American Expansion

Grade Range: 6-8
Resource Type(s): Reviewed Websites, Primary Sources, Lessons & Activities
Duration: 90 minutes
Date Posted: 10/11/2016

This historical investigation is aligned with the C3 Framework and is from

This inquiry is focused on the compelling question “Was American expansion abroad justified?” In other words, did the expansion of America’s global power justify the means by which lands came under control of the United States? The inquiry calls into question motives and outcomes of imperialism by considering both the positive and negative results of United States expansion abroad. Students will focus on the Age of Imperialism near the turn of the 20th century. The focus of the inquiry is the United States’ involvement in the Spanish-American War. In answering Supporting Question 1, students learn about economic, political, and social conditions in the United States in the latter half of the 19th century that promoted American expansion. As the inquiry continues with Supporting Questions 2 and 3, students explore arguments for and against imperialism with a specific focus on United States involvement in the Spanish-American War. They also explore the role of the media in America’s move toward war and the impact of military involvement in Cuba in 1898. Supporting Question 4 focuses on the results of the Spanish-American War.

National Standards

United States History Standards (Grades 5-12)

Historical Thinking Standards (Grades 5-12)

Common Core State Standards (Grades 6-8)

College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards (Grades 6-8)