The goal of the Argumentative Essay is to examine a number of primary sources and make a well-reasoned argument based on those sources. The subject is Westward Expansion/Manifest Destiny and how it affected US citizens, Native Americans, Hispanic communities, Chinese laborers, and slavery. Once you have an overview of the general ideas and concerns regarding Westward Expansion and Manifest Destiny, examine the corresponding primary sources I have placed in the Essay sub-module https://learning.hccs.edu/faculty/michael.ramey/hist1301/hist-1301-argumentative-essay-instructions-and-sources/argumentative-essay-primary-sources. Use those sources to argue your perspective of US policy and the impacts of migration.

The most relevant chapter of the textbook is Chapter 11, but you can find useful information in other sections as well: https://openstax.org/books/us-history/pages/11-introduction

There is no minimum page length for this essay. Focus on fully answering the questions. Having said that I would expect a good essay to be 3-4 pages at bare minimum. Yours can certainly be longer. Be detailed.

Here are some questions you should argue when writing your essay:

1) What were some of the reasons US citizens were moving west? How did many make their livings out West? Why? Give examples.

2) Explain some of the issues caused by Westward Expansion and how they arose? Give examples from the sources.

3) How did the US government and American settlers represent their westward movement and settlement in the sources? What images and ideas were depicted and how?

4) How were Native Americans, Hispanics, Chinese, and Africans portrayed in the sources? How do you think this portrayal is affected by the creator the source (why would the author, illustrator, politician, etc. portray them so)?

5) Was American expansion overall a positive or a negative for all involved? Why? Argue your opinion here but use the sources for evidence.

6) In your opinion, what does it mean to be “American?” Do the ideas of who is “American” and the values attached to that change over time?

There are no “wrong” answers in this essay! Seriously. The sources are as balanced as I can make them. Feel free to argue your perspective as you see it. However, make sure your argument is based on the evidence provided in the supplied primary sources. You do not have to use all of the sources, but use as many as you can. You will be graded on how well you support your argument with those sources; that is the goal of the assignment. Do not use any other information besides the textbook and the primary sources I have provided. If you are having trouble reading the text or understanding an image you can always download it and zoom in and out on your computer. Let me know if you are having trouble with this. Finally, when citing your essay use the title of the source I provided in parentheses. For example: (Manifest Destiny) or (Free Soil Party Platform)

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