, 4 excerpts from Clark's journals from 1805 and 1806, and a Time magazine article exploring the expedition from the Native American's point of view) are included with the lesson.

Type: Lesson Plan

Reading Like a Historian: Louisiana Purchase:

In this lesson, students analyze 3 primary source documents (an editorial by Alexander Hamilton, and back-and-forth letters by Senators Rufus King and Timothy Pickering) in an effort to answer the central historical question: Why did Federalists oppose the Louisiana Purchase? The teacher models sourcing and contextualization to help students analyze the documents while the students fill in a graphic organizer. A final class discussion attempts to uncover the Federalist critics' real motivations—was their opposition practical or political?

Type: Lesson Plan

Reading Like a Historian: Nat Turner:

In this lesson, students analyze 3 source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: Was Nat Turner a hero or a madman? The lesson begins by first reading the class textbook's account of the Nat Turner massacre and then reading a timeline which includes Turner's capture and execution. The teacher them models the first document, an excerpt from Thomas Gray's Confessions of Nat Turner, by helping students answer sourcing, contextualization, corroboration, and close reading questions. Students then do the same with 2 more documents: a newspaper editorial contemptuous of Turner and an admiring 1843 speech by Henry Garnet to the National Negro Convention. Finally, students use all 3 documents to write a response to the central question and discuss as a class: what kind of person was Nat Turner?

Type: Lesson Plan

Reading Like a Historian: Texas Independence:

In this lesson, students analyze primary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: Why did Texans declare independence from Mexico in 1836? The teacher introduces the topic with a film clip (Note: requires registration to Discovery Education's website) and timeline and elicits student hypotheses. Students are then given 4 documents: 1) the Texas Declaration of Independence, 2) a letter by Tejano Rafael Manchola, 3) a speech by Mexican Juan Seguin, and 4) a pamphlet by abolitionist Benjamin Lundy. Students then analyze each using a graphic organizer; a final class discussion invites students to participate in the historical debate.

Type: Lesson Plan