by Christopher Gill

Unit Objective

This unit is part of Gilder Lehrman’s series of Common Core State Standards–based teaching resources. These units were written to enable students to understand, summarize, and analyze original texts of historical significance. Students will demonstrate this knowledge by writing summaries of selections from the original document and, by the end of the unit, articulating their understanding of the complete document by answering questions in an argumentative writing style to fulfill the Common Core State Standards. Through this step-by-step process, students will acquire the skills to analyze any primary or secondary source material.

Overview

In this unit students will develop a thorough knowledge of the text of the Monroe Doctrine and understand how this document represented a major shift in American foreign policy. Students will demonstrate learning by combining prior knowledge and outside sources to dig deeper and discover more relevant information related to the adoption and application of the Monroe Doctrine throughout United States history.

Introduction

During the second term of the Monroe administration, Secretary of State John Quincy Adams developed a foreign policy that changed America’s relationship with the world. President James Monroe unveiled what would become known as the Monroe Doctrine on December 2, 1823, during his seventh Annual Message to Congress. This doctrine established a major shift in US foreign policy regarding European imperialism in the Western Hemisphere. The adoption of the Monroe Doctrine changed American involvement in Latin America and the nature of the executive branch.

This activity can be used in most US History, US Government and Politics, or other civics classrooms. I would recommend that this lesson/unit in its current form be used in seventh through twelfth grade classes. The primary document analysis template (In His Own Words), reading analysis template (Reading Analysis: Questioning and Citing), and document comparison template (Making Connections) can be used across many grade levels, from elementary to AP classes, if adapted with different documents or appropriate curriculum-level activities.

This activity should take between three and five class periods depending on time allotted by teacher for pre-activity, curriculum-based learning, document analysis, and possible follow-up activities. If classroom time is an issue, various aspects of this unit can be used independently.

This lesson could work well in several different units of American history or civics. Themes related to the Monroe Doctrine include: foreign policy throughout US history, presidential precedents, the American and Latin American Revolutions, the early republic, American relations with Latin America throughout US history, executive authority, constitutional power, Manifest Destiny, checks and balances, interventionism v. isolationism, diplomacy, the Napoleonic Wars, the imperial presidency, and other related topics. The follow-up activity template can be used to compare and contrast foreign or domestic policies of various presidents.

Materials

Vocabulary

The students will use the Primary Document Analysis activities to locate and cite specific vocabulary from the text.

Lesson 1

Objective

Students will be using close-reading strategies to analyze the Monroe Doctrine. Students will demonstrate their understanding by “graffiting”/annotating the text; completing primary document analysis templates; participating in in-depth analysis of rhetoric and discourse, cooperative learning and document based questioning; and creating and responding to higher-order questions based on the text.

  • How does President Monroe’s Message to Congress describe American foreign policy in 1823? Cite specific evidence from the document that helps support your answer.
  • According to President Monroe, what is the position of the United States on European affairs? Cite specific evidence from the document that helps support your answer.
  • According to President Monroe, when should the United States defend itself? Cite specific evidence from the document that helps support your answer.
  • According to the Monroe Doctrine, how should the United States view new European colonies in the Western Hemisphere? Cite specific evidence from the document that helps support your answer.
  • According to President Monroe, how does the United States view European colonies that existed before 1823? Cite specific evidence from the document that helps support your answer.
  • According to President Monroe, how will the United States view the new or ongoing revolutions in Latin America? Cite specific evidence from the document that helps support your answer.
  • How does President Monroe view the relationship between Spain and the new governments of Latin America? Cite specific evidence from the document that helps support your answer.

Introduction

The teacher will tell students that they will be analyzing one of the most important primary documents in American history, the Monroe Doctrine, part of President Monroe’s Annual Message to Congress in December 1823. The teacher should discuss with the students the importance of critically analyzing the specific words and sentiments expressed directly in the document.

