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Spanish-American War

Beyond Manifest Destiny: America Enters the Age of Imperialism

Fourth edition.

Overview

The jarring economic, technological, and social changes of the late 1890s compelled people in the United States to reexamine their national identity and their country's role in the world. In the long term, war against Spain was one in a series of steps that led to an ever-increasing international role for the United States. Students recreate the public debate in the United States over what to do with Spain's former colonies in a simulation set in the fall of 1898. By weighing the values underlying the policy choices at the end of the nineteenth century, students gain a better understanding of the historical context of our country's current interactions with nations abroad.

Readings

The readings provide an overview of the economic, social, and political forces transforming the United States at the end of the 19th century within the context of the Age of Imperialism. As well as analyze the events that led to the Spanish-American War and recounts the military action in the Caribbean and the Philippines. An epilogue weighs the causes and consequences of the Filipino insurrection and assesses America's record as an imperialist power.

The Choices Role Play

Working cooperatively to advocate for one of the three policy options the United States considered regarding the Senate's vote on the Treaty of Paris of, students draw upon primary sources and take into consideration the views of fictional townspeople to recreate this critical moment in history. By exploring the spectrum of alternatives considered at the time, students gain a deeper understanding of the competing values and assumptions that framed the debate on U.S. policy at the end of the 19th century.

Lessons

America and the World in the 1890s
Students use primary sources to analyze the impact of late nineteenth century immigration on the U.S. national character and assess the forces contributing to the evolving U.S. self-image.

The African-American Community in the Age of Imperialism
Students explore the attitudes of the contemporary African-American community toward imperialism, racism, and the contributions of black soldiers

Identifying Values
Students read selections from the speeches of Theodore Roosevelt in order to analyze how the values of the 1890s shaped the policy decisions of the era.

Role-Playing the Three Options

Working cooperatively, student advocate for one of the three options the United States considered toward Spain's former colonies. Students draw upon primary sources and take into consideration the views of fictional townspeople to recreate this critical moment in history.

Critiquing "The White Man's Burden"
Students identify the main values expressed in Kipling's "The White Man's Burden" and several of the rebuttals against it, and investigate the relationship between poetic technique and political message.

Remembering the Maine
Students assess the political context surrounding the sinking of the Maine and weigh how new evidence should affect the historical narrative.

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