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.