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A Comparative Literary View of U.S. History, 1820-1900

Hoyt G. Sorrells

Contents of Curriculum Unit 09.02.09:

To Guide Entry


Well before the commencement of events that ultimately led to the Civil War, government leaders of the U.S. had set the new nation upon a path of primarily westward expansion. Irrespective of Mexican national boundaries and the existing treaties with various Native American tribal groups, so-called Jacksonian Democrats began to promote the concept of Manifest Destiny. While manifest destiny has been variously defined to serve myriad and sundry political purposes, here the definition is restricted to the belief that the government of the U.S., "...;was destined to establish uninterrupted political authority across the entire North American continent, from one ocean to the other."(en.wikipedia.org ) Adopting a policy of manifest destiny was an omen of grave consequences for both Native Americans and Mexico, nor was there mention of the future of slavery.

Students will compare information about the same event by using a variety of sources; conduct an I-Search to gather and analyze information on one of several selected topics and write an I-Search paper (essay) relating what they know, what they would really love to learn and what they actually learn about the historical event of their choice. Research topics: the status of African Americans; direct quotations of African Americans, Native Americans and Mexicans from the period in question; interactions between Native and African Americans; the War with Mexico; any of the territorial battles with Native Americans in the South, West, North-west, on the Great Plains or the Indian Removal Act.

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A Comparative Literary View of U.S. History, 1820-1900 is designed for Eighth Grade Social Studies Classes. Class sizes may vary from 18-27 students. Class instruction may be conducted by certified regular education Social Studies teachers or co-taught by regular and certified Special Education teachers. Classes can be made up of students of varying ability levels and diverse ethnic and geographical backgrounds.

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Background Information

As early as the 1820s, the U.S. Government set the stage for continental, if not hemispheric, expansion when President James Monroe expressed his doctrine to Congress. The Monroe Doctrine (MD) warned off former and future European colonizers from any new exploits in the western hemisphere. The MD was backed up with the threat of war by the upstart new military power on the global block, "...;We owe it...; to declare that we should consider any attempt on their part to extend their system to any portion of this hemisphere as dangerous to our peace and safety."(Dorf, p.772) The MD in effect isolated Mexico and Native Americans from the potential of European intervention on their behalf. Hence, westward expansion could proceed unencumbered dooming Mexican and Native American territory to a fate to be determined solely by the government of the U.S. The same government had shown its disdain for Native Americans with the Indian Removal Act of 1830 and Andrew Jackson's nullification of the Supreme Court's decision overturning the deceptive Treaty of New Echota, which gave away Cherokee land on the signature of hand picked, but unauthorized Cherokees.

It should be kept in mind that the flowery language of the Declaration of Independence, "...;that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness...;"(Dorf, p.157 ) in the words of Thomas Jefferson, and the promise held by the language in the Preamble of the U.S. Constitution, "...;establish justice...; promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity...;" (Dorf, p. 214 ) as probably composed by James Madison, were empty of meaning for Mexico and the tribes of North America. Both Native Americans and the people of Mexico were descendants of indigenous peoples who had witnessed the arrival of the first Europeans. The Native Americans who inhabited the Atlantic coastal region when Europeans arrived had yet to reach mutually acceptable living arrangements with their uninvited guest in the early 19th Century after four centuries of uneasy coexistence. The Native Americans of the east, while undoubtedly unhappy about the appearance of Europeans, had resolved to not only accept their presence, but exhibited a willingness to share the bounty of North America's natural resources with the newcomers. It seemed that no matter how accommodating the natives tried to be, once Europeans figured out how to survive in the New World, avarice was the predominant European response.

Even though the initial expedition by Columbus began as a search for a shortcut to Asian markets, it was motivated by European greed. The alarming aspect of European exploration was not the motivation that started them, but the apparent and utter disdain for the humanity of the indigenous peoples displayed by Columbus and subsequent European explorers. Each voyage by Columbus contributed to the destruction Caribbean culture. The arrival of the British, Dutch and the French set in motion the decline of other Caribbean cultures and native cultures on the North American mainland. Europeans then introduced the Atlantic slave trade. Importing a labor force to compensate themselves, because the so-called Indians were neither physically, nor psychologically suited to the heavy labor required work plantations or build European styled villages, towns and cities. In providing themselves with free labor, Europeans plundered Africa's most precious natural resource and brain trust. Early Mexican cultures had suffered a fate similar to their eastern brethren at the hands of the Spanish Conquistadors. The natural resources of Mexico, what is now southwestern United States, Central and South America were plundered by the Conquistadors. There can be no justification for one culture to denigrate the humanity of another. However, in their efforts to find new land, resources and markets European rulers unleashed a ruthless colonizing mindset, complete with settlers, soldiers and new weapons, upon the continents of Africa, North and South America. In doing so Europe raised its standard of living, but froze and distorted the development and potential for advancement of three continents.

