Lesson 1: History
Objectives: (1) Introduce the historical thinking chart. (2) Explain that knowing the author of a text (i.e.,
who wrote something) is useful when reasoning with historical documents. (3) Apply the first step of the
reasoning strategy to the Indian Removal document set.
Materials: Pretest packet on Indian Removal, Historical thinking overhead, Cornell notes
1. Introduce historical thinking overhead.
____ Distribute copies of Indian Removal document set.
____ Distribute Historical Thinking Chart
____ Tell students that they will use this thinking chart with each document
____ Read steps 1-3 (Who said or wrote this document…Make notes on what seems
believable from each source).
2. Explain the first step (AUTHOR) on the historical thinking overhead.
____ Knowing who said or wrote the document can give you important clues about
the article, or source. Explain what primary and secondary sources mean. The
textbook is a secondary source, and is based on primary sources.
____ Read (a), what was the author’s purpose (b), do the reasons make sense and (c)
do you find evidence of bias? and explain each. Sometimes you can infer
[guess] why the author wrote the text. S/he might try to persuade someone of his
point of view, but not tell the full story.
____ Compare historical authors to political ads. You cannot always believe
everything you hear on TV, or read in the newspaper. What we are doing now is
similar, except that in history all the information we read now is from the past.
Depending on the author’s purpose, we might suspect that the source can
be/cannot be trusted.
____ The question, (b) Do the authors’ reasons make sense? Is asked because if the
answer is no, then the author (and source) might be unreliable [not trustworthy].
____ Use a current scenario (e.g. telling the color of clothes differently within a
source) to show how the inconsistency, or conflict as we will call it, compels us
to question the author of an article.
____ Question (c) Do you find evidence of bias? Look at the author’s choice of
words. In the second article from the Indian Removal document set, what
word/phrase is used to describe the Native Americans? (poor degraded race).
Unfair word choices can indicate bias.
____ The second “red flag” for discovering if a source is biased is to check to see if
the author presents only one point of view, that means tells only one side of the
story, or is leaning to one side when describing the event.
3. Make notes. Write down what you have found about each author, and write down
conflicting interpretations [conflicts] from one article to another (looking across
articles). If you haven’t done this already, write down answers to the AUTHOR
Lesson 2: History
Objectives: (1) Explain how to compare details within and across documents. (3) Apply
the second step of the reasoning strategy to the Cherokee Indian Removal topic.
Materials: Pretest packet on Indian Removal, Historical thinking overhead, Cornell notes
1. Review the historical thinking overhead.
____ We are using the Indian Removal document set.
____ Retrieve the Historical Thinking Chart. We are going to use this when reading
different document sets, to help you think about the information in each source.
____ Today we are going to talk about the second step, Compare Details.
____ Read “Compare details. Look for conflicting views.” If we find conflicting
information, we will write it down on in our notes.
2. ____ Clarify that the 3rd step, making notes on what seems believable from each
source is done throughout the reasoning process. (It is listed here as third step
as a reminder.)
3. ____ Explain each of the five questions as examples of the kind of conflicts that
might show up. Be sure students know what “conflict” means.
4. ____ Use examples from the Mock Trial (Whitman massacre topic) to illustrate
inconsistencies in different people’s perspectives.
5. ____ Apply the entire historical reasoning process to the Cherokee Removal
documents for the remainder of the class session.
a) ____ Cornell note paper: Source A = textbook excerpt. Author of the
first source? No author given. A Secondary source. Purpose is to
explain changes in the policy over time. Probably written to give both
sides to the story. Author of the second source: two people, Andrew
Jackson, and Congressman Wilson Lumpkin. Who are these people?
First text says Jackson did not support the Supreme Court ruling which
was in favor of the Cherokee position. So Jackson is against the
Indians. It says the Congressman is from Georgia. What might that tell
us? (He is probably against the Indians too.) What do you think
Jackson and Lumpkin wanted to do when they wrote this document?
Write that down under “purpose,” they wanted to convince people to
be in favor of the Indian Removal Act. Third source, who wrote it?
