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Rise of the American Nation Lesson Plan - Part 2

Subject: American History

Grade: 9 and 10

Materials:  Lecture for part two of Chapter 1:  Rise of the American Nation

Behavioral Objective:  The students will continue to understand the reasons for the explorers of the Old World to search for a new land.

Cognitive domain:  The students will learn more discoverers and explorers through the lecture.

Affective domain:  The students will see from the experiences of the explorers how their reasons could resemble explorers of today.

Psychomotor domain:  The students will write a short paragraph describing each of the explorers.

Chapter One (continued):

Spain grows powerful by exploiting its New World colonies

(To begin the teacher can write and define on the blackboard the vocabulary words to are:  absolute kings (monarchs), viceroy, ‘divine right of kings’.  The definitions of these words will help the students to get a better understanding of the politics that worked back then in the Age of Exploration of the New World.)

Now the teacher can write on the blackboard the heading ‘Locations where Settlers and Explorers Settled’ and as a list: Portugal - Brazil, Spain - South America, Central America, Mexico, Carribbean Sea and the southern part of the United States in St. Augustine in 1565 and in 1609 the Spaniards in Santa Fe and New Mexico.

Old Ways in the New World

(On the blackboard the teacher can list what the explorers brought over from the Old World:

From the Portuguese and the Spaniards

Animals, plants, seeds (that were not in the New World) Arrived in pens and crates.

They also has in barrels filled with earth fruit and nut trees as well as seeds in bags that will be transplanted as sugar cane and flowers.  There were cattle and many farm animals that will be needed on the farms. 

In 1580 the Portuguese and Spanish with their prosperous farms, ranches and cities grew. They were also digging gold and silver from the old Indian mines in Mexico along with those in Central and South America. They had reports that allowed trade between the Old and New World.

The New World had also founded an educational system as well as printing books for the youth in the New World.  Churches and missions were dotted throughout the land and toward the end of the 1500’s there were more than 150,000 Spaniards in the New World.

Colonies for the King

These colonies had the Spanish rulers who had complete or absolute power and were sometimes called ‘absolute kings’ and ‘absolute monarchs’ but the people living in the colonies had no voice in the government.  The Spanish rulers claimed that God had given them the right to rule Spain for they were God’s representatives on Earth and were responsible only to God for their actions. 

This theory of government was known as ‘the divine right of kings’.  The Spanish kings saw the colonies as their personal possessions; The land, people and the wealth it they provided as they pleased.

The King awarded his followers ‘loyal friends’, advisors, nobles of Spain- rich gifts of gold and silver, large grants of land, trading privileges and the right to operate the gold and silver mines. (The teacher will write these lists on the blackboard.)

Crest of Spanish Power

The gold and silver of the New World were carried to Spain in great ‘treasure fleets’. (Write this term on blackboard and define.)  It was an imposing sight at the center were treasure-laden ‘galleons’, which is another term to write on blackboard and defined in this way- huge vessels for the day that were slow and clumsy but heavily armed.  These galleons were surrounded by a convoy of smaller, swifter warships that moved the wealth of New World to the Old World. 

1580- Good luck in Spain King Philip II of Spain became ruler of Portugal as well.  (A question the teacher could ask is ‘Why were the Spaniards themselves partly responsible for their failure to keep Spain the strongest nation in Europe? ‘This is a good question for showing comprehension.) 

  1. Easy money the Spaniards did not build industries to produce goods at home and used gold and silver from America to buy from other countries the goods they needed.
  2. Spaniards could pay for their goods that they needed nor produce the goods for themselves.

England nibbles at them smashes Spanish for Power

Englishmen and Dutchmen ‘seadogs’ began nibbling at Spanish treasure ships in the Carribbean Sea and a person by the name of ‘John Hawkins’ first known famous English ‘seadog’ or better known as a pirate. (The teacher could ask the students what this reminds them of say from an English lesson- ‘Treasure Island’. 

Elizabeth I saw Hawkins as a hero.  In the 1560’s he began to transport slaves from Africa to the Spanish West Indies.  This was against Spanish law.  Spanish nobleman who owned estates in the New World easily forgot the law and traded with the daring Englishmen.

To make an easier way to make money Hawkins decided to ‘raid’ Spanish seaports and attack Spanish treasure ships. (A teacher could ask if this once again reminds them of anything.) 