It is no small matter that both Mexicans and Native Americans were already living here when the ancestors of Jefferson and Madison arrived. It is important to keep their words in mind because they share the same class, if not the politics, as men of John Calhoun's ilk. Calhoun was a man of racist convictions, one of which views he made clear in a speech to Congress in January of 1848, "(W)e have never dreamt of incorporating into our Union any but the Caucasian race-the free white race. To incorporate Mexico, would be the very first instance of the kind, of incorporating an Indian race; for more than half of the Mexicans are Indians...;" (en.wikipedia.org)

It is important to keep the words and the authors of these statements in mind because they represent the prevalent mindset of a government in the midst of implementing their manifest destiny upon the continent of North America. The advent of the policy of manifest destiny placed the U.S. Government on the brink of westward expansion without regard to costs; it would bring the land that had been entirely Mexico face to face with territorial decimation and it would cause Native Americans to teeter on the precipice of annihilation. It could be argued that during the decades following the War of Independence the United States Government was faced with pressures. It had a growing population with rapid increase of European immigration and the custom of raising large families in an agrarian society. There were also periods of economic difficulty after the War of 1812 and during the late 1830s. And of course there was ever present pressure of Southern politicians, who wanted to add slave states or territories to the United States. Militarily the vast lands west of the Allegheny and Appalachian Mountain ranges represented the potential for enormous expenditures of money and manpower to provide defense in the event of attacks from the west. However, the U.S. Government had, without the advice or consent of a single Native American, purchased the Louisiana Territory from France. This purchase gave the U.S. the right to govern the vast stretch of territory between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains. The Native Americans of the Great Plains fell under the same territorial jeopardy as their fellow tribes of the eastern portion of the U.S. with the Louisiana Purchase.

This purchase also gave the U.S. Government the right to parcel out land to European immigrants, free blacks or whomever else it chose. Although the U.S. Government signed many treaties with various Native American groups, it had no compunction about violating those treaties in order to allow settlement by adventurers or prospectors. The U. S. Government legitimized such treaty violations-treaties being the second highest level of law, secondary only to the U.S. Constitution-with claims that the boundaries of freedom and democracy should be preserved only to those capable of self-government. Native Americans were not capable of self-governance in the estimation of the proponents of manifest destiny. Therefore, it would be in the best interest of Native Americans for the U.S. take control of the land.

In the annexation of Mexican lands it could be argued that Mexico's northern territory was under populated and indefensible by a Mexican government in the throes of internal strife. The U.S. could claim that constant warfare with Native Americans made Mexico's northern territory untenable for Mexican settlement and/or governance. Further, it could be argued that the state of Mexican transportation and communication would make it too difficult for Mexico to unify that area under Mexican rule. Hence, it would be in the best interest of both Mexico and the U.S. for the U.S. Government to annex lands that are now the southwestern states of the U.S.

As was mentioned above the introduction of manifest destiny into the psyche of the leadership of the United States' Government signified the beginning of westward expansion of the newly independent nation. The mindset that accompanied westward expansion also contained a not so veiled threat to former colonizing nations of Europe. The newest international power would not interfere with well established colonized populations, who made no attempt to relieve themselves of their domination by European nations. However, the indigenous peoples of the Western Hemisphere could not anticipate European intervention on their behalf, once the bloody implementation of manifest destiny actually began. Hence, territories on northern Mexico, indeed Mexico itself, as well as Native American lands were at risk of being gobbled up and incorporated into the United States. The people of Mexico spent most of the 19th Century at war or engaged in reconstruction. They struggled with Spain and eventually gained independence in 1821. Mexico then spent the next several decades at war with Texas (1830s); the United States (1840s); internal strife (1850s) and then Spain, France and Great Britain during the 1860s. Freedom-loving Mexicans finally overthrew and executed their self-imposed Frenchman Emperor Maximillian in 1867. During these same years the U.S. was experiencing rapid population growth via native births and European immigration, the industrial revolution with advances in communication, transportation and commerce. Therefore, the primitive weaponry and military strategies presented by Native American peoples and Mexicans were no match for the sophisticated weaponry and overwhelming numbers that could be brought to bare by the U.S. in any conflict. The leadership and incredible bravery that existed among Native Americans, while heroic, was outmatched by the U.S. Army's new technology. Even some recently freed from slavery African Americans were duped into helping the U.S. Government to constrain the indigenous people.

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Using the I-Search approach allows students to be original and creative. Students choose an aspect they want to research drawing comparisons between the traditional accounts of American History to the accounts of some of those who found themselves subject to the process of making that history as opposed to being willing participants in the making of that history. The entire I-Search process is based upon the student's personal interests. The I-Search is the brain child of Ken Macrorie, Professor Emeritus of English, at Western Michigan University and was first presented in, Searching Writing, 1980.

