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America's History in the Making

A Growing Global Power

In the Video

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Historical Perspectives

Historical Perspectives

In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, the United States began to extend its power around the world. The impetus for this global expansion was a combination of enterprising capitalism, a vibrant patriotism, and missionary impulse. During this period, which encompassed WWI, American businesses and the government began to bolster one another, further driving the imperialist machine.

Faces of America

Faces of America

Examining how different groups of people were affected by American expansion offers a way to understand the consequences of imperialism, both in the U.S. and abroad. Queen Liliuokalani was the last reigning monarch of Hawaii. Her struggles to defend Hawaiian sovereignty against the Americans would eventually lead to her imprisonment, where she continued to resist assimilation—through poetry. Charles Schwab headed the largest steel company in the nation. His fortune was largely made from wartime production, and his experience illustrates the new partnership between government and industry during this period. Zeferino Velasquez was part of the first wave of one million Mexicans to enter the U.S. between 1910 and 1920. His life was spent migrating between his home country and the U.S., where he found abundant work. As the U.S. restricted immigrants from Eastern Europe and Asia, migrants such as Velasquez found new opportunities in the U.S., but also discrimination.

Hands on History

Hands on History

Retired high-school teacher David Cope takes us to the Field Museum in Chicago, where a project to photograph more than 30,000 artifacts from the 1893 World's Fair is underway. Through exploring artifacts, primary sources from the fair, and conversations with field curators, Cope gives us a better understanding of the global "show and tell" that was the Columbian Exposition, where the nation that we displayed didn't necessarily reflect the nation that we were. Read edited Hands on History interview with David Cope.

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