One of the major themes of eighth-grade American history is the expansion of the nation, both geographically and economically. Population growth, a desire for new land for farmers along with markets for their agriculture, and a belief that God intended Americans to occupy the land between the Atlantic and the Pacific combined to drive American expansion. As early as 1811, John Quincy Adams wrote to his father:
The whole continent of North America appears to be destined by Divine Providence to be peopled by one nation, speaking one language, professing one general system of religious and political principles, and accustomed to one general tenor of social usages and customs. For the common happiness of them all, for their peace and prosperity, I believe it is indispensable that they should be associated inone federal Union.
This lesson includes a number of strategies designed to improve student reading comprehension, writing ability, and critical thinking, such as the ability to cite specific textual evidence to support analysis, to integrate visual information with print and visual texts, and writing explanations.It also supports the development of interpretative and productive English Language development.
How did leading American thinkers(such as artists, intellectuals, religious and government leaders)justify America’s westward expansion in the 19 century?