The I-Search Process has four essential elements after the student has chosen a topic of real interest to him/her: (1) what the student knows about the topic; (2) why the student is writing about the topic; (3) the student provides a detailed description of the search itself, that is, what the student did or did not learn as well as what research results means to the student; and (4) the bibliography. The I-Search is ideal for giving the student ownership. The results are presented in the student's own voice, hence the temptation to engage in plagiarizing material is greatly reduced. Claiming ideas as their own in traditional research formats can be overwhelming for middle-school students. Macrorie writes, "...;(A)lmost never do we detect plagiarism, because the project is weighted so heavily toward reporting the writer's searchings...;"(Macrorie, p.3) There is the necessity to identify sources, but the true essence of the I-Search is the narrative or story. The 'Search' section wherein the student, "...;describes the process of researching."(Macrorie, p.3) In this, 'Search' section the student writes what they know and do not know about their topic, what assumptions they have made and what they think about the topic. In this narrative the student discusses: what he/she wants to learn through the I-Search Process; if they expect to make discoveries; and any predictions they might want to make about their topics. At this point the student goes to work looking for answers to the questions they offered in their I-Search Proposals. Their search will either be benefited by good note taking habits or improve students' note taking skills, as students must keep track of what they find, where they find it and what the process of discovery was like for them. As most middle school students tend to be pleased with achieving results, especially when they feel like they have done it themselves, it is here that students hopefully begin to truly enjoy the search. The I-Search Paper, also known as the Personalized Research Paper, is a method of writing a research paper based on students', "...;own genuine desire to know something."(Macrorie, p2) Students can use any number of sources, including personal interviews where possible, to find answers to their questions. Point values will be attached to each step of the I-Search Process. For example, each team will receive points for a correctly completed I-Search Proposal. Additionally, bonus points can be awarded for artistic portrayals, illustrations and the quality of their presentations.

Once students have settled on the topic they wish to pursue, they should list what they know and do not know about their topic; what assumptions they have made about their topic and what they think generally about their topic. Next students should indicate what they hope to learn about the topic, any discoveries they expect to make and any predictions they want to make about their upcoming research. Teachers can help direct students by constructing questioning and interest inventories to help students generate questions for which they want to find answers. Students can then seek the answers they require on the Internet, in books, through interviews or other avenues.

One important goal of this unit is to begin the development of independent thinking among the middle school students who participate in this process. It is the professed goal of every teacher, department chairperson, district supervisor and superintendent to help students become critical thinkers. Critical thinking lends itself to questioning context. Forming an opinion or other point of view and finding the necessary details to support that point of view. Critical thinking helps students to look at an issue from a different angle. Independent thinking compliments critical thinking. The independent thinker should be one who not only questions context, but is willing to question the content of a discipline. Students, even middle school students, do this naturally. Have we all not heard the questions: how is this subject going to affect me? Or, why do I need this information/knowledge or skill? The answers to these questions vary depending on the discipline, whether we teach Language Arts, a foreign language, Math, Science or Social Studies. No matter which discipline we teach, truth is the guiding principle for answering these questions. While the opinion of a critical thinker may be based in truth or fantasy, the independent thinker should be a seeker of truth wherever it leads. Is the information presented in this textbook about the lives of Mexicans, Native or Africans the truth or someone's perspective? If members of either group were telling this story would it be the same? These are the types of questions an independent thinker might ask.

Students must possess or develop good note keeping skills as they must keep track where they find their answers and the process of their discovery. The I-Search is more about the experience of finding answers, than about necessarily finding answers the student wants to find. Hence, the following is just a short, hopefully thought provoking, list of possible questions that students could ask to open their I-Searches:

Did the removal of Native Americans from their tribal homelands compare to the black migration of freedmen from the south after the Civil War?
Could the U.S. Government accomplish the same or similar results geographically without shedding so much blood and displacing so many indigenous people?
Was John L. O'Sullivan's belief that, "...;God (Providence) had given the United States a mission to spread republican democracy throughout North America...;" (en.wikipedia.org) the driving force behind expansion in early America?
Did the existence here of Mexicans and Native Americans entitle them to any "unalienable" rights?
What role did feelings of racial superiority play in the physical formation of America?
Why should the first inhabitants not be entitled to the blessings of liberty for themselves and their posterity?

This unit is designed to align with Social Studies curriculum. Unit Five of the Eighth Grade textbook is titled, "The Nation Expands,"(Dorf, p.309) and is the point at which these auxiliary lessons will best serve to increase students' understanding of the costs and benefits of American expansion.

Students will read about life in the North and the South in the textbook.
They will read about the industrial nature of life in the North and the agricultural life of the South.
They will read about the slave system; the growth of cities and the influx of primarily European immigrants in this period of America's development.
Students will read about advances in literature, the sciences and the arts.
Students will read about the commencement of the women's rights movement and the gradual successes of the abolitionist movement.
Students will compare/contrast textbook historical accounts of the United States' westward expansion with accounts by African Americans, Mexicans and Native Americans
Students will compose questions that explain similarities and differences between those historical accounts.
Students will build vocabulary.
Students will improve their recognition of context clues.
Students will be exposed for the purpose of developing an appreciation for African and Native American dialects.
Students will enhance Library and Tech Center research skills.
Students will improve or devise better note taking skills.
Students will organize research into a written/oral/visual presentation.
Students will develop or sharpen investigative skills, which will have application across disciplines. Since many answers to their questions will lead to other questions about their topics, each student will refine their individual systems of inquiry. Those students who can transfer the knowledge they gain from the I-Search process to their other courses will benefit most, but all students will benefit from the I-Search experience if only in the confidence of knowing they can successfully shape and complete a research project.

Finally, students will learn the important events of westward expansion, e.g., "U.S. Policies Toward Native Americans,"(Dorf, p.300) Texas winning its independence from Mexico, the war with Mexico and California becoming a state. Were the presentation of America's westward expansion to end at this point, students would be left without an understanding of the impact of the same on Mexico's northernmost provinces, the lives and lands of America's tribes nor would students gain an appreciation for the tenuous position of former slaves and where they might fit in to the grand scheme of America's future. As you have seen above great emphasis has been placed on manifest destiny as the ideal with regard to westward expansion and the annexation of lands between Canada's southern and Mexico's northern borders and of course the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

Native American culture was decimated and their territories annexed as a result of the application of the tenets of manifest destiny. While the practice of the Atlantic slave trade wreaked havoc on the children and descendants of Africa. Neither the Native Americans, nor the slaves seemed to hold any entitlement in the pursuit of that manifest destiny. U.S. seizure of Mexican territory can be attributed to both manifest destiny and the Monroe Doctrine enunciated by President James Monroe in his Seventh Annual Message to Congress on December 2, 1823. Figuratively speaking the new nation on the Western Hemisphere's block essentially killed two geopolitical birds with one stone doctrine. Monroe declared the United States' unequivocal intent for the future of any relationship between Europe and the Western Hemisphere. The threat was implied, but left no room for interpretation on the part of European powers. European interference in the west would not be tolerated. The second bird killed by Monroe's doctrine was the open challenge to the established military/naval powers of the world. This challenge laid claim to the United States' position as a global power demanding their respect and deference.

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It is at this point that justification of the unit's title, A Comparative Literary View of U.S. History, 1820-1900, will become evident. The implementation of this unit will require collaboration between the Social Studies teacher, the Librarian, the Technical Center Director and the Art Department. The unit will be comprised of lesson plans for maximum liability partnership-two person team cooperative learning exercises. These plans will direct students to employ the I-Search Process to do their comparison research. Student teams will be called maximum liability partnership (MLP) teams to keep them ever mindful that the success or failure of the team rests on each individual student to do his or her part. The original concept, the research, the artistic portrayals and the written and verbal presentations are the complete responsibility of both partners. The I-Search process will afford students the opportunity to be at once original and creative. This unit is written with the specific intention of giving 8th Grade students the opportunity to be original (take ownership) and creative, that is, enjoy a written research assignment. The I-Search allows the student to write in the first person which tends to eliminate plagiarism. For middle school age students, the elimination of plagiarism is a God send.

To ensure the flow of instruction and fold the content of this unit into the Social Studies/History Curriculum as naturally occurring or sequential, the reading assignments of textbook materials during the two weeks prior to the first week of the unit, that would ordinarily occur in order to comply with the Social Studies Curriculum Handbook, will serve to build students' background knowledge. Students will read, "U.S. Policies Toward Native Americans,"(Dorf, p.300-305); "Life in the North and the South 1789-1860,"(Dorf, p. 310-328); "Westward Expansion 1821-1853,"(Dorf, p.354-371) and, "The Road to War 1820-1861,"(Dorf, p.378-401). Assessment of these assignments will reassure the teacher(s) that students have a basic understanding of the material. Along with the reading, providing students with a concise, complete set of notes will allow students to refer back to important points they may otherwise miss. Any necessary additional instruction should be accomplished prior to commencement of the unit under discussion here.

Students' background knowledge of events leading to what would ultimately become the United States of America can now be used to make comparisons of literary accounts of these events. In the first week students will be introduced to excerpts from a selected list of speeches, personal accounts of Native Americans and former slaves as well as accounts of Mexican writers. A detailed list of: speeches, personal accounts and books is covered in the bibliography. These documents will present students with additional information about any one of the historical events toward which students may wish to direct their research. It can be ascertained by a brief perusal of Attachments A & B that students will have directions for their I-Search Proposals and a I-Search guide to lead them through their research. Student creativity will be brought into focus as each team develops an art piece or other visual illustration to support their presentations of the I-Search Paper to their peers.

By the end of the first week or the beginning of the second week student teams will have chosen their topics and begun their research. In order to find accounts for comparison from sources other than those written in their textbooks students will be referred to the words of certain Native American leaders, some Mexican leaders and several firsthand accounts from former slaves. The students will not be limited to recommended sources. However, the people and sources that will be recommended are valid for purposes of conducting comparative research. One example of differing accounts of the same historical event is that of the Battle of the Little Bighorn. It can safely be argued that the defeat of a significant U.S. Army Cavalry unit, the Seventh Infantry, by a combined force of Native American tribes was an important historical event for both Native American and the U.S. Government. One of America's Civil War heroes, George A. Custer, was killed along with over two hundred soldiers. Native Americans had proved that it was possible, however unusual the circumstances, to defeat the U.S. Army in battle. Whatever attitudes of military superiority the U.S. Army may have entertained were brought into question. And yet, the 8th Grade textbook, seven hundred seventy eight pages of print, illustrations, charts, maps and graphs only spent three paragraphs, one hundred sixty two words on the topic of the Little Bighorn. In those three short paragraphs we are told the what; who; when; where; why and how of the battle, but there is no mention of the significance of the victory for the Native Americans or the defeat for the U.S. Army. For students who choose to compare accounts of the Battle of the Little Bighorn the textbook account can be compared to accounts of the battle by Black Elk, Sitting Bull, Lone Horn or his seven-foot tall son, Touch the Clouds. Students are free to find other accounts of Little Bighorn for comparison. Students will be encouraged to pay special attention to the various styles of expression employed by the authors of the accounts they choose.

