- Students will be able to analyze the responses in favor of and protesting against the policy of American Indian tribe removal by examining primary source documents and answering questions.
- Students will evaluate in a persuasive essay if the policy of American Indian removal was consistent with the ideals of the Founding of the United States.
- Document 1: Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776
- Document 2: President Andrew Jackson’s message to Congress, December 6, 1830
- Document 3: Letter from the Representatives of the Religious Society of Friends to the Senate and House of Representatives, January 5, 1830
- Document 4: Treaty of New Echota, December 29, 1835
- Document 5: Letter from Chief John Ross to the Senate and House of Representatives, September 28, 1836
Students should work in pairs throughout this lesson. They will collaborate in decoding the various documents and coming to conclusions from them.
Students will read the preamble of the Declaration of Independence and answer the questions in the handout. After that, they will brainstorm a list of examples of what would be protected by the natural rights they identify in the document. The student pairs will then choose the five natural rights they think are most important and write each on an individual sticky note and post in the room. The teacher should have a designated place in the room (ideally on a separate wall) for “equality,” “life,” “liberty,” and the “pursuit of happiness.” After the allotted time is complete, the students should be allowed to move about the room and read the examples their classmates have posted.
The teacher will then announce the class will examine the policy of American Indian removal under President Andrew Jackson. As the students read the documents, the focus should be how this policy fit into the Founding principles of natural rights. Students will read documents 2–5, and answer the analysis questions for each of them.
Students will write a persuasive essay, expressing agreement or disagreement with the following prompt: “The policy of American Indian removal was consistent with the principles and values of the founding of the United States.” All assertions in the essay must be supported by evidence quoted from the assigned documents. The essay must include citations from at least three of the assigned documents.
Student will conduct a peer review of the reflection essay written by the partner they worked with on this assignment. They will evaluate whether the essay accomplished the following:
- The author staked out a clear position on the prompt.
- The author supported each of his assertions with evidence from the documents.
- The author used at least three sources for evidence.
- The evidence used, whether you agree with it or not, can be understood to support the points that are made.