The goal of the Argumentative Essay is to examine a number of primary sources and make a well-reasoned argument based on those sources. The subject for Fall 2018 is Westward Expansion/Manifest Destiny and how it affected US citizens, Native Americans, Hispanic communities, Chinese laborers, and slavery. In order to do well on the essay, make sure to take lecture notes on these topics and you can reference the textbook. Once you have an overview of the general ideas and concerns regarding Westward Expansion and Manifest Destiny, examine the corresponding primary sources I have placed in the Essay sub-module. Use those sources to argue your perspective of US policy and the impacts of migration.
Here are some questions you should argue when writing your essay:
1) What were some of the reasons US citizens were moving west? How did many make their livings out West? Why? Give examples.
2) Explain some of the issues caused by Westward Expansion and how they arose? Give examples from the sources.
3) How did the US government and American settlers represent their westward movement and settlement in the sources? What images and ideas were depicted and how?
4) How were Native Americans, Hispanics, Chinese, and Africans portrayed in the sources? How do you think this portrayal is affected by the creator the source (why would the author, illustrator, politician, etc. portray them so)?
5) Was American expansion overall a positive or a negative for all involved? Why? Argue your opinion here but use the sources for evidence.
6) In your opinion, what does it mean to be “American?” Do the ideas of who is “American” and the values attached to that change over time?
There are no “wrong” answers in this essay! Feel free to argue your perspective as you see it. However, make sure your argument is based on the evidence provided in the supplied primary sources. You will be graded on how well you support your argument with those sources; that is the goal of the assignment. Do not use any other information besides the textbook, lecture notes, and the primary sources I have provided. Some of the images and .pdfs may be difficult to read on Canvas. If you are having trouble reading the text or understanding an image you can always download it and zoom in and out on your computer. Let me know if you are having trouble with this. Finally, when citing your essay use the title of the source I provided in parentheses. For example: (Manifest Destiny) or (Free Soil Party Platform).
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