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Writing Activity for Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo

H-SS Standards:

4.3.6 Students explain the economic, social, and political life of California from the establishment of the Bear Flag Republic through the Mexican-American War, the Gold Rush and California statehood, how California became a state and how its new government differed from those during the Spanish and Mexican periods.
5.8.6 Students trace the colonization, immigration and settlement patterns of the American people from 1789 to the mid-1800's, with emphasis on the defining role of economic incentives …in terms of how and when California, Texas, Oregon and other western lands became part of the U.S….
8.5.2 Students analyze U.S. foreign policy in the early Republic, in terms of the changing boundaries and the principal relationships between the United States, its neighbors (current Mexico and Canada) and Europe, including the influence of the Monroe Doctrine, and how those relationships influenced westward expansion and the Mexican American War.
8.8.6 Students analyze the divergent paths of the American people from 1800 to the mid-1800's and the challenges they faced, with emphasis on the West, in terms of the Texas War for Independence and the Mexican-American War (i.e., territorial settlements, the aftermath of the wars and the effect on the lives of Americans, including Mexican-Americans today).
After reading and summarizing Article VIII of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, students are ready to understand its impact on people of the time. Have them decide whether they would remain in California and whether they would become a U.S. citizen or remain a Mexican and why. Have them discuss their decision and reasons with a partner. Have the groups share out and tally the decisions on the board.
To help students understand what really happened after the war in California, read aloud and discuss as a class the article What Happened to the Californios After the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.

To personalize the issue for students and cement the learning, divide the class into two sections and have them read and discuss the scenario. Students then take the role of one of the characters in the scenario and write a letter. Half the students take on the role of Miguel Montoyo and write a letter to their lawyer cousin in Vera Cruz, Mexico, and the rest of the class will write a letter from the cousin to Miguel offering advice. The letters will use the RAFT writing model

Group A

Role = Miguel Montoyo, Californio in 1851
Audience = Miguel’s lawyer cousin in Vera Cruz
Format = Letter
Topic = Asking for advice about staying in California, selling to road
builders, and dealing with squatters

Group B

The other half of the class takes on the role of the cousin in Vera Cruz and writes a letter to Miguel using the same model.

Role = Miguel’s lawyer cousin in Vera Cruz, Mexico
Audience = Miguel Montoyo, Californio in 1851
Format = Letter
Topic = Advice to Miguel Montoyo about staying in California, selling his land to road builders, and dealing with squatters