One additional and final example or opportunity for comparison of accounts involves America's encounters with Mexico. Since Texas was sparsely populated by Mexicans and eventually more densely populated by American southerners bent on spreading slavery to Mexico's northern territory, there is no need to consider the 1836 war between Texas and Mexico as being significantly different from the 1846 war between the U.S. and Mexico. The former was purportedly for the independence of Texas. The latter was purportedly the result of Mexico's invasion of U.S. territory. The account given in the 8th Grade textbook graciously spent five paragraphs, approximately two hundred sixty words to describe the, "War With Mexico...;"(Dorf, p.362 ) This textbook account or other accounts of students' choices can be compared to accounts of Mexico's wars with Texas and the U.S. as written by Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, Benito Juarez, Francisco Madero, Emiliano Zapata or several Mexican historians.

Just as it is important that students' background knowledge of the westward expansion be undertaken successfully prior to the commencement of their I-Search Projects, it is of equal importance that students develop an understanding of the tenets of the Monroe Doctrine as well as the beliefs professed by proponents of Manifest Destiny. Hence, the first objective of the first lesson plan must be an explanation of the I-Search Project. The next objective must be reading and interpreting both the Monroe Doctrine and Manifest Destiny.

While assigning an I-Search Project allows students to be at once original and creative, such projects also calls for teacher(s) to be at once counselor, facilitator and director. The teacher(s) needs to provide students with clear instructions on the content and composition of an I-Search Paper; set a timeline for step completion of students' proposals; searches and I-Search Papers and the presentations thereof. The teacher(s) must provide essential background information, information that must be common to all participating students. The teacher(s) must arrange Tech Center and Library research times. The teacher(s) must collaborate with Art Teachers to provide students with materials and directions for the art or illustration part of their presentations. The teacher(s) needs to provide ongoing guidance and assessment of students' progress or lack thereof. Using the I-Search process allows students the freedom to take a position, then, search for validation or invalidation of their position. The educational policy locally is that 7th and 8th Grade students develop their ability to take a position on an issue and write a persuasive letter, essay or speech stating and defending their position.

The following are the lesson plans for the I-Search:

WEEK 1: Day 1:

DO NOW: (Inform students of an open note quiz on Day 5.)

1. What do you know about the I-Search Process?

2. What would you like to know about the I-Search Process? (2 or 3 questions)

(Students' seating will be arranged so that teams sit side by side for the duration of the I-Search Project.)


1. Describe the I-Search Process. (Handout)

2. Explain the upcoming I-Search Project. (Students will take notes and time will be allowed for questions and answers.)


Write a minimum of a half page description of what you think you are supposed to do for the I-Search Project.

Day 2-


1. What do you know about America's westward expansion?

2. What do you think you need to know about it?


1. Share questions from Day 1's H.W. (Teacher will provide answers.)

2. Explain the I-Search Proposal. (Handout)

3. Explain I-Search timeline. (Handout)


1. Read designated excerpts of the "Monroe Doctrine." (Handout)

2. List all unfamiliar terms or phrases.

Day 3-


1. Answer a five question Pop Quiz. (Questions consist of topics addressed in the passages, not comprehension. Questions should inform teacher as to who did the reading and also inform the students about the absolute necessity of completing their H.W. assignments.)


1. Share definitions of terms and phrases from Day 2's H.W.(Students take notes.)

2. Read the "Monroe Doctrine" excerpts aloud in class and have students underline or highlight the five major points of that doctrine.


1. Answer teacher generated questions that address comprehension of the major points of the "Monroe Doctrine."

Day 4-


1. Students will copy the definitions from the chalkboard for: doctrine, manifest, destiny, context, annexation and continentalism.


1. Take notes on the importance of the roles played by the "Monroe Doctrine," and the policies of manifest destiny in America's westward expansion. ( 8-10 minutes and not more than four notes.)

2. Read the following excerpts from Wikipedia's "Manifest Destiny:" "Context and Interpretation," "Themes and Influences," "Continentalism," "Mexico and Texas," "All Mexico," and "Native Americans."


Identify the: what, who, when, where, why and how for each of the five sub-titles listed in Objective 2, where possible. (Questions listed on a handout.)

Day 5-


Briefly review the major points of the "Monroe Doctrine" along with the main ideas of the five sub-titled excerpts of "Manifest Destiny." (10 min.)


1. Administer a 15 question quiz-open notes-on the items listed in the DO NOW.


1. Write five questions you might want to research for your I-Search Project. Provide a short rationale for each of your questions.


Day 1-Students will choose their topics and select the questions they want answered.

