The Mexican-American War Classroom Activities by Scholastic SC-0439385199-938519

The Mexican-American War Westward Expansion/Industrial Growth Activity

The History
In 1846, President James Polk declared war on Mexico. The war, called the Mexican-American War, was fought for land. Some American slave owners wanted the army to take all of Mexico so cotton plantations could be established south of the Rio Grande River. But other Americans did not support this war. Writer Henry David Thoreau, who wrote a famous book called Walden, refused to pay taxes because he didn’t want that money used to support this war. He was thrown in jail. Frederick Douglass, the abolitionist, wrote, “Those who have been loudly in favor of the war have succeeded in robbing Mexico of her territory. We are not the people to rejoice; we ought rather blush and hang our heads for shame.” And a 38-year-old Congressman named Abraham Lincoln said, “Allow the president to invade a neighboring nation whenever he may choose to and you allow him to make war at pleasure.” But Polk had enough supporters and plenty of talented generals (including Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant), and soon American soldiers were fighting in Mexico City.

WORKSHEET & Sample PDF Activity

Sample PDF Activity

When the war ended, with the signing of a treaty in 1848, it was decided that the border between Mexico and Texas would be the Rio Grande river. But there was something else in this treaty—called the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo—that proved of greater significance. Mexico sold California and New Mexico to the United States for $15,000,000. And, it so happened, that earlier that year a man working at Sutter’s Mill in northern California had come across something shiny and golden.

The Assignment
In the parking lot of a supermarket, draw a man putting a shopping bag into the back of a car. Label the car “United States—1848.” Label the man “President Polk.” Label the shopping bag “California.” Draw a glittering rock sticking out of the shopping bag.

Possible Title
The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo

From Read Draw Remember American History Activities by Scholastic SC-0439385199-938519


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