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HIST212: Introduction to United States History - Reconstruction to the Present

Unit 3: Expanding Frontiers   American explorers and settlers had pushed steadily westward across the North American continent since the earliest days of the Republic. In the process, they displaced many Native-American inhabitants, often through coercion and violence. After the end of the Civil War, the U.S. Government took an active role in promoting settlement of the Trans-Mississippi West and suppressing Native-American resistance through military force. In this unit, we will take a look at how Americans settled the West and examine their encounters with Native-American inhabitants across the western frontier. 
 
We will then learn that, at the end of the nineteenth century, many Americans turned their attention from the western frontier to the international frontier. A short and successful war with Spain in 1898 led to the U.S. occupation of Cuba and the Philippine Islands. The U.S. also began to flex its military might elsewhere in Latin America and across the Pacific Ocean. We will examine how America emerged as a world power by the early twentieth century and explore the parallels between western settlement and international expansion. 

Unit 3 Time Advisory
Completing this unit should take you approximately 12 hours.

☐    Subunit 3.1: 5 hours

☐    Subunit 3.2: 5.5 hours

☐    Unit 3 Assessment: 1.5 hours

Unit3 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:

  • compare and contrast American settlement of the trans-Mississippi West in the post-Civil War era with American economic expansion into Latin America and the Pacific Ocean in the late nineteenth century;
  • define the term “imperialism” and analyze its impact on American foreign policy in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century; and
  • analyze and interpret primary source documents from the nineteenth century, using historical research methods.

  • Reading: America.gov’s Outline of U.S. History: “Chapter 8: Growth and Transformation” Link: America.gov’s Outline of U.S. History“Chapter 8: Growth and Transformation” (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Scroll down about half-way until you find the section “The Last Frontier.” Read the final five sections of the webpage beginning with “The Last Frontier.”
     
    Note on the Text: This chapter from America.gov’s Outline of U.S. History focuses on the economic, social, and cultural consequences of America’s westward expansion during the second-half of the nineteenth century and its growing international ambitions. It discusses the economic development of western lands and the gradual displacement of Native Americans. It concludes by discussing America’s growing involvement in international affairs and the nation’s various military and political efforts to establish economic and political influence in Latin and South American and across the Pacific Ocean.

    Reading this chapter should take approximately 30 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: The material above is available in the public domain. 

3.1 The American West   3.1.1 Developing the West: Big Government and Big Business   Note: This topic is also covered by the video at the beginning of Unit 1.

  • Web Media: University of California College Prep’s US History Course: “Unit 6: New Frontiers, Chapter 14: Changing Landscape, Lesson 42 – Focus on the West” Presentation Link: University of California College Prep’s US History Course: “Unit 6: New Frontiers, Chapter 14: Changing Landscape, Lesson 42 - Focus on the West” Presentation (Flash)
     
    Instructions: To access the video, click on “Start Lesson.” Then, watch all three sections of the video presentation. Read the accompanying text for each section.
     
    Note on the Media: This presentation focuses on western exploration and settlement in the post-Civil War era. It focuses on the role played by the federal government and powerful private industries, such as railroads and mining companies, in fostering western development.

    Reading the text and watching the video presentation should take approximately 1 hour. 
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: Sage American History: Henry J. Sage’s “The Gilded Age in America: The Industrial Revolution in America” Link: Sage American History: Henry J. Sage’s “The Gilded Age in America: The Industrial Revolution in America” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read all of the sections down to the subheading, “The Industrial Revolution in America.” These sections discuss the railroad’s impact on the settlement of the American West and on Native Americans, and covers material in sections 3.1.2 and 3.1.3 below.

    Reading these sections should take approximately 15 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

3.1.2 Indian Wars and Cultural Genocide   - Web Media: University of California College Prep’s US History Course: “Unit 6: New Frontiers, Chapter 14: Changing Landscape, Lesson 43 – Confrontations with Native Americans” Presentation Link: University of California College Prep’s US History Course: “Unit 6: New Frontiers, Chapter 14: Changing Landscape, Lesson 43 - Confrontations with Native Americans” Presentation (Flash)
 
Instructions: Click on “Start Lesson” to launch the video. Then, watch all three sections of the video presentation and read the accompanying text for each section.
 
