In the 1840s American settlers began moving west in larger numbers and faster than ever before. President James K. Polk was at the center of this rapid expansion west. During his four years in office new territory in Texas, Oregon, and the southwest was brought into the country. This expansion was fueled by Manifest Destiny, which was the growing religious and cultural notion that it was God's will for the United States to expand across the continent.
Students will decide the following question:
Should James K. Polk be remembered as an aggressive President who intentionally used war to take land from Mexico?
Students will read both perspectives and choose a side to defend. They will then write a four key points from each perspective on the debate organizer. Once the debate organizer is completed all students will debate the topic and a winning side will be chosen. This assignment also includes a grading rubric.