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 5.0 History

Topic C. Conflict between Ideas and Institutions

Indicator 2. Analyze the emerging foreign policy of the United States

Objective d. Explain causes and effects of the Mexican-American War

The “justness” of the Mexican-American war is debated by historians today just as it was debated hotly by Americans at the time. To illustrate the nature of the controversy, first have students read President’s Polk request to Congress for a declaration of war against Mexico ( using the following focus question to guide their reading: “What reasons does President Polk give for the war?” Next, have students read the Massachusetts’s legislature’s declaration against the war ( and address the focus question: “What does the Massachusetts legislature believe is the REAL reason for the war?” Have students compare these two accounts to their textbook account and debate whether the Mexican-American War was a “just” conflict.

Resources for Objective 5.C.2.d:
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