Note on the Media: This presentation focuses on the impact of American expansion into the trans-Mississippi West on Native American inhabitants. It discusses the evolving legal and social relationship between the federal government and native tribes during the nineteenth century. It also focuses on the consequences of efforts by federal government agents and the military to forcibly pacify tribes in the 1870s and 1880s and move them on to reservations.  

 Reading this text and watching the video should take approximately
1 hour and 15 minutes.   
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

3.1.3 Ranching, Farming, and Industry   - Web Media: University of California College Prep’s US History Course: “Unit 6: New Frontiers, Chapter 14: Changing Landscape, Lesson 44—Cattle, Frontiers, and Farming” Presentation Link: University of California College Prep’s US History Course: “Unit 6: New Frontiers, Chapter 14: Changing Landscape, Lesson 44—Cattle, Frontiers, and Farming” Presentation (Adobe Flash)
 
Instructions: Click on “Start Lesson” to launch the video. Then, watch all three sections of the video presentation and read the accompanying text for each section.
 
Note on the Media: This presentation focuses on agriculture in the American West. It discusses the development of a ranching industry in the West and the role that railroads played in transporting cattle to markets in the East. It also discusses the challenges that pioneers faced as they began to establish farms on the Great Plains and in the Far West.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

3.1.4 Ethnic and Racial Tensions in the West   - Reading: Making of America: Proceedings of the California Senate’s “Chinese Immigration: the Social, Moral, and Political Effects of Chinese Immigration” Link: Making of America: Proceedings of the California Senate’s “Chinese Immigration: the Social, Moral, and Political Effects of Chinese Immigration” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Read pages 3-35 of these proceedings of the California State Senate in 1876, which conducted an inquiry regarding the impact of Chinese immigration on the state of California. Chinese immigrants played a key role in the construction of railroads in the American West. San Francisco was the port of entry for many Chinese immigrants into the United States. The testimony of these witnesses in this inquiry reveals the conditions which Chinese immigrants faced, as well as the hostility and prejudice of white Americans. Based on this testimony and the questions by the legislators, what were the major concerns of the American public with Chinese immigration?

 Reading over these Senate proceedings should take approximately 1
hour and 15 minutes.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

3.1.5 End of an Era   - Web Media: University of California College Prep’s US History Course: “Unit 6: New Frontiers, Chapter 14: Changing Landscape, Lesson 45—End of the Frontier” Presentation Link: University of California College Prep’s US History Course: ** “Unit 6: New Frontiers, Chapter 14: Changing Landscape, Lesson 45—End of the Frontier” Presentation (Flash)
 
Instructions: Click on “Start Lesson” to launch the video. Focus on topics two (“The Frontier Passes into History) and three (“Farming Becomes a Business”) in the video presentation. Read the accompanying text for both sections. 
 
Note on the Media: Sections two and three of the presentation discuss how the closing of America’s western frontier at the end of the nineteenth century affected the nation. Parts of the west soon began to look more like developed areas of the East. This change had a significant psychological impact on Americans who had always thought of the West as a vast untamed region.

 Reading this text and watching the video should take approximately
1 hour.   
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.
  • Reading: The University of Virginia, Department of English: Michael W. Kidd’s version of Frederick Jackson Turner’s The Frontier in American History: “Chapter 1: The Significance of the Frontier in American History” Link: The University of Virginia, Department of English: Michael W. Kidd’s version of Frederick Jackson Turner’s The Frontier in American History: “Chapter 1: The Significance of the Frontier in American History” (PDF)
     
    Also available in:
    Google Books

    Kindle ($1.00)
     
    Instructions: Read chapter 1 of Turner’s “The Frontier in American History”. 
     
    Note on the Text: Historian Frederick Jackson Turner originally presented the essay that appears in Chapter 1 of his book to a meeting of fellow historians in the summer of 1893. In this essay, he argues that the frontier (as both a real location and a concept) played a critical role in shaping American identity in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Modern historians have challenged elements of Turner’s “Frontier Thesis,” but his views demonstrate how important the frontier was for many Americans in the late nineteenth century. After reading this document consider the following questions: According to Turner, how did westward expansion influence American history? How did this movement shape American political institutions? How did this movement help mold Americans’ national character?

