Manifest Destiny
A God-Given Right for a Chosen People in the America's?

created by Alfred Porras, Jr.

The growth of the United States throughout the 19th century brought together the Woodlands of the northeast, the Prairies of the Great Plains, the deserts of the southwest and the Everglades of the southeast. All this, a region unexplored and unfamiliar to the newly arriving European Immigrants. Looking to establish their families in this new found land, they came west. What they found was not an empty, barren and uninhabited land, but a land already inhabited and like no other ever seen before. Despite this these immigrants claimed this land as their own without any regard for those who had inhabited the land before them. This was done on the basis of something called Manifest Destiny. The belief that they had a God-given right to take the lands from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans and from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego in Chile.

The Task

The United States was established and continues to function on this foundation. Your teacher has assigned you a role as either Native Americans, Pioneers, Soldiers or Congressmen. Assume the role of this character living during the late 19th century. Use the links provided here to explore the role of your character played in Manifest Destiny.
 

  • Investigate the role of your character in Manifest Destiny.
  • What drove them to do the things they did and said?
  • How did they affect U.S. Policy?

Government Representatives

Your job is to explain the government's role in Manifest Destiny.

1) You must research the following questions using the links provided below.
 

  • Why did the government open up the West to settlers?
  • How does the government lead the "charge" to open up the west?
  • How is each state affected?
  • How does this concern the U.S. representatives?
  • How do they see their role in the U.S. Expansion?
  • How do they act on it?

2) Write a two page typed presentation that answers these questions.
3) Draw a poster that illustrates the point of view to the answers of these questions.

LINKS

Native American Documents Project - Published Reports
Manifest Destiny

Military

Your job is to explain your role in Manifest Destiny.

1) You must research the following questions using the links provided below.
 

  • Why are they in the West?
  • What do the soldiers expect before going?
  • How do their views differ from the generals?
  • What do they encounter?

2) Write a two page typed presentation that answers these questions.
3) Draw a poster that illustrates the point of view to the answers of these questions.

Links

Indian Wars
Native American Documents Project - Rogue River War and Siletz Reservation
 

Pioneers

Your job is to explain your role in Manifest Destiny.

1) You must research the following questions using the links provided below.
 

  • Why are they in the West?
  • What do they expect before going?
  • What types of things did they encounter during this journey?
  • When they arrive at their destination what do they encounter?

2) Write a two page typed presentation that answers these questions.
3) Draw a poster that illustrates the point of view to the answers of these questions.

LINKS

Early American Pioneers Held Captive or Killed by Indians
Looking Back Down an Old Trail: Through the Eyes of a Pioneer
Miners #1
Miners #2
Miners #3
Miners #4
Cattlemen #1
Cattlemen #2
Cattlemen #3
Homesteaders #1
Homesteaders #2
Homesteaders #3
 

Native Americans

Your job is to explain your role in Manifest Destiny.
 
1) You must research the following questions using the links provided below.
 

  • How did they see the coming of the white man?
  • How were the white man's views different from the Native American's?
  • How were they affected by the White man?

2) Write a two page typed presentation that answers these questions.
3) Draw a poster that illustrates the point of view to the answers of these questions.

LINKS

Indigenous People's Literature - Site Contents
Native Americans: Weapons of Mass Destruction - 5 parts

Presentation of Material Researched

  • Read Manifest Destiny
  • Teacher will have each group make their presentation
  • Class will discuss presentations.
  • Teacher establishes two groups of "PRO and "CON" of Manifest Destiny based on what students believe is true.

  •  

Debate

The debate will follow the process described below.

  • 15 minutes will be given to each group to establish their 10 arguments.
  • Teacher flips a coin to establish the first group to speak.
  • First group gives their first point and defends it to the counter point given by the other group.
  • Second group gives their first point and defends it to the counter point given by the other group.
  • Repeat the last two steps until all points that students have established are debated.

Final Project

Each student writes a ONE page paper to show his/her understanding of Manifest Destiny.

  • TOPIC: Based on what you have read and discussed in class, how would you characterize Manifest Destiny and support this with examples.
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