PAPER #1: MANIFEST DESTINY AND THE MEXICAN-AMERICAN WAR
How was the Mexican-American War (1846-1848) related to the idea of manifest destiny?
Your paper should summarize the topic and open with a clear and defensible thesis statement that is backed up with supporting evidence throughout the body of the paper. Your paper should end with a strong conclusion.
Your paper should discuss the following sub-topics:
1. President James K. Polk and the ideology of Manifest Destiny
a. Please describe the ideology of Manifest Destiny. Also, please discuss James K. Polks 1845
inaugural address statement on manifest destiny and the Mexican-American war:
None can fail to see the danger to our safety and future peace if Texas remains an independent state or becomes an ally or dependency of some foreign nation more powerful than herself… my duty to assert and maintain by all Constitutional means the right of the United States to that portion of our territory which lies beyond the Rocky Mountains.
[E]ighty years ago our population was confined on the west by the ridge of the Alleghanies. Within that period–within the lifetime, I might say, of some of my hearers–our people, increasing to many millions, have filled the eastern valley of the Mississippi, adventurously ascended the Missouri to its headsprings, and are already engaged in establishing the blessings of self-government in valleys of which the rivers flow to the Pacific. The world beholds the peaceful triumphs of the industry of our emigrants… The jurisdiction of our laws and the benefits of our republican institutions should be extended over them in the distant regions which they have selected for their homes.
2. The beginning of the Mexican-American war and Texas
a. Discuss why this war began. What was the connection with slavery?
3. The end of the Mexican-American war
a. What was the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo? Citizenship for former Mexican citizens? Did
this Include Native Americans?
4. Gadsden Purchase
a. Discuss what this was. Also, please discuss its effect on the Tohono Oodham tribe.
5. Racial implications of US taking present-day California, Utah, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico (but not taking over the rest of Mexico)
a. Why do you think that the US only took the northern territories of Mexico after the war? Why did the US not invade and take over all of Mexico?
Objectives for your paper include developing your skills to express your ideas clearly in writing,
interpreting and applying data from your sources, writing to persuade with evidence, effectively arguing a position, evaluating primary and secondary materials, and developing critical thinking skills.
Sourcing / Citations:
You may use sources from class, perform your own internet research, library research, and also utilize video documentaries as sources for your paper. Also, please read the paper on the Oodham listed below. Make sure to only include credible sources of information. There are many good online guides to help with this including the following from UC Berkeley: Evaluating Resources.
Additional Source: In addition to your own research and the class materials, please read the following paper:
Jeff Hendricks, Resistance and Collaboration: Oodham Responses to US Invasion, 2004 (available here)
Papers should be 6-8 pages double spaced
Papers should be well written using correct composition and grammar with minimal editing
Papers must include a works cited page using correct citation format. For history papers you will
want to use Chicago or Turabian style. Here are two links to citation guides: Chicago-Style Citation
Quick Guide; Turabian-Style Citation Quick Guide
Papers should have a minimum of 4 sources
It is also important to find a way to make readers care about and engage with what you have written. So do your best to make sure you are equally as entertaining as you are informative!