This clip from the Smithsonian Channel discusses the Trail of Tears and how it got its name.
The colonists participate in the Oklahoma Land Rush of 1889 with the hope of claiming a piece of land for themselves. This clip illustrates the transportation methods of the settlers at the time as well as the current situation: that land is up for grabs.
In this video from PBSLearningMedia, John Green teaches students about the founding father and third president of the United States, Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson is a somewhat controversial figure in American history, largely because he, like pretty much all humans, was a big bundle of contradictions. Jefferson was a slave-owner who couldn't decide if he liked slavery. He advocated for small government but expanded federal power more than either of his presidential predecessors. John explores Jefferson's election, his policies, and some of the new nation's (literally and figuratively) formative events that took place during Jefferson's presidency. In addition to all this, Napoleon drops in to sell Louisiana, John Marshall sets the course of the Supreme Court, and John Adams gets called a tiny tyrant.
**Sensitive: This resource contains material that may be sensitive for some students. Teachers should exercise discretion in evaluating whether this resource is suitable for their class.
In this video from PBSLearningMedia, John Green teaches students about the War of 1812. The War of 1812 was fought between the United States and its former colonial overlord England. John will take you through the causes of the war, tell you a little bit about the fighting itself, and get into just why the US Army couldn't manage to make any progress invading Canada. The upshot: no territory changed hands, and most of the other bones of contention were solved prior to the actual war. Although nothing much changed for the US and England, the Native Americans were the big losers. Tecumseh was killed, and the Indian tribes lost a lot of territories.
In this video from PBSLearningMedia, John Green teaches students about the Market Revolution. In the first half of the 19th century, the way people lived and worked in the United States changed drastically. At play was the classic American struggle between the Jeffersonian ideal of individuals sustaining themselves on small farms vs. the Hamiltonian vision of an economy based on manufacturing and trade. In the early 19th century, new technologies in transportation and communication helped remake the economic system of the country. Railroads and telegraphs changed the way people moved goods and information around. The Market Revolution meant that people now went somewhere to work rather than working at home. Often, that somewhere was a factory where they worked for an hourly wage rather than getting paid for the volume of goods they manufactured. This shift in the way people work has repercussions in our daily lives right down to today. Watch as John teaches you how the Market Revolution sowed the seeds of change in the way Americans thought about the roles of women, slavery, and labor rights.
In this video from PBSLearningMedia, John Green finally gets around to talking about some women's history. In the 19th Century, the United States was changing rapidly, as we noted in the recent Market Revolution and Reform Movements episodes. Things were also in a state of flux for women. The reform movements, which were in large part driven by women, gave these self-same women the idea that they could work on their own behalf, and radically improve the state of their own lives. So, while these women were working on prison reform, education reform, and abolition, they also started talking about equal rights, universal suffrage, temperance, and fair pay. Women like Susan B. Anthony, Carry Nation, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, the Grimkes, and Lucretia Mott strove tirelessly to improve a lot of American women, and it worked, eventually. John will teach you about the Christian Temperance Union, the Seneca Falls Convention, the Declaration of Sentiments, and a whole bunch of other stuff that made life better for women.
In this video from PBSLearningMedia, John Green teaches students about the Mexican-American War in the late 1840s and the expansion of the United States into the western end of North America. Famous Americans abound in this episode, including James K Polk (Young Hickory, Napoleon of the Stump), Martin Van Buren, Zachary Taylor, and Winfield Scott. You'll also learn about the California Gold Rush of 1848 and California's admission as a state, which necessitated the Compromise of 1850.
This article from Khan Academy provides an overview of Manifest Destiny. In the mid-nineteenth century, newspaper editor John O'Sullivan coined the term "manifest destiny" to describe the belief that God intended for the United States to occupy North America from Atlantic to Pacific. Students can read the article as an introduction to a lesson on expansionism prior to the Civil War and answer the questions at the end of the article as an assessment. The article can be read in a whole group setting or individually. It can be assigned through Google Classroom.
In this lesson, students research conflicting perspectives of the Mexican War. Additional resources included are a map of the United States from 1839, a recruitment poster, and several videos of first-hand accounts from the Mexican War.
In this lesson, students examine the gold nugget which began the California Gold Rush to understand the westward expansion and the idea of Manifest Destiny. This resource includes additional resources for the California Gold Rush.
This collection of photographs illustrates the westward expansion and Manifest Destiny. The images tell the story of the impact of closing the frontier on American Indians' way of life. Be sure to click "Read More" at the top of the collection to view the lesson that can be used with this collection.