Sir Francis Drake on his various ocean trips on his heavily armed vessels that were headed southward and sailed through the ‘Strait of Magellan’ (Ask a student to come up to the map and locate this area.)  and into the Pacific Ocean when he decided to turn northward skirting the western coast of South America.  Out in the waters between Peru and Panama he found unprotected ships loaded with treasure for the Spaniards did  not think an enemy would be around in these remote waters so not convoys were needed.  (Write on the blackboard the word ‘convoy’ and ask the students what this word means in the historical context of the times compared with today.)

Drake got and received his plunder and continued northward and not returning the way he came and spent the winter on the coast of what is now California. 

Spring arrived and he sailed across the Pacific Ocean on the Pelican which was the only remaining vessel.  After crossing the Indian Ocean and going around the southern tip of Africa through the Atlantic Ocean to England in the autumn of 1580.  In 1588 Drake is now the ‘Golden Hind’ and was ‘knighted’ for Queen Elizabeth did not punish Drake for his actions of ‘piracy’ as King Philip of Spain wanted since Drake did not have permission from Queen Elizabeth.  Now King Philip built a mighty fleet to invade and conquer England.

England gains Freedom at Sea

1588- (write on blackboard) a turning point in history Spain with its powerful fleet destroyed and torn by troubles at home began to decline in power.  Still strong but Spain was no longer the most feared nation in Europe.  Now it seems that the countries of England, France and the Netherlands grew stronger.

The English ‘Royal Navy’ won the title ‘Mistress of the Seas’.  New England was eager to start building colonies in the New World.  Englishmen learn about America.  England heard stories of the New World from fishermen and as early as 1504 fishing boats from Europe make regular, yearly trips to the Grand Banks off Newfoundland (Teacher can have a student find Newfoundland on map.) Even if these fishermen could not read or write they shared their experience about the Indians when they were along the fresh water coast to dry and salt their catch and traded furs with them.

1580’s and English geographer named Richard Hakluyt (HAK-lout) (write name on blackboard) began gathering and editing these reports.  Englishmen gained a wealth of information from these reports about the New World. 

Two early colonies fail

Before the Spanish Armada two Englishmen by the names of Sir Humphrey Gilbert and Sir Walter Raleigh were two founders who in 1583 and Gilbert’s voyage which was supposed to be on the site of what is now St. John’s, Newfoundland for Gilbert and crew were lost in a storm and Raleigh in 1584 at his own expense for a grant of land of all the Eastern North America and north of Spanish Florida.  He named it ‘Virginia’ with the backing of many men Raleigh organized and expedition to explore the Atlantic coast and returned with good reports in 1585 Raleigh sent out his first group of colonists.  The start of Roanoke Island (teacher may have students find this on the map) off the coast of what is now North Carolina.  The first Roanoke colony failed and in 1587when a second group settled on Roanoke Island and then there was a Spanish attempt to invade England and 1588 prevented Raleigh sending fresh supplies then in 1591 a relief expedition finally reached Roanoke, but the settlers were gone.  No one really knows what happened to the people of the ‘Lost Colony’.  This did to help to strengthen England’s interest in the New World.

England finally gains a foothold in North America

The famous charter of 1606 and King James I of England gave a single charter to two groups. (The teacher writes the term ‘charter’ on the blackboard and defines the term.)  The teacher will also write on the blackboard the two groups.

Group one was in Plymouth, England owned by the Plymouth Company;

Group two was London, England owned by the London Company

Charter was also important for it included a promise by King James that all who settled in the English colonies would retain their rights and privileges as Englishmen and ‘have and enjoy all liberties, franchises and immunities…. As if they had been abiding and been within their own realm of England as any other of out said dominions, as time went on the English colonists reminded the English government their promise to respect their (colonists) rights and privileges and this strengthened the idea of self-government (write this term on blackboard and define.)

Related lessons:

Rise of the American Nation Lesson Plan Part 1

Rise of the American Nation Lesson Plan: Part 3

Written by Mark Graham, Education World® Contributing Writer

Mark has earned two Bachelor degrees, a Master's, a Post-master's and Doctorate in Education, College teaching, Curriculum and instruction, Reading and literacy as well as a certificate in Children's literature.