Days 2 thru 4-Classes will visit the Library and select books from a set of books that will be set aside by the Librarian. Topics will range from Native American tribes to America's Westward Expansion to the topic of slavery. Students will be encouraged to select their books and begin the collection of information. Students will take notes and record the necessary information to cite their sources.

Day 5-Teacher and students will review the status of searches and address any changes that students want or need to make. Teacher should pay special attention to the status of students' notes and citation information and make corrections as needed.


Day 1 & 2-Students will visit the Tech Center and access the Internet and search for additional information on their topics. Students will take notes and record Internet sites for their citations of sources.

Days 3 thru 5-Students will write and edit their I-Search Papers. Teacher(s) will facilitate their writing and provide advice, suggest changes and help edit as needed.


Throughout this three-week period students will work with their various Art Teachers and Language Arts Teachers if need be.


Bial, Raymond. The Cherokee. Marshall Cavendish Corporation. 1999.

This book is important because of its explanations of who the Cherokee people were; what they believed; where they lived and their written language. This book describes the path of the first Cherokees from the northwest to ultimately settle in the southeastern United States. They were spread throughout most of Kentucky; SE Tennessee; SW North Carolina; NW South Carolina; NE Georgia and SW West Virginia and SW Virginia. The Cherokee spoke an Iroquoian language. They were the largest group subjected to the 'Trail of Tears' movement from their homeland to the Oklahoma Territory during the winter months of 1838 and 1839.Yet, they sided with the Confederacy during the Civil War in hopes of regaining their homeland. The Cherokee Nation were given a written language by a so-called mixed-blood Cherokee named Sequoyah. The Cherokee, links eastern Native Americans to the Midwest culturally and geographically and thereby provides a rich source of information for research of Native cultures.

Blaisdell, Robert. Great Speeches by Native Americans. Dover Publications, 2000.

There could be no literary comparison of U.S. history without this book. It is replete with examples of speeches by ordinary and great Native Americans. The presentation of speeches demonstrates the Native American's mastery of what was a foreign language to them. The experience of reading these speeches will provide students with examples of different ways of speaking and hopefully give students some insight into how Native Americans thought and expressed their feelings about their plight.

Brown, Dee. Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West. Henry Holt and Company. New York. 1970.

This book provides a Native American point of view on many of the battles fought between themselves and the U.S. Army on the Great Plains. The presentation of the lives of the Plains Indians in their diversity of language, customs and nomadic lifestyles is essential to any comparison of historical accounts of Native Americans and encroaching European populations. This book introduces the reader to the differences between the nomadic western natives and the settlement dwelling farmer natives of the east. This book allows the reader to contrast the vast spaces required for the nomadic buffalo hunting peoples of the plains to the relatively smaller areas of rich soil needed by their eastern counterparts. The reader will also see the difference in the dispositions of the two groups of natives. This publication will enable the reader to appreciate the initial acceptance of European newcomers. The sheer vastness of the Great Plains, in the thinking of Native Americans, should have allowed both native and new comers to coexist. However, Wounded Knee, highlights the Europeans' seeming unquenchable thirst for more and more land once the discovery of yellow metal was announced. No research of historical accounts of America would be complete without Wounded Knee.

Dorf, Linda, et al., eds. American History. Globe Fearon. Parsippany. 2003.

This work is the 8th Grade Social Studies Textbook.

Dramer, Kim. Native Americans and Black Americans. Chelsea House Publishers. Philadelphia. 1997.

This work discusses various myths employed by Europeans to justify their exploitation of Native Americans and the land. It also describes other myths that were dedicated to the creation of enmity between Native Americans and African Americans, who would otherwise have formed alliances based on their mutual interests. This work gives examples of both conflict and cooperation between African and Native Americans. The breadth and depth of relations between African and Native Americans span the ownership of slaves by Native Americans through intermarriage between the two groups.

Garbarino, Merwyn S. The Seminole. Chelsea House Publishers. New York/Philadelphia. 1997.

This publication will prove itself to be an important resource because its explanation of the risks and advantages of the location of this group in proximity to large slave populations. The term Seminole is taken from a Creek word, semanoli, which refers to runaways. The Seminoles of Florida held a great attraction for slaves of the surrounding region. Their relatively easy acceptance of runaway slaves and their fierce resistance to U.S. military intervention made the Seminole region a natural haven for fugitive slaves.

The descriptions of Seminole daily life, their beliefs and ceremonial practices and the military strategies they employed in battles with the U.S. Army as well as other Native Americans make this book important to any researcher comparing historical accounts of Native American and/or African American cultures of the 19th Century.

Greene, Meg. Slave Young Slave Long: The American Slave Experience. Lerner Publications Company. Minneapolis. 1999.

This work describes the high and low points of the lives of slaves from their arrival on North American shores through their eventual freedom. The value of this book lies in the descriptive accounts of individual slaves at every juncture of the institution of slavery. The stories of Antoney and Isabella, believed to be two of the first arrivals in the British North American colonies in 1619, and 'Antonio the negro' who married and purchased freedom for himself and his wife are compelling. The account of Hosea Bidell, who was separated from his wife of twenty-five years when their master sold her, speaks to the perpetual fear with which every slave lived. This book also discusses the suitability of slave labor to the African and the incongruity of slave labor and the Native American. Slave Young Slave Long, also sheds some light on the interpersonal relations between slave owners and their slaves.

