School Improvement in Maryland

Lesson Seeds: The lesson seeds are ideas for the indicator/objective that can be used to build a lesson. Lesson seeds are not meant to be all-inclusive, nor are they substitutes for instruction.

Standard 1.0 Political Science

Topic A. The Foundations and Function of Government

Indicator 3. Evaluate roles and policies of the United States government regarding public policy and issues

Objective b. Evaluate regional and international perspectives regarding the formation and implementation of public policy, such as Washington's Farewell Address, Monroe Doctrine, westward expansion, sectionalism, plantation holders in the South v. the industrialists in the North

Consider teaching this objective in conjunction with 1.A.3.a, which examines the impact national interests have on the formulation of public policies.

This concept can be applied to any issue from early United States history, and is particularly well-suited to study of the sectional tensions that culminated in the Civil War. First, be sure students can explain and provide examples of the terms ideas and interests as they relate to politics and public policy. Then, teachers can have students analyze primary and secondary sources for the purpose of identifying stakeholders, political ideas, and interests related to the selected issue. If using primary sources, be sure to provide students with a variety of source materials representing each of the most important perspectives on the issue (for example, sources reflecting the ideas and interests of northerners and southerners on the tariff issue). Finally, have the students categorize the ideas and interests they have identified as regional or international.

For example, “Manifest Destiny and the Power of Perspective,” a lesson introducing students with a variety of perspectives on the Mexican War, can be found at http://www.pbs.org/kera/usmexicanwar/educators/md1_power.html. In this lesson, the students will view a series of video clips contrasting U.S., Mexican, and Native American perspectives on westward expansion and on the Mexican War; and then write an essay from one of these perspectives as a culminating activity.

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Resources for Objective 1.A.3.b:
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