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Mississippi and the Mexican War, 1846-1848 lesson plan

OVERVIEW

As many people in the United States in the 1840s believed in the country’s Manifest Destiny — to expand from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean — many Mississippians answered the call of duty in order to achieve this American goal by volunteering for the Mexican War. In 1848, when the United States emerged from the Mexican War as victors, the border of Texas was secured and the United States also gained Mexico’s northwest territory that embraces the present states of California, Nevada, and Utah, and parts of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Wyoming.

CONNECTION TO STANDARDS

Mississippi Social Studies Framework: Competencies 1, 3 and 4.

TEACHING LEVELS

Grades 7 through 12

MATERIALS

Mississippi History Now article, “Mississippi and the Mexican War, 1846-1818”

Unlined paper

Pens/pencils

Chalk/chalkboard

Overhead/overhead transparency and pen

Notebook paper

Computer (optional)

OBJECTIVES

The student will:

Identify state and national leaders during the Mexican War.

Compose a news article about significant events during the Mexican War.

OPENING THE LESSON

The teacher will ask the students which U.S. state was an independent country before becoming a U.S. state (Texas)? The teacher will ask the students if Mississippians were involved in helping Texas achieve statehood and secure her political borders (Mexican War)? The teacher will ask the students why thousands of young men in Mississippi would volunteer to fight in the Mexican War? The teacher will tell the students that today in class they will study about the Mississippi military leaders and soldiers who earned distinction for their service during the Mexican War.

DEVELOPING THE LESSON

1.

Create an overhead transparency of the chart located at the end of this lesson plan or draw the chart on the chalkboard. Instruct students to copy the chart into their notebooks.

2.

Students should be instructed to complete the information on the chart by using the Mississippi History Now article. Students may work individually or with a partner for this activity.

3.

The teacher will ask for student volunteers to share the information that has been recorded on the student-constructed charts. The teacher will list the student responses on the chart constructed earlier on the chalkboard or an overhead transparency; this will allow students to check there charts for accuracy.

4.

The teacher will place the students in groups of three or four. Each group will be assigned or allowed to choose one of the following topics:

April 1846 ambush of American troops

President Polk’s request for war; declaration of war given on May 13, 1846

President Polk calls for military volunteers

Mississippians volunteer throughout the state – estimated at 17,000

High death rates contributed to disease

Battle of Monterrey that included Brigadier General Quitman, Colonel Davis, and the Mississippi Rifles

Battle of Buena Vista that included General Zachary Taylor, Colonel Davis, and the Mississippi Rifles

Amphibious landing near Veracruz that was led by Major General Winfield Scott

Brigadier General Quitman and the fall of Mexico City

Peace treaty at end of the Mexican War

5.

Allow the groups to conduct research on their assigned topic. After completing the research, as a group or as individual students, a news article should be composed on the assigned topic. The teacher may need to review the elements of a news story (articles should answer the questions Who, What, Where, When, Why and How?)

CONCLUDING THE LESSON

Allow the student groups to share their news articles with the class. If each individual student was assigned the news article, allow group members to share their paragraphs with their assigned group, then have the group select one of the news stories to be shared with the class.

ASSESSING STUDENT LEARNING

1.

Class participation

2.

Charts

3.

News articles

EXTENDING THE LESSON

1.

Students can construct maps of important locations during the Mexican War.

2.

Create a timeline of significant events during the Mexican War.

3.

Create a news show that includes leaders of the Mexican War as guests.

4.

Compose a news report for a specific event in the Mexican War.

5.

Create a short play or scene that might be representative of a soldier’s welcome home, by his community, from the Mexican War.

6.

Design a newspaper about events during the Mexican War as well as events in other locations throughout the world during the Mexican War.


Leaders during the Mexican War

Name

Level of Leadership Role

Mississippian
Yes/No

Contributions during the War

President James K. Polk

National

Commissioner John Slidell

General Zachary Taylor

Brigadier General John A. Quitman

Governor Albert Gallatin Brown

State

Colonel Jefferson Davis

Major General Winfield Scott

Colonel Stephen Kearny

Santa Anna

Foreign

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