Teacher Notes

Grade 11 unit 4
Late 19th Century U.S. Foreign Policy
Lesson Purpose:
To have students discover that many of the issues the United States faces today elicit the same type of political, philosophical and moral debate that has divided the country in the past.


H/SS Content Standards Grade 11:

10.4 Students analyze patterns of global change in the era of New Imperialism in at least two of the following regions or countries: Africa, Southeast Asia, China, India, Latin America, and the Philippines.

H/SS Content Standards Grade 11:

11.4 Students trace the rise of the United Sates to its role as a world power in the twentieth century.

Historical and Social Science Analysis Skills

Historical Research, Evidence, and Point of View

1. Students distinguish valid arguments from fallacious arguments in historical interpretations.

2. Students identify bias and prejudice in historical interpretations.

4. Students construct and test hypotheses; collect, evaluate, and employ information from multiple primary and secondary sources; and apply it in oral and written presentations.

Historical Interpretation

1. Students show the connections, causal and otherwise, between particular historical events and larger social, economic, and political trends and developments.

3. Students interpret past events and issues within the context in which an event unfolded rather than solely in terms of present-day norms and values.

4. Students understand the meaning, implication, and impact of historical events and recognize that events could have taken other directions.

English Language Arts Standards Grade 11:

Reading Comprehension: Students read and understand grade-level-appropriate material. They analyze the organization patterns, arguments, and positions advanced.

Writing: Students write coherent and focused texts that convey a well-defined perspective and tightly-reasoned argument. Student writing demonstrates awareness of audience and purpose and use of the states of writing process. Students write and speak with a command of standard English conventions.

Listening and Speaking: Students formulate adroit judgments about oral communication. They deliver focused and coherent presentations of their own that convey clear and distinct perspectives and solid reasoning. They incorporate gestures, tone and vocabulary tailored to audience and purpose.


The student will:

Information Literacy Skills:

Length of lesson:

Resources or materials needed:

Lesson sequence:


Have students read Rudyard Kipling White Man's Burden and conduct a discussion on the meaning and relevance of this writing in today's world. Areas of discussion might include Bosnia, Panama, Haiti, Granada and so on.
Show the selected political cartoons:
and help students discover the conditions and issues at the turn of the century that prompted the cartoons. Give students the actual request given by the Anti-imperialist League to the United States Senate in February1903
Refer students to simulated subpoena and define the problem and project.

Student Organization

Divide students into groups of four. Each group should be assigned one of the historical figures. Students should began researching the Expansionist/Anti-imperialist debate in general and their historical figure's position specifically. Assignment to the role of historical figure, reporter, Senator and futurist should wait until students have a grasp of the issues. Students on the same side of the issue but in different groups may want to consult.

Use the press conferences (one with historical figures, one with Senators) at selected intervals prior to the hearing to evaluate student progress and understanding.

Student product

Students are asked to do the following: