• This lesson contains 13 pages (4 pages of curriculum and 9 pages of student resources) •

Part I, Lesson 4: Values and Beliefs of Manifest Destiny

Time Allotment: Focus Question:
What part did Manifest Destiny play in the rush to the California gold fields?

Student Learnings:
a. Students will examine the beliefs of Manifest Destiny and its role in the California Gold Rush.
b. Students will analyze a painting to gather information about Manifest Destiny.

1. Provide students with Resource #4-1, the Timeline of California. Share with students to recap, as needed, the following background information.

Background Information: Native Americans occupied what is now North and South America long before Europeans came to the Western Hemisphere. In the 16th century, Spanish explorers and conquistadors concentrated on the western coasts of North and South America. While the Spanish also explored Florida and the Mississippi River area, most of the East Coast was explored and settled by a variety of other European countries, primarily England. The 13 colonies became the United States of America.

Americans steadily moved westward, first through land occupied by Native Americans and then through land owned and occupied by Mexicans and Native Americans. As more Americans moved westward, people developed beliefs, labeled Manifest Destiny in 1845, about how far the United States should extend and why, and ideas of the best ways to use the land.

Manifest Destiny was specifically applied to Mexicans and Native Americans. The doctrine was used to justify the Mexican-American War, resulting in the acquisition of about 40 percent of Mexico's territory, including California. While the Gold Rush brought to California considerable numbers, it brought mostly Euro-Americans to a place predominantly inhabited by Native Americans and Californios (Mexicans living in California).

Note to teacher:
While Manifest Destiny was certainly not the reason people flocked to California during the Gold Rush (people came to California to get rich and then return home), it certainly is an important part of the bigger picture of the times. The Mexican-American War and the rapidity with which California became a state can be attributed to Manifest Destiny. Manifest Destiny did become a basis for public policy and laws.

In Lesson 3 of Part II: Gold, Greed, and Government, students will examine
laws passed in California reflecting Manifest Destiny and a belief held
by many Euro-Americans in their own superiority. Students will

One to two class periods

a. Student Worksheet #4-1: Manifest Destiny Group Inquiry

b. Student Worksheet #4-2: Artwork Inquiry Sheet

c. Student Worksheet #4-3: Looking for Perspectives and Credibility

d. Data sheets:

• Resource #4-1: Timeline of California

• Resource #4-2: Overhead transparency and four color prints of the painting Progress of America

• Resource #4-3: Student information on Domenico Tojetti, painter of Progress of America

• Resource #4-4: Overhead transparency of Patricia Limerick's commentary (a secondary source). (Teacher makes transparency.)

e. Student journals

Part I, Lesson 4
Page 17