The Folly of Empire (Condensed Version)

Overview

Students will be introduced to a book written by John B. Judis entitled, The Folly of Empire: What George Bush Could Learn From Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson.  This book compares recent foreign policy to the foreign policies pursued by Roosevelt and Wilson.  It also covers the history of US foreign policy from Washington to the present.  By being introduced to a currently published book about history the students will gain more confidence in their ability to interpret and understand historical sources regardless of their size or subject matter.  It is hoped that with this confidence students will learn to enjoy reading for their own personal development. 

Warm-Up

Read the Introduction to The Folly of Empire: What George W. Bush Could Learn fromTheodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson.

Objectives

  • Students will be introduced to the major issues surrounding US Foreign policy at the turn of the twentieth century. 
  • Students will gain an appreciation of reading for their own personal development. 
  • Students will learn to identify the bias of an author and be able to determine if they believe in all aspects of an author’s argument. 
  • Students will gain an in-depth understanding of the history of US foreign policy. 
  • Students will learn how to analyze current events through the lenses of past events. 
  • Students will be challenged with a source they have not been exposed to. 

Indicators

Students will demonstrate an understanding of the transformation of the American economy and the changing social and political conditions in the United States in response to Imperialism around 1898.

  • Students will identify the three main justifications of US Imperialism. 
  • Students will analyze the negative and positive effects of Imperialism on US cultural identity. 
  • Students will identify the factors that lead the US to leave behind its isolationist foreign policy. 

Materials

  • Judis, John B. The Folly of Empire: What George W. Bush Could Learn from Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson.  New York: Scribner, 2004. 
  • Readings Focus Sheet (PDF)
  • Outline of Argument (PDF)

Introductory and Guided Activities:

  • Teacher will hand out worksheet, The Folly of Empire: Readings Focus Sheet to students and as a class will fill out the worksheet based on the introduction of the book.  This will model to students how to fill out the worksheet for all reading assignments from the book. 
  • After finishing the worksheet, The Folly of Empire: Readings Focus Sheet the teacher will hand out the worksheet, Outline of argument for, Folly of Empire: What George W. Bush Could Learn from Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson.  The class will determine what are the main arguments the author will make in his book based on the introduction. 

Independent Activities

  • Students will be assigned to read up to a certain amount of the book each week and to fill out the reading worksheet. 
  • Fridays throughout the unit and into the next unit, class will go through their answers from the assigned reading.  Any questions or thoughts on the reading will also be discussed at this time. 

Assessment

  • Teacher will grade the worksheets each week. 

Closure

  • At the end of each Friday the teacher will ask the students how was the reading relevant to what they were learning that week in class. 

Note:  Lesson is ongoing, however it will take 2-3 days to go through the introductory activity. 

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