Slavery, Manifest Destiny, and Secession: Our American Narrative (Part II)

Slavery, Manifest Destiny, and Secession: Our American Narrative (Part II)

Author: Kishanna Brown

Maryland Social Studies Content Standards:
2.B.2.Analyze how America continued to evolve into a society consisting of diverse cultures, customs, and traditions
a. Describe how the increased diversity of American culture resulted from immigration, settlement, and economic development in the United States
3.A.1. Use geographic tools to analyze geographic issues and problems prior to 1877
a. Use thematic maps to locate places and describe the human and physical characteristics, such as settlement patterns, migration, population density, transportation, and communication networks
3.B.1. Analyze how geographic characteristics influenced the location and development of regions in the United States prior to 1877
b. Describe how changes in transportation systems, such as roads, canals and railroads affected the expansion of trade and settlement
3.D.1. Analyze why and how people in the United States modify their natural environment and the impact of those modifications
b. Analyze the trade offs of using resources to pursue economic opportunities v. preserving the environment, such as westward movement
5.B. 1. Analyze the growth and the development of the United States
d. Evaluate Manifest Destiny and its impact on territorial expansion of the nation
5.B. 3.Evaluate westward movement in the United States before 1877
a. Explain the political, economic, and social factors that motivated people to move west
b. Describe the government strategies used to acquire territory
5.B.4.b. Analyze the consequences of the rapid settlement of California and Oregon
5.C.2.d.Explain causes and effects of the Mexican-American War
a. Explain how the cotton gin and the opening of new lands in the South and West impacted the institution of slavery
b. Analyze the advantages and disadvantages of early industrialization on the economy and society

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Vocabulary Development

Explore these words and record descriptions of what they are in your notes:

  • imperialism
  • accession
  • diplomatic
  • anarchy


The Power of Perspective

Power of Perspective Questions

Use these questions to focus your learning as you watch the video clips. Make notes on each question as you watch. You will use these notes in the upcoming classroom activity. (And of course, the questions are meant to be answered in a general way; for example, not all 19th century Americans valued exactly the same things, but there was something of a consensus generally.)


View the following Clips on the PBS.org site linked below: 


  • “Two nations’ identities: Looking forward and looking back”
  • “Mexico in the shadow of its own history”
  • “The American Indians: Protecting sacred land”
  • “Manifest Destiny and American continental expansion”



1. What are some of the major components of the idea of Manifest Destiny?

2. What did the 19th century Americans value? Where did they look for their national identity?

3. How would you describe the Mexican perspective described in the clips? What did the Mexicans most value? Where did they look for their national identity?

4. What was the Indian perspective? What did the Indians value? Where did they look for their national identity as a people?

5. Think about ways that these different perspectives may have contributed to conflicts among these peoples.

Source: PBS.org

The Land of Liberty, 1847

Full Screen

Manifest Destiny and It's Legacy

Wilmot Proviso

Close read and take notes on the following link about the Wilmot Proviso: http://www.ushistory.org/us/30a.asp.  Your notes should reflect the following information as it relates to Wilmot Proviso.

  • Author
  • Time and Place
  • Significance of Policy
  • Impact of Policy on Northerns and Southerners


Chapter 17: Manifest Destiny and It's Legacy

Full Screen

Source: American Pageant, Chapter 17