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Roots of the American Empire


By the early twentieth century the United States had emerged not only as the world’s major industrial power but also as one of the most formidable imperial powers. But how did this happen? And what were the most important influences? This course will explore the “making” of American empire from the founding of the republic up until World War One. We will look at how early political leaders imagined an empire on the North American continent and how that ambition was pursued in relation to Native Americans, Mexican territory, the trans-Mississippi West, African-American slavery, and the Spanish-American War.
This seminar is appropriate for teachers of history and social studies of all grade levels, as well as those who are interested in applying content from a crucial part of the story of the development of the United States.

Unit TitleAuthor


How to Win a War Without Even Shooting: Haitian Revolution Strategy

Lynn Gourinski Fahr
Keywords: cholera, disease preventions, Haiti, high school history, History, middle school history, revolution strategies, yellow fever

The Impact of the Haitian Revolution on 18th Century Philadelphia

Keysiah M. Middleton
Keywords: 18th century Philadelphia, 18th century Philadelphia merchants, affranchise, African American History, American History, big whites, class division in Saint Domingue, Code Noir of 1685, Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen, eleventh grade American History, Exclusif, francophone, free people of color, French negroes in Philadelphia, French slaves in Philadelphia, gens de couleur libres, Girondists, Global Studies, grands blancs, Haiti, Haitian rebellion, Haitian Revolution, Haitians in Philadelphia, high school history, Jacques Pierre Brissot, literature of Haitian Revolution, Middle school social studies, ninth grade World History, petits blancs, petty whites, Philadelphia 18th century history, Polverel, Saint Dominguan slaves in Philadelphia, Saint Domingue civil war, Saint Domingue rebellion, Saint Domingue refugees in Philadelphia, Saint Domingue slave revolution, slave uprising, small whites, Societie des Amis des Noir, Sonthonax, Stephen Girard, tenth grade African American History, world history

The Panama Canal: Path to Global Destiny

Patrick Naughton
Keywords: American History, Empire, engineering, Geography, Panama Canal, Roosevelt, Socratic Seminar, yellow fever

“Moving on Up”: The Causes and the Impact of the Great Migration on African Americans

Tonya R. Oniyama
Keywords: African American History, eleventh grade, inquiry-based learning, ninth grade, tenth grade, The Great Migration, world history

Our Songs, Our Story: From Spirituals to Hip-Hop- The Use of Music in the African-American Culture

Jada L. Warfield-Henry
Keywords: hip-hop, History, language arts, Music, Slaves, songs, spirituals

The Overreach of the American Empire in the War for Vietnam

Sydney Hunt Coffin
Keywords: American empire, American History, Memorial Day, vietnam war

Bomba and Chicken: Afro-Latinas in the United States

Pat Mitchell-Keita-Doe
Keywords: Afro latinas, Afro-latin culture, Bomba, Bomba dance, chicken

Causes of the Haitian Revolution revealed in primary sources and its challenges on a fragile structure of an imperialist nation

Kathleen Radebaugh
Keywords: Creole, Haiti, Haitian Revolution, imperialist, Politics

Why Isn’t Puerto Rico a State Yet?

Meagan C. Rubino
Keywords: American empire, American History, Empire, Puerto Rico

From Trade to Plastic: The Evolution of Money in America

Terry Anne Wildman
Keywords: financial health, money, piggy bank, savings, trade, trading