Hurmence, Belinda. My Folks Don't Want Me To Talk About Slavery. John F. Blair, Publisher. Winston-Salem. 1984.

Contained within this work are ninety-nine pages pregnant with the first hand accounts of former slaves. As you might imagine, there are no political experts or historians among the twenty-one narratives presented. Nonetheless, the reader will find invaluable the accounts of the conditions under which slaves lived and toiled. Prior to the actual commencement of hostilities between the Union and the Confederacy every slave served a life sentence, not only of themselves, but of their subsequent generations. The sense of resignation to their pitiful plight virtually jumps off the page into the mind of the reader. Hence, one reads terms like good master. In the narrative of one, who could be an ancestor of this writer, Ria Sorrell writes, "...;when he whupped one, he didn't whup much; he was a good man."( ) Why such narrations are important should be self-evident. The reader need only consider the title to grasp their importance.

Johnson, W. Fletcher. Life of Sitting Bull and History of the Indian Wars of 1890-1899.

Edgewood Publishing Company. 1891.

This book outlines the life of Sitting Bull from his familial information through his rise to become War Chief of the Lakota Sioux Nation. Excerpts describe Sitting Bull's military genius and bravery.

Katz, William L. Black Indians. Simon & Schuster. New York. 1986.

Beginning with its description of the actual first foreign colony on North American soil, occurring in 1526 on the Pee Dee River of South Carolina, this work offers many accounts of early American history that have been deemed unacceptable by traditional historians. However, from its identification of L.Vasquez de Ayllon, the man who began the practice of black slavery in North America through Black Indians' numerous examples of early interactions between African runaways and Native peoples which began in the 16th Century this work provides an entirely different perspective on American history, especially the early relationships between Native and African Americans.

Macrorie, Ken.I-Search Paper Training Manual

The I-Search method is explained from its inception through its many various changes and uses.

Thomas, David H, et al., The Native Americans: An Illustrated History. Turner Publishing, Inc. 1993.

This anthology contains a wealth of Native American historical accounts. It is full of illustrations and photographs of various phases of Native American life. There are examples of Creation Myths from virtually every Native American culture. This book presents accounts of the first interactions between Native peoples and Europeans. It briefly addresses the first interactions of Native peoples and Africans. Some information

about every facet of Native American history and culture can be found from artists' renditions of important historical events, such as the "Trail of Tears" to the "Creation Story of the Commanche." It will prove itself an invaluable resource as a look into the lives of Native peoples whoever they were or wherever they lived in North America.

Wright, Ronald. Stolen Continents: The New World Through Indian Eyes. Houghton Mifflin Company, 1992.

This book presents features of tribal cultures of both North and South America. This work focuses on Aztec, Maya and Inca the major cultures of Central and the western and northwestern parts of South America. It focuses the reader's attention on the Iroquis and Cherokee Nations of North America. The most important contribution of this work is it clarifies the interconnectedness of the many lesser tribal groupings under the umbrella of these major cultural groups. It puts to rest the notion of a pure group implied by the term tribe. The idea that any native group descends of a single ancestor is highly questionable. However, within any tribe many previous Native American cultures are represented. An example of this multiculturalism is the Iroquois, who are representative of six separate and distinct groups: Mohawk, Oneida, Onandaga, Cayuga, Seneca and the Tuscarora. These is also evidence that many Iroquois could trace their lineage to the Huron and the Algonquin, both of which groups are thought to be the mortal enemies of the Iroquois. This work will help the reader understand that all Native American groups are somehow connected to each other, although not a monolith.

Benito Juarez


(Accessed June 10, 2009)

Black Codes


(Accessed April 8, 2009)

Black Elk Speaks: Walking The Black Road


(Accessed January 29, 2009)

Black Kettle Wanted Peace


(Accessed June 1, 2009)

"Chief Joseph:" Hin-mah-too-yah-lat-kekt (1840-1904)


(Accessed March 12, 2009)

Chief Seattle, Suquamish 1786-1866


(Accessed March 12, 2009)

Chief Sitting Bull (Tatanka Iyotake)


(Accessed April 2, 2009)

Famous Quotes by Sitting Bull


(Accessed June 3, 2009)

Family Stories from the Trail of Tears, Edited by Lorrie Montiero


Jim Crow laws


(Accessed April 8, 2009)

Legends of America: Native American Quotes

www.legendsof America.com/NA-Quotes3.html

(Accessed June 3, 2009)

List of Native American Leaders


(Accessed June 1, 2009)

Manifest Destiny


(Accessed April 2, 2009)

Manifest Destiny: An Early Agenda of Expansion


(Accessed June 19, 2009)

Manifest Destiny: A Mexican Viewpoint on the War with the United States


(Accessed June 19, 2009)

Manifest Destiny: Native American Displacement Amid U.S. Expansion


(Accessed June 19, 2009)

