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The Brief American Pageant , Sixth Edition
David M. Kennedy, Stanford University
Lizabeth Cohen, Harvard University
Thomas A. Bailey
Mel Piehl, Valparaiso University
Suggested Lecture Topics
Chapter 17
Developing The Chapter: Suggested Lecture Or Discussion Topics


  • Explain the movement toward expansion in relation to the theories of American "Manifest Destiny" and "mission." The focus might be on how the drives to acquire Oregon, Texas, and California arose from the general belief that America should expand across the continent.

    REFERENCE: Ray Billington, Westward Expansion (1974).

  • Examine the role of women in the westward expansion of the 1840s to Oregon and elsewhere. Compare their outlooks and concerns to those that dominated the "manifest destiny" ideology.

    REFERENCE: Susan Butuille, ed., Women's Voices from the Oregon Trail (1994).

  • Consider the origins of the Mexican War in relation to Polk's desire for California and the narrow issue of the Texas boundary. Analyze the charges by the war's opponents that Polk's essential aim was to add new slave territory to the United States. Consider the long-term results of the Mexican War.

    REFERENCE: Patricia Nelson Limerick, The Legacy of Conquest (1987).

  • Examine the Mexican War in relation to broader patterns of ethnic and racial conflict in the Southwest.

    REFERENCE: Reginald Horsman, Race and Manifest Destiny (1981).



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