Manifest Destiny represented the forward-thinking outlook of a young expanding nation, the United States. However, some of the other inhabitants of North America (specifically, the Mexicans and the Indians) saw themselves and the world around them in very different terms. In this activity, students will examine the power of the different perspectives among the Americans, the Mexicans, and the Indians. After exploring this topic through readings and video clips, students will create a comic on Manifest Destiny from the perspective of the Mexicans and Indians.
Comic brainstorming layouts (printed from Comic Life)
“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”
Discuss with students the idea of Manifest Destiny and its importance in the 19th century.
Have students read the Manifest Destiny: An Introduction.
Ask students to discuss with table members some of the differences between the 19th century US and Mexico as described in the article. They should be ready to share two after their discussion.
Go over the questions on the Power of Perspective worksheet with students before they watch the video clips. Explain to students that the clips will give them some insights into the origin of the idea of Manifest Destiny, but that the clips will also help them better understand the perspectives of the Mexicans and the Indians who lived in North America in the 19th century.
Watch the PBS videos over the projector as a class
Students will use the Power of Perspective worksheet to guide them through the videos. Have students make notes on the various questions on the worksheet in preparation for the upcoming group activity.
After students have watched the videos, have them discuss their responses to what they have learned. Focus the conversation on the differences among the Americans, Mexicans, and Indians in terms of how they looked at the world generally.
Check in each box if the student was successful or still needs more practice in each area. Comment when necessary.
Power of Perspective Worksheet Use this worksheet to focus your learning as you watch the video clips. Make notes on each question as you watch.
What are some of the major components of the idea of Manifest Destiny?
What did the 19th century Americans value? Where did they look for their national identity?
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?
What was the Native American perspective? What did the Native Americans value? Where did they look for their national identity as a people?
Think about ways that these different perspectives may have contributed to conflicts among these peoples.
Power of Perspective Comic The purpose of making this comic is to portray the perspectives of the Americans vs. the Native Americans or Mexicans in relationship to the American idea of Manifest Destiny. Use what you have learned from watching the videos and discussion in class and refer to your Power of Perspectives worksheet for specific examples.
With your table mate, choose to write about the varying perspectives of the Americans vs. the Native Americans or the Americans vs. the Mexicans in relationship to Manifest Destiny.
Pick up a comic brainstorming worksheet and decide on the type of layout that you would like to write your comic in.
On your brainstorming worksheet, write out what is going to happen in each square. Remember, when you are actually designing this in Comic Life, you will be using a pre-saved picture of an American, Native American, and Mexican and using speech bubbles. You may choose to have both people in one comic box, or just one. The purpose of this brainstorming worksheet is to determine “who” is going to be in each box, and what will be said in the speech bubble(s).
Check out a computer from the laptop cart and open up Comic Life.