Materials

Procedure

  1. The teacher will have to be sure the students are appropriately prepared for this unit/lesson. They should have a good understanding of the colonial experience, European imperialism, the American Revolution, the US Constitution, the early republic, the Napoleonic Wars, the Jay Treaty, and Washington’s Farewell Address and neutrality. It would also help if students had previous knowledge of the importance of the Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and Madison administrations in setting American foreign policy.
  2. The teacher will hand out Monroe – In His Own Words (The Monroe Doctrine).
  3. The teacher will “share read” the Monroe Doctrine with the class. In a shared read, the teacher will introduce the text to the students for the first time reading the beginning aloud. After a few sentences, the teacher will ask the students to join in reading the remainder of the document in unison. The teacher will continue reading along with the students and use the proper pronunciation and intonation as a model. Using a share reading exercise ensures that students will become more familiar with the articulation and discourse of the document and helps English language learners (ELL) and struggling readers. Share reading will also help students hear, see, and read aloud the major sentiments and the point of view presented in the document prior to the close-reading exercise.
  4. The teacher will pair students based on ability level for a Think, Pair, Share based on Monroe – In His Own Words and assign each student half of the document to read and analyze.
  5. Students will “close read” the text and fill in the graphic organizers with relevant ideas, vocabulary, quotations, and meanings from their half of the document on their own.
  6. Teacher should stress the importance of critically analyzing the specific words and sentiments expressed directly in the document.
  7. After a set amount of time, students will work with their partner to begin the Pair portion of the Think, Pair, Share, discussing the parts of the text that they worked on individually.
  8. After a set amount of time, each student will present at least one piece of information their partner shared with them during the Pair portion of the Think, Pair, Share.
  9. Students and teacher should be able to present their answers on the Smartboard, ELMO, or overhead projector, and begin classroom discussions based on the Monroe – In His Own Words activity.
  10. The teacher should pose several higher-order questions based on the examples in the Objective section of this lesson and encourage a classroom discussion based on the text.

Extension

Students will read and analyze the Monroe Doctrine Reading and Map and use the information they learned to fill in the Reading Analysis: Questioning and Citing worksheet for homework. They should be informed that they will need to use their homework in the next lesson.

Lesson 2

Objective

Students will be using cooperative learning, document-based questioning, and responding to higher-order questions based on the Monroe Doctrine and outside sources. Students will also be researching the world events that helped shape American foreign policy in the early 1800s.

  • How do you think the original Monroe Doctrine was received by countries in Central and Latin America? Cite specific evidence from the text that helps support your answer.
  • How do you think the Monroe Doctrine was received by European countries? Cite specific evidence from the text that helps support your answer.
  • What relationship, if any, exists between the expansion of presidential power (the imperial presidency) and the Monroe Doctrine? Cite specific evidence from the text that helps support your answer.
  • Originally, was the purpose of the Monroe Doctrine to support Latin American Revolutions, or to create American dominance over the Western Hemisphere? Cite specific evidence from the text that helps support your answer.
  • What role does the Congress play in the Monroe Doctrine? Cite specific evidence from the text that helps support your answer.

Introduction

The second lesson will be more of a review of the information the students learned from the Monroe Doctrine in the first lesson and from their homework assignment. Students will be playing the “5WH gameand asking each other document-based questions, which will need to be answered and and supported with evidence from the text. The teacher will introduce higher-order questions (see examples in the Objective section above) and have students work in groups to answer and cite specific evidence from the document and their homework assignment.

Materials

Procedure

  1. Students will take out their copy of Monroe – In His Own Words (The Monroe Doctrine), the Monroe Doctrine Reading and Map, and Reading Analysis: Questioning and Citing, which they completed for homework. The teacher should let them know they must use all of their sources for evidence in today’s class.
  2. The teacher will set up six stations of desks in the classroom labeled Who, What, Where, Why, When, and How. The teacher will divide students into six groups based on ability level and will be sure that all groups have a relatively equal number of students. One group will be assigned to each station.
  3. The teacher will give the students in each group markers or highlighters to use for the group activity.
  4. The teacher will explain and model the instructions of the “5WH game” to the class.

Before the game

  1. Each group will share their questions, answers, and specific citations only for their specific element of 5WH (for example, the “What” group will only work on their “What” questions, answers, and citations.)
  2. Each group will decide on the three or four best questions created by the group and will use them during the game.
  3. The teacher should model an example of an acceptable question that the students can answer using evidence from the documents. This question should be basic in order for all students to cite evidence for the answer. For example: “What”: What is the name of the president who introduced the foreign policy that cut the Western Hemisphere off from European colonization? Answer: President Monroe (Evidence should clearly come from the documents used in class.)
  4. Teacher should make it clear to students that they are expected to ask more difficult questions based on the document. The question asked was merely to serve as a model.

