This lesson can be used as a 3 day lesson or less depending on if you assign the documents as homework. Introduce students to the key ideas of American imperialism by providing an overview of the impact of the Spanish-American War, annexation of Hawaii, Teddy Roosevelt's Big Stick Policy, Panama Canal, Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine, and the Open Door Policy with China. The documents include senators' speeches in favor of American expansion, a senator's speech against expansion, political cartoons that show both a positive and negative perspective, and an interview with McKinley about the annexation of the Philippines. The file also includes 4 extension documents for advanced students.
For the second day of this lesson students then used the documents to develop a claim answering the question if American imperialism is ever justified. Students find evidence to defend their claim and analyze their evidence (explain why it defends their claim). They also predict what the counter-claim will be and determine how they will rebut the counter-claim. Finally, students come up with their own essential questions that they can use during the Socratic Seminar.
For the third day of this lesson students use their documents and prepared argument to engage in a discussion of the essential question as well as the questions they developed.