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Teaching Guide

Teaching Louisiana Purchase: Haitian Revolution to Lewis & Clark

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Purchasing Louisiana was a little more difficult than a few clicks on Amazon, but teaching the Louisiana Purchase can be made simpler by just a few clicks right here.

In this guide you will find

  • an activity about Jefferson's racial attitudes and slave revolts. 
  • discussion questions on diplomacy, economy, and politics.
  • modern resources from NPR, National Geographic, and everyone's favorite documentarian, Ken Burns.

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Inside each guide you'll find quizzes, activity ideas, discussion questions, and more—all written by experts and designed to save you time. Here are the deets on what you get with your teaching guide:

  • 3-5 Common Core-aligned activities (including quotation, image, and document analysis) to complete in class with your students, with detailed instructions for you and your students. 
  • Discussion and essay questions for all levels of students.
  • Reading quizzes to be sure students are looking at the material through various lenses.
  • Resources to help make the topic feel more relevant to your 21st-century students.
  • A note from Shmoop's teachers to you, telling you what to expect from teaching the topic and how you can overcome the hurdles.

Instructions for You

In this exercise, your students will draw from the real expedition journals of Lewis and Clark to write their own reports back to Washington on the lessons gained in a recent encounter with the Teton Sioux. They will write the report from the perspective of a member of the expedition.

1. Direct your students to this site, where they can read from Lewis and Clark's journals from 23 September 1804 to 30 September 1804. Tell them that they are a member of the expedition charged with writing a report back to President Jefferson summarizing the lessons they have learned about the Teton Sioux. Remind them that Jefferson had asked them for more than details about their ways of life; he also wanted information that might help future exploration and settlement parties deal successfully with the western Indians. In other words, are the Indians peaceful or hostile? Should they be treated with kindness or force? What sorts of goods do they desire? Can they be trusted?

Instructions for Your Students

President Jefferson asked you, as a member of the Lewis and Clark expedition, to send back reports on the Indians encountered on the journey. He wants details about their ways of life, but more importantly, he wants information that will help future settlers and explorers deal with the western Indians successfully. In other words, he wants to know: Are the Indians peaceful or hostile? Should they be treated with kindness or force? What sorts of goods do they desire? Can they be trusted?

Read these entries from the expedition journals from 23 September to 30 September 1804 and prepare your own report to be sent to President Jefferson.


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