Monroe Doctrine; December 2 1823


(Accessed June 19, 2009)

Sitting Bull: The True Story by Christiane Whiteswan Sterne


(Accessed May 28, 2009)

Tecumseh's Speech of August 11, 1810: To Governor William Harrison, Indiana Territory


(Accessed June 1, 2009)

The Post War years: Free At Last


(Accessed March 31, 2009)

War's End: Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo


(Accessed June 19, 2009)

Young Chief Joseph Speaks


(Accessed March 12, 2009)

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Appendix A- Curriculum Standards

This unit is in agreement with New Haven's Eighth Grade Social Studies Curriculum and Connecticut's Social Studies Framework and Curriculum Standards Including Grade-Level Expectations (GLE). Standard 2-History/Social Studies Literacy: Competence in literacy, inquiry and research skills is necessary to analyze, evaluate and present history and social studies information.

Students will gather and compare information about the event of their choice from a variety of sources beginning with the list of events indicated above. Students will interpret primary and secondary sources to determine accuracy and validity. Students will analyze maps and charts to support conclusions about their choices of historical events. (Strand 2.2-Interpret information from a variety of primary and secondary sources-maps, charts, graphs, images and print materials.) Students will compose an I-Search Proposal relating their questions and expectations about the event they chose and support their findings with relevant evidence. (Strand 2.3-Create various forms of written work to demonstrate and understanding of history and social studies issues.)

Appendix B- I Search Rubric and Assessment

Name:_________________________ Date:_______ Period:___

Social Studies: The I-Search Proposal

Directions: Complete the following four steps.

Step 1. What is the topic of your research? __________________________________


Step 2. What questions do you intend to find answers for in your research? (List a minimum of three questions.)

Question 1._____________________________________________________________


Question 2.______________________________________________________________


Question 3.______________________________________________________________


Step 3. What three resources do you intend to use to complete your research? _______________________________________________________________________


Step 4. What type of illustration do you intend to create to support your presentation?



I-Search Checklist:

Directions: This sheet is your guide to conducting the research and writing the I-Search Paper.

Conducting the research:

Section 1-Presenting the Research Question

a.) Tell the reader what you hope to learn.

b.) Tell why the questions interest you.

c.) Explain why you changed questions if you did so during your research.

Section 2-Describe the Search Process

a.) How did you conduct your research? Where did you look first? Why?

b.) What surprises did you encounter in your research?

c.) Did a surprise change the way you approached your research questions? How?

Section 3-Tell What You Learned

a.) Explain what you learned about your original questions in an interesting way.

b.) Explain any additional questions that came up as a result of your research.

c.) Explain what you have learned about research from writing this paper.

Section 4-Tell what the results of your research mean to you?

a.) What are you going to do with the information you obtained in your research?

b.) How has finding this information changed you or how might it change you in

the future?

Section 5-Cite your Reference Works

a.) List your references (books, magazines, web sites, etc.) so that others can follow

up on what you have found.

b.) List bibliography in correct format, correctly alphabetized, capitalized and

punctuated. (You will be provided with sample bibliographies.)

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Assessment List For I-Search Paper


Name__________________________________ Date___________ Period:___

Points Assessment

Possible Self Teacher

Section 1: Introduction:

Presenting the Research Question (20 points)

Research question is clearly stated. 5 ___ ___

Tells the reader what you already know. 5 ___ ___

Tells the reader what you want to learn. 5 ___ ___

Tells why this question interests you. 5 ___ ___

Section 2: The Search

Describe the process (15 points)

Explains the research process used. 10 ___ ___

Includes references to sources used or unused.

Describes problems and surprises encountered

while researching. 5 ___ ___

Section 3: The Findings:

Telling what you learned (30 points)

Discuss actual research findings. The research is

focused on answering the original question.

(Explain what you learned from writing this paper). 20 ___ ___

Research findings are explained in an interesting way

And IN YOUR OWN WORDS. 10 ___ ___

Section 4: Conclusion:

Say what it means to you (10 points)

Discuss how this new knowledge has affected you.

(What does it mean to you?) 10 ___ ___

Section 5: Bibliography:

Citing reference works (10 points)

Bibliographical sources are written correctly. 5 ___ ___

You have used at least three different sources. 5 ___ ___

Section 6: Form and Editing (15 points)

Your paper is divided into four sections: Introduction,

The Search, Findings and Conclusion. 10 ___ ___

Paper reflects careful editing and you have few errors.

(Pay special attention to run-ons, sentence fragments,

and comma usage.) 5 ___ ___

TOTAL 100 ___ ___


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Appendix C


The teacher(s) can direct students' attention to maps of North America immediately after the Revolutionary War, for example, a 1790 map of the United States and the Territory of the Original Thirteen States. The teacher(s) can then have students view a series of maps of the U.S. that reflect the westward expansion from the Atlantic to the Pacific Coasts.

During these map viewings the changing boundaries of Mexico can be observed. This information is important because it will help students appreciate the scope of the expansion west. Many of the materials to which students will be referred contain maps. No separate map reading lessons need to be planned.

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