U.S. History – Week 21 – Jan.28-Mar.01


This week we begin the first of three units on U.S. Foreign Policy by exploring our policies from the Declaration of Independence in 1776 to the Spanish-American War in 1898.  The second foreign policy unit will deal with the two World Wars and the third and final unit will explore the Cold War, Post-Cold War, and Contemporary era.  At the end of the semester, students will be asked to write an essay in response to the following questions…

If the U.S. was a person, what sort of person has he/she been?  How has the U.S. treated other nations in the past?  Did the U.S. treat other nations the same or differently?  And most importantly, what motivated the U.S. to take the actions it took? What beliefs and values, historical resentments, internal politics, and national interests drove the U.S. to take the actions it took?  Was U.S. Foreign Policy driven by the same motivations throughout its history or has it evolved and changed over time?  Finally, students will be asked to express their opinion on the motivations that SHOULD drive U.S. Foreign Policy in the future.

As you can see, these are important but very difficult questions to answer.   There are no right or wrong answers with questions as large as this.  As a result students’ grades will not be determined by the arguments they make, but rather on their ability to back up their arguments with ample evidence and examples.  That is the goal of each of our historical investigations we will undertake.  After each investigation, students will be asked to revisit their Foreign Policy Google Docs to add new insights, evidence, and examples and to rethink their initial assumptions and arguments and modify if appropriate.

The essay will be written as an extended editorial and will represent the students best academic writing.  This will be the sort of writing that will be useful to college applications in the future.  Students are encouraged to write as much as possible ahead of time, but they must integrate evidence and examples from each of the three eras we will study.

What did we do in class today?


We began our first historical investigation.  Students were asked to use ONE of the following resources to learn more about our first event – the Sullivan-Clinton Campaign (a.k.a. The Sullivan Expedition) by completing a 6W’s Outline (Directions also posted below)


Students finished work on their 6W’s Outline and submitted for grading.  The outline should be posted on your FP Google Doc or handed into me in class.


Students will conduct our second historical investigation on Indian Removal and the Trail of Tears.  Students will read the article ‘Blankets for the Dead’ (PDF) and complete the Cherokee Removal Assignment (CherokeeRemoval Handout).  This assignment is due by the end of class.


We will debrief both the Sullivan-Clinton Campaign and the Trail of Tears

Next Week

We will finish debriefing the Trail of Tears and then explore the final battle of the American Indian War by watching the HBO film, ‘Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee’.

Additional Resources

6 W’s Outline Directions

The 6 W’s

Outline Directions


As you learn more about this period of time, either through reading or film, keep track of the important details by using the amazing 6 W’s!!!


REMEMBER – these are meant to be YOUR notes – IN YOUR OWN WORDS!  Do not copy and paste from other sources or you will earn a zero and possible disciplinary action.



This should be a thorough list with brief descriptions of who the key groups of people were who influenced events during this time period.  Try to include groups other than MR.WASPS.  For example, you may consider groups based on ethnicity, religion, race, gender, social status, income level, sexual orientation, region, age, ability, language, etc. etc.



This should be a brief description of what happened.  Please, save your explanation of these events for later.



This should be a brief listing of key events and it can be combined with the WHAT question above.  Events should be discussed in chronological order.  Remember to focus on the BIG events – this is not meant to be a play by play of every event. No more than 5 events.



This should be a description of where the events took place along with two maps.  One map should show where the events took place in relation to the United States or Western Hemisphere.  The second map should show where events took place within the particular state or territory.



The first why should be a description of why the events unfolded the way they did?  Keep the Harwood History Department’s Enduring Understanding # 2 in mind – Students will understand that a variety of forces, both human and non-human, shape historical events.  Try to identify which human causes had the greatest impact on how events played out, and which non-human causes had the greatest impact. (e.g. geography, economics, climate, culture, etc).

Also, keep in mind History Department’s Enduring Understanding #1 – Students will understand that historical events are experienced, recorded, and interpreted differently by individuals with different perspectives that influence their perception of the event(s).  Try to identify the debates that exist about the causes of these events and explain the different perspectives from each side of the debate.  Try to discuss why different people may have different opinions about the causes of an event before giving your opinion on whose belief you think is the more truthful account.  Be sure to provide evidence and examples to back up your claims.



The second why is why do we study this event?  What is the significance of this event and what lessons can it teach us that might help us make better decisions in the future.  What connections can you make between this past event and current events?  What can knowledge of this event tell us about one of our 11 Big Issues?