Missionaries. It says they had been living with the Cherokees, it might
be “pro” or on the positive side, for the Indians. The purpose seems to
be to support the Indian point of view.
b) ____ Bias. Look for bias in each of the sources. In the textbook
excerpt, do you find bias? Might show empathy towards the Indians,
but says that in the end they were forced to comply with the ruling,
overall, not really biased. What about the second source? Jackson is
quoted as saying that (translate his quote to explain that he doesn’t
think the Indians have any right to the land they are on because there
are no houses and no farming). Congressman Lumpkin basically says
that the Indians who have inter-married are better off than the
Cherokees who have not. Calls them a “poor degraded race of human
beings,” what does that tell you about him? So the second source
seems to be biased. What about the third source? If the missionaries
were pro-Cherokee, they might have been biased in their favor. They
seem to give both sides to the story, telling how some of the Native
Americans have improved while that is not true for all. If they give
both sides on topics such as farming, clothing, dwellings, and reading,
they are less biased than Jackson and Lumpkin. (Someone may point
out that the words “basically” and “generally” might be pro-Cherokee,
since they are general terms that cast the entire group more positively.
c) _____ Look for conflicting views in and across sources. Textbook
excerpt -- It says that as far back as 1802, the federal government had
promised to rid Georgia of the Creeks and Cherokees. I wonder why it
was enforced only after Jackson came to office in 1828/9? Not really
an inconsistency, but doesn’t make sense. Second source – Lumpkin
says he can’t speak from personal experience, that he basically doesn’t
really know, but goes on to say that only a small portion of the Indians
are improving. Also, he starts out by saying he has pity for the Indians,
but goes on to call them a degraded race, he can’t really pity them if he
calls them that. Third source – Definite conflicts between what
Jackson and Lumpkin say and what the missionaries say. The former
say the Indians don’t farm. The missionaries contradict this and tell
how the land is cultivated, by using a plow as well as a hoe. The
missionaries also contradict Jackson and Lumpkin by describe the
homes the Cherokees live in – at least on the same level as the whites,
and some are even better. Who would you believe on this topic?
Lumpkin, who did not have any personal contact, or the missionaries,
who were living with the Indians?
d) _____ Summarize. We can make sense of different (or differing)
opinions by looking at each source, and by looking across all sources.
Whenever possible, check important details against each other from
one source (including when and where events happened) to the next
before accepting them as plausible or likely. If you think something is
missing from an author’s argument, they might not be telling both
sides of the story, and their bias tells you not to trust all of their ideas.
e) ____ Tell students that they will try the historical thinking process the next class,
working in small groups and on a different topic.
Lesson 3: History
Objectives: (1) Apply the entire historical reasoning strategy in small groups (2)
Understand the Mormon massacre at Mountain Meadows, Utah
Materials: Mountain Meadows document set, Historical thinking chart, paper
1. ____ Tell students that they will try the historical thinking process in small groups on
the topic called Mountain Meadows Massacre.
2. _____ Remind them to read the packets first to understand the information. Second,
look for information about each author. Repeat a third time to look for conflict.
3. _____ Students will write an essay in their Language Arts class, after making a plan
[stop chart] for this topic. In social studies, they will learn what happened, after
reading articles that contain conflicting points of view.
Lesson 4: History
Objectives: (1) Apply the historical reasoning strategy independently (2) Understand why
Texas fought for independence from Mexico.
Materials: Texas Independence document set, Historical thinking sheet, note paper
1. ____ Tell students that they will try the historical thinking process on their own
today. Try to remember the historical thinking process because they need to
memorize it for next time (last practice topic is Women’s Suffrage movement).
2. _____ Remind them of the multi-step process: read to understand information. Then
make notes about the author of each text. Third, look for conflicts and make
notes about what you can trust. Try to memorize the steps (purpose, reasons,
bias, conflict within, conflict across) because you won’t have Cornell paper all
3. _____ Students will write an essay on the Texas Independence topic in their
Language Arts class. Here you will learn what happened, even when reading
articles from conflicting points of view.
4. _____ You will repeat the entire process one more time before getting a test on the
process. Get help to make sure you understand the strategy steps.
5. _____ Go over each packet to find out if students understood the content from each
topic before going on to the next.
Textbook excerpt on the Whitman massacre
The Columbia plateau region of what is now Washington State
lies east of the Cascade mountain range. The major feature of the
region is the Columbia River. The land is fertile but very dry. The
Cayuse lived on this plateau. They were primarily hunters, and they
fished the waters of the Columbia. They traveled after game such as
elk and deer and moved to prime fishing spots along the Columbia and
Snake rivers. When horses came to the plateau in the middle 1800s,
the Cayuse were able to take their hunt to the Rockies, where there
were still herds of buffalo.
Marcus and Narcissa Whitman were Presbyterian missionaries
who came to Oregon country in the 1830s. The Whitmans were
sponsored by the American Board of Commissioners of Foreign
Missions, whose aim it was to convert Native Americans to Christianity.
