Overview and Learning Objectives
This lesson is designed to get students thinking about America’s role in the world in the twenty-first century. In order to structure and clarify this topic, the teacher will begin with a class discussion that helps students to define what America’s role in the world is and what many people believe that it should be in the future. The goals for this lesson are as follows:
The students will discuss and define concepts such as the “New World Order” and nation building.
The students will formulate a list of American national interests.
The students will analyze American national interests in writing.
Prior to this lesson, the class will receive an introductory reading assignment taken from the June 29th, 2002 issue of
, “Present at the Creation: A survey of America’s world role.” The reading assignment serves as the basis for a class discussion. The teacher begins by leading a class discussion in which the students are required to develop a working definition of the following key terms: “new world order”; “nation-building” and “national interests”. Agreed upon definitions should be written on the board for students to copy. Next, the class should work together to formulate a list of what the students feel are America’s most important national interests. Answers may be quite wide-ranging so the teacher might want to focus the discussion by specifically asking the class to focus on global issues via guiding questions such as “does the United States have an interest in promoting democracy around the world?” or “is free-trade in America’s national interest?”
The class discussion should seek to generate a list of national interests that students feel are important. The students should be encouraged to discuss/explain the choices that they make. The homework assignment based on the lesson is for each student to formulate their own list of what they believe to be America’s three most important national interests. The students must explain their choices in writing.
Copies of, “Present at the Creation; A survey of America’s world role”, by Bill Emmott, The Economist, June 29th, 2002. Copies can be obtained at www.economist.com