Posted by: Ed Darrell | October 20, 2010

Manifest destiny assignment

Quick history lesson:  What is “manifest destiny?”  How does that describe the expansion of the United States, especially with the push of U.S. citizens into Mexico to settle Texas, in the colony established by Stephen F. Austin, through the Texas Revolution, the U.S. annexation of Texas, the Mexican American War in 1846-1848, the Mormon migration, and the heydays of the Santa Fe Trail and the Oregon Trail?

Westward the Course of Empire Takes Its Way, painting in the U.S. Capitol, by Emanuel Leutz, 1861

One of my favorite paintings, from the west stairwell between the second and third floors of the U.S. Capitol, House of Representatives side: "Westward the Course of Empire Takes Its Way," painting in the U.S. Capitol, by Emanuel Leutz, 1861

The text puts it succinctly:

Chief idea: Through settlement and war, the United States greatly expanded its boundaries during the mid-1800s.

The “so what?/who cares?” questions get a similarly brief-and-to-the-point answer:

Why it matters now: Actions Americans took during this period established the current borders of the 48 contiguous states.

The in-class assignment was to tell the story,  in a sentence or more if necessary, of these people, places, events and terms and phrases, with regard to expansion of the U.S. from the Jackson administration into the 1850s:

manifest destiny

Santa Fe Trail

Oregon Trail

Stephen F. Austin

Texas Revolution

the Alamo

Sam Houston

James K. Polk

Republic of California

Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo

What do you think about this little point of history?

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