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Discussion Essay # 2 Prompt –Manifest Destiny and Imperial Expansion and the Export Age
A two-part discussion essay to be posted in the Discussion Board by this title (Due date in announcement)
After having seen and taken notes on our lectures, readings, films and podcasts from Manifest Destiny through Imperial Expansion and the Export Age (all parts) (Chasteen’s Born in Blood and Fire through ch. 7 “Neocolonialism”, my articles “The U.S. and Latin America Since the end of the 19th Century through p. 8 and “The Monroe Doctrine,” Wood & Alexander’s Problems in Modern Latin American History, and our film “To Conquer or Redeem: Manifest Destiny” and films on Native Peoples), write a two-part essay in which you address the following:
Part I: Film analysis. Write a well-developed short essay in which you analyze one important theme, or one central idea from “To Conquer or Redeem: Manifest Destiny.” Describe that issue in detail, and provide us with historical context from our lectures and readings from Chasteen, our Wood and Alexander, our articles and the portions of American Yawp (Links to an external site.) we’ve read (see syllabus).
Clipped below are some of the themes this film deals with (full, detailed study guide in Canvas right below the film link). This is a GC library film through Films on Demand, linked in Canvas- see our weekly modules. I have troubleshooting guide along with Library staff contacts in Canvas.
You have the detailed study guide in Canvas right below the film link, below are just a few examples: The role of violence; U.S. territorial expansion westward, and how that impacts specific U.S. native peoples, Mexico (how the U.S. comes to take half of Mexico and today’s southwest), Hawaii and the Philippines; How U.S. policymakers at the time rationalize the contradiction between empire and democracy (how democracies justify the taking of the territories of others by force); US Economic Collapse, Expansion, and subsequent search for new “frontiers” abroad; Alfred Thayer Mahan and the expansion of U.S. political and military power abroad; Cuban Independence movement, the role of the U.S. media and U.S. imperialism in Cuba and Puerto Rico; the Panama canal, expansion of U.S. economic and military power and the Sea Lanes of Communication and Transportation (SLOCTs); “Benevolent Assimilation”, Ideology, Race, Christianity and U.S. colonization of the Philippines (and consequences on Filipinos)
Length of Part I: about one to two well developed paragraphs with specific examples.
Part II: Document/Primary Source Analysis. After having read all of our materials on this important topic and all of our primary sources, write a well-developed short essay in which you analyze the importance of one of the following primary sources or scholarly accounts (some are from Wood and Alexander’s Problems in Modern Latin American History, some are from “American Yawp”- all are in Canvas).
*“Neocolonial Ideologies” by Bradford Burns (scholarly account in Wood & Alexander, pp. 133-138)
*“The Specter of Degeneration” by Martin Stabb (scholarly account in Wood & Alexander, pp. 144-147)
*Frederick Jackson Turner “The Significance of the Frontier in American History” (1893, Primary Source in Canvas) See films, lecture notes & “American Yawp” for context
*Chief Joseph on Indian Affairs (1877, 1879) Primary Source in Canvas; See “American Yawp” ch. 17 for context
*Podcast “Constitutional”, episode “Ancestry (Links to an external site.),” on 1879 Court Case, Chief Standing Bear and the status of Native Peoples under the U.S. Constitution (Scholarly account in Canvas. See “American Yawp”, ch. 17 for context)
*Statements of U.S. Foreign Policy: “The Monroe Doctrine,” and “The Roosevelt Corollary” (both, these are short primary sources in Wood & Alexander pp. 239-241; see my articles for context)
*“Visual Source: Barbershop” (Wood & Alexander pp. 156-157) and one other political cartoon from my Powerpoint on Imperial Expansion Parts 2 and 3. See my articles for context
After having read them all, discuss all of the following about the document or primary source you’ve chosen to analyze (you’ve read them all and are analyzing one document for your essay and commenting on two different ones for your short response essays):
a) Tell us all about the document that you’ve chosen. Is it a primary source (an eyewitness account), or a secondary source (a scholarly interpretation)? This is important to know. If yours is a primary source, tell us: who wrote it? to whom? when? why? what was its purpose? If it is a scholarly account, discuss the contributions of this article to our understanding of the Americas.
b) Provide historical context from our lectures, films, and the rest of our readings- i.e. tell us the history behind the primary source or document. What has happened in the region and what is going on at the time this primary source is produced? If it is a scholarly account, discuss the historical context for your document.
c) Analysis. Primary sources are valuable for us, but we also need to ask questions about them. What kind of language does it use? Who is the audience? What are some assumptions the author makes (like the assumption of “free land” in O’Sullivan’s “Manifest Destiny)
d) Conclusions: What contributions does your primary source or document make to our understanding of the history of the modern Americas?
Length of Part II: two well-developed paragraphs with specific examples
Length of the whole essay (both parts): three to four well developed paragraphs
Submit both parts together to the Discussion Board in Canvas (just label each part: Part I, Part II).
Write your essay in a word processing program so you can always save a copy. Save it on your computer as “DBEssay1_Yourname_Hist115” or something similar and save a copy on a Cloud service like Google Drive or Dropbox in case. After you’ve proofread it and spell-checked it (this is formal writing- please no “text-ese” and capitalize when appropriate), select all of your text, “copy” it, and post it in the appropriate Discussion Board. (Use a 12 pt font). Discussion Forums do not accept attachments so that everyone can read each other’s essays seamlessly without downloading files.
Response to two of your classmates’ posts/insights. You are also required to respond to at least two other student’s posts (see the due date for that one). One can be from a film or primary source you also wrote about and the second should be on a different document you didn’t write about in your original post. You can amplify on a point made, raise a related point, discuss the issue in relation to other documents, agree or disagree with supporting evidence (in a constructive way), and/or raise new informed questions that we should all think about. One well-developed paragraph per response.
Format/Works cited: Because you’re using our films, our books and our documents, just cite which ones you’re using: which film; which book (with page number); and which document (from which book and what page). No need for a separate ‘works cited’ page here.
Please feel free to Zoom in to our office hours- I can answer any questions and/or clarify anything.
See our grading rubric in our syllabus and let me know if you have any questions (early, not right before it’s due please)
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