Civic Literacy Curriculum
This curriculum guide is intended to cover question 91.
Q91: Which was not a war fought by the US in the 1800s?
A. War of 1812
B. Mexican American War
C. Civil War
D. French and Indian War
America engaged in a variety of wars in the 19th century. The most prominent of these were the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War, the Civil War, and the Spanish-American War.
British efforts to effectively draft former British subjects, now American citizens, into serving in the British Navy against Napoleon eventually led to conflict with Britain in the War of 1812. Although the war was largely a draw, it did establish that America could defend itself against its former ruler.
Conflict related to the acquisition of Texas, the former Mexican province turned independent country, led to the Mexican-American War in 1846. The 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ending that war added most of what is now the American Southwest to the United States.
Perhaps most importantly, the United States of America engaged in a Civil War when southern states sought to secede to protect the institution of slavery.
Finally, the brief Spanish American War in 1898 put an end to Spanish colonial presence in the Western Hemisphere, making Cuba independent while adding Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines as U.S. territories.
The wars fought in the 1800s quite literally shaped the nation we know today. It was through these wars that the United States expanded its holdings and began to emerge as a world power. In this activity, students will develop a timeline of the four major 19th century wars and trace their impact on the nation.
The Teaching Materials for this exercise includes a rubric.
- Have the students work in pairs. Divide the class into pairs based on the students’ individual levels. Group A is the group that needs some extra support. Group B is the core group that has the core knowledge to complete the activity. Group C is the enrichment group that has mastered the material. Group C students are prepared to extend their knowledge. Pair those who need support (Group A) with those who have core knowledge and/or have mastered the material (Groups B and C).
- This works equally well as an individual assignment.
- Provide the students with the necessary materials.
- Explain that they are going to create an illustrated timeline that traces the four major wars that the United States fought during the 1800s.
- The timeline will take four pages; each page is dedicated to a single war, which allows the students space to write as well as illustrate a scene from the war.
- The scene can be based on the reading or on prior knowledge about the war.
- Circulate throughout the room as the students work on their timelines.
- Once the students are finished, provide them with transparent tape or glue to connect the four pages and create a single timeline.
- Hang the timelines up around the room.
In the 19th century, America fought a number of wars, most of which generally resulted in expanding the country’s territory following American victory.
The 1800s were rather turbulent for the United States, which was involved in a number of wars. Name one major war fought by the United States in the 1800s. How did this victory help shape the nation we know today?
Had the United States either not fought, or fought and lost, some of its 19th century wars, the country would look quite different. How would the United States losing one or more of the Mexican-American War, Civil War, or Spanish-American War have changed America today?