During the game

  1. The teacher will ask the “What” group to pose their question. The other groups will have a set time to find the answer and a specific supporting citation from Monroe – In His Own Words (The Monroe Doctrine) or the Monroe Doctrine Reading and Map for full points. If a team answers correctly but cannot cite a document, other groups will have the chance to steal the points.
  2. The teacher must come up with a fair points system and keep score during the game. I suggest 2 points for the first group to answer and cite correctly and 1 point for every subsequent group that can provide a different correct answer and citation from the document(s). If groups are unable to answer the question and cite a source, the points should go to the group asking the question.
  3. Each group will get to present as many questions as possible for a specifically allotted time frame set by the teacher.
  4. After the game is completed, the teacher should pose several higher-order questions based on the examples in the Objective section of this lesson and encourage a classroom discussion based on the answers. The class should discuss at least 3 new pieces of evidence they learned during the class.

Lesson 3

Objective

The students will research how the Monroe Doctrine has been the applied and adapted by various administrations based on the circumstances they faced in office. Students will also decided if these presidential actions were justified based on the evidence collected.

  • How has the Monroe Doctrine changed US foreign policy? Cite specific examples that support your answer.
  • How has the Monroe Doctrine expanded the power of the president? Cite specific evidence from the text that helps support your answer.
  • What relationship, if any, exists between US expansion and the Monroe Doctrine?
  • Do you think different presidential administrations changed the original meaning of the Monroe Doctrine? Cite specific evidence from research or presentations that helps support your answer.
  • Which presidential application or adaptation of the Monroe Doctrine do you think was the most justified? Cite specific evidence from research or presentations that help support your answer.
  • Which presidential application or adaptation of the Monroe Doctrine do you think was the most unfair? Cite specific evidence from research or presentations that help support your answer.
  • Do you think the Monroe Doctrine should be modified to fit our contemporary world? Elaborate on why or why not using evidence from this unit.

Introduction

In this lesson students will investigate the changing nature of the Monroe Doctrine throughout US history. Students will be working in groups and will be assigned a specific president of the United States. Groups will have to research how their specific president applied or adapted the Monroe Doctrine while in office and judge if their action was justified.

Materials

Procedure

  1. The teacher will hand out the Presidential Foreign Policy and the Monroe Doctrine Chart and divide students into five relatively equal groups based on ability level.
  2. Each group will be assigned a president to research: James K. Polk, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, and Ronald Reagan.
  3. The teacher will inform the students that each president directly applied or adapted the Monroe Doctrine under very different circumstances.
  4. Students in each group will work together to research and fill in their Presidential Foreign Policy and the Monroe Doctrine Charts.
  5. After a set amount of time, students should present their answers on the Smartboard, ELMO, or overhead projector, and begin classroom discussions based on the charts.
  6. The class will discuss the similarities and differences between the application and adaption of the Monroe Doctrine through history. Students will also debate whether the actions of the presidents were justified or unjustified and cite their sources to defend their positions.
  7. The teacher should pose several higher-order questions based on the examples in the Objective section of this lesson and encourage a classroom discussion based on the answers. The class should discuss at least 3 new pieces of information and evidence they learned during the class.

Extension

Students will complete the Making Connections: Presidential Policies graphic organizer in the next class period or for homework. This will enable students to draw direct connections and disparities between various presidential administrations.

Follow-Up Activities

  • Students will analyze and compare several presidential foreign policy actions and fill in the Making Connections Graphic Organizer: Presidential Policies with relevant information from relevant primary documents.
  • Students will select a foreign policy decision made by a modern president and research and locate at least four primary documents that are related to that foreign policy decision.
  • Students will create a thesis statement for a DBQ essay and will use all of the documents from this unit to prove their thesis in a detailed DBQ essay.

Related resources

Gilder Lehrman Institute–Related Material

PRIMARY SOURCES

The Monroe Doctrine, 1823

Everett, Edward (1794-1865), The Monroe Doctrine

Underwood & Underwood, “Remember, the Monroe Doctrine will be respected as long as we have a first-class Navy,” President Roosevelt

TEACHING RESOURCES

The Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine: A Common Core Unit

Imperialism and the Spanish American War

HISTORY NOW ISSUE

The Revolutionary Age

ESSAYS

The Zimmermann Telegram and American Entry into World War I

The US and Spanish American Revolutions

The United States and the Caribbean, 1877–1920

National Expansion and Reform, 1815–1860

Empire Building

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