    Reading this chapter should take approximately 1 hour.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

3.2 American Imperialism   - Lecture: YouTube: The Saylor Foundation’s “The Spanish-American War and American Imperialism” Link: YouTube: The Saylor Foundation’s “The Spanish-American War and American Imperialism (YouTube)

 Instructions: Watch this lecture, which discusses the causes of the
Spanish American War of 1898 and focuses on the consequences of the
conflict for the United States.  

 Watching this lecture should take approximately 15 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: This work is licensed under a [Creative Commons
Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported
License](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/).

3.2.1 The Spanish-American War   Note: This topic is also covered by the video at the beginning of Unit 1.

  • Web Media: University of California College Prep’s US History Course: “Unit 6: New Frontiers, Chapter 18: Imperialism, Lesson 54—McKinley and Roosevelt” Presentation Link: University of California College Prep’s US History Course: “Unit 6: New Frontiers, Chapter 18: Imperialism, Lesson 54—McKinley and Roosevelt” Presentation (Flash)
     
    Instructions: Click on “Start Lesson” to launch the video. Then, focus on topics 2. (“Spanish-American War”), 3. (“Panama Canal”), and 4. (“Roosevelt Corollary”) in the video presentation. Read the accompanying text for each section. 
     
    Note on the Media: This presentation focuses on the roles that President William McKinley and President Theodore Roosevelt played in America’s growing involvement in the international community at the beginning of the twentieth century. Under McKinley, the United States went to war against Spain and acquired overseas territories in the Caribbean and the Pacific. Roosevelt believed that America should act as a policeman for the nations of the Western Hemisphere and use political and military coercion to ensure that the developing nations of Latin and South American had good government and a positive attitude towards American businesses.

    Reading the text and watching the video should take approximately 1 hour.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: America.gov’s Outline of American History: Chapter 8, “Growth and Transformation” Link: America.gov’s Outline of American History: Chapter 8, “Growth and Transformation (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Read the section of the article beginning with the subheading “Ambivalent Empire.” Read this section in its entirety. Note that this article focuses on the sources and impact of American expansionism in the late nineteenth century, from the purchase of Alaska from Russia, the causes and consequences of the Spanish-American War, conflicts in Asia, and the impetus for the Panama Canal. Note that this article covers topics in subunits 3.2.1-3.2.3.

    Reading this chapter should take approximately 20 minutes.

    Terms of Use: The material above is available in the public domain. 

3.2.2 The Philippine Occupation   Note: This topic is also covered by the video at the beginning of Unit 1.

  • Reading: Fordham University’s Modern History Sourcebook: Paul Halsall’s version of the American Anti-Imperialist League’s “Platform of the American Anti-Imperialist League” Link: Fordham University’s Modern History Sourcebook: Paul Halsall’s version of the American Anti-Imperialist League’s “Platform of the American Anti-imperialist League” (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Read this document, which presents the 1899 platform of the American Anti-Imperialist League. The League opposed America’s growing military and political involvement in the affairs of other countries and argued against annexation of the Philippines. They argued that imperialism was un-American and violated America’s fundamental political values. After reading this document, consider the following questions: What arguments do the authors of this platform employ to urge Americans to support the independence of the Philippines? To what historical events in American history do these authors refer in this  platform and why would these events be relevant to the situation in 1899? How did the Anti-Imperialist League differ from the Isolationist America First Committee before World War II (see section 6.3.2)?

    Reading this document should take approximately 20 minutes.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

3.2.3 Theodore Roosevelt and American Internationalism   Note: This topic is also covered by the video at the beginning of Unit 1.

  • Reading: Classic Liberal: Thomas E. Woods’ “Theodore Roosevelt and the Modern Presidency” Link: Classic Liberal: Thomas E. Woods’ “Theodore Roosevelt and the Modern Presidency” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read this article. Note that the above article provides an overview of the administration of the 26th president. 

    Reading this article should take approximately 1 hour.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

Unit 3 Assessment   - Assessment: The Saylor Foundation’s “Expanding Frontiers” Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “Expanding Frontiers” (PDF)

 Instructions: Complete this written assessment. When you are
finished, check your work against this [“Guide to
Responding”](http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Assessment-Unit-3-Guide-to-Responding.pdf) (PDF).  

 Completing this assessment should take approximately 1 hour and 30
minutes.