The Whitmans met shortly before they married; they married because
the board would consider only married couples for the work in Oregon
By the time the Whitmans arrived in Oregon Territory in late
1836, the Cayuse tribe had dwindled. The Overland Trail had split
Cayuse territory down the middle. Even before whites arrived as
traders, missionaries, and settlers, Indian prophets had warned the
plateau tribes that ‘soon there will come from the rising sun a different
kind of man…who will bring with them a book and will teach you
everything.’ Many tribes wanted to learn more about Christianity
because they thought it would provide them with some of the great
spiritual power that whites seemingly possessed.
The Whitmans settled in a spot near what is now Walla Walla,
Washington. Narcissa Whitman was well educated, intelligent, and
beautiful, had an excellent singing voice; and liked high society. She
worked hard and sincerely for the mission, but she never really got
along with the Native Americans she was sent to "save." Marcus
Whitman was likewise an extraordinary man. He was very strong, a
hard worker, a doctor who would travel hundreds of miles to see a
patient. He also thought little of the Native Americans and felt it was
his duty to help open the territory to white settlers.
The incoming settlers forced the Native Americans in the area off
their lands. The missionaries taught the Native Americans that native
beliefs and customs were wrong and sought to change those customs.
Native Americans became dependent on the white settlers for trade
goods. Many Native Americans became angry and desperate about the
tide of settlers and the changes they brought. The settlers brought
diseases, such as measles and smallpox, which killed thousands of
Native Americans, who had no immunity to them.
The Indian’s level of tolerance finally reached a breaking point.
During 1847 they had watched 4-5,000 settlers arrive, along with
deadly diseases. When the tribe caught the measles, Marcus’ medicine
was ineffective, and the Indian’s traditional sweat baths hastened the
disease’s course. At the same time, a white man killed the son of Chief
Peo Peo Mox Mox, a Cayuse chief. The Cayuse wanted Dr. Whitman to
settle the score, to bring the killer to. justice. Whitman made a
promise to do so, but never did anything about the murder.
A devastating event came shortly after, in 1847. A measles
epidemic came to the Cayuse. Many Cayuse knew that Marcus
Whitman was a doctor, and many of them suspected Whitman of
poisoning members of the tribe. Joe Lewis, an English-speaking native,
claimed that he had heard Dr. Whitman say he was going to poison
the Cayuse. Later he was found to have lied, but the Cayuse had heard
enough. They killed Marcus and Narcissa Whitman.
After the massacre, Peter Ogden of the Hudson’s Bay Company
arranged the release of the forty-seven captives for a ransom. They all
left Waiilatpu on December 29, except David Malin, a mixed-blood that
none of the white families would take. Five Cayuse were eventually
arrested for the Whitman massacre: Clokomas, Isiaasheluckas,
Kiamasumkin, Tomahas, and Tilokaikt. During the Indians’ trial, the
defense lawyers focused on the idea that Marcus Whitman knew the
danger of staying at Waiilatpu. It is interesting to note that they paid
less attention to the fact that there was only circumstantial evidence
and dubious witness testimony linking the five defendants with the
killings. The five Cayuse men were tried in a white court of law,
convicted and sentenced to death by hanging on May 24, 1850. The
five were executed on June 3, 1850.
In the end, the following facts are known. The Whitmans died.
The whites that were with them died and those who weren’t were
traumatized for life. Five Cayuse were executed for the Whitman
murders, while hundreds of Indians died from white disease before
and after the massacre.
20th Dec. 1847 Chiefs of the Cayuses declare: (TRANSLATION)
(1) That a young Indian who understands English and slept in Dr.
Whitman's room heard the Doctor, his wife and Mr. Spalding express
their desire of possessing the Indians lands and their animals.
(2) He also states that Mr. Spalding had said to the Doctor: "Hurry
give medicines to the Indians, that they may soon die."
(3) That the same Indian told the Cayuses, if you do not kill the Doctor
soon you will all be dead before spring.
(4) That they buried six Cayuses on the following Sunday the 28th of
November, and three the next day.
(5) That the Schoolmaster, Mr. Rodgers, stated to them before he died
that the Doctor, his wife and Mr. Spalding poisoned the Indians.
(6) That for several years past they had to deplore the death of their
children and that they according to these reports, were led to believe,
that the whites had undertaken to kill them all.
That these are the motives, which made them to kill the Americans.
The same Chiefs ask:
(1) Americans not go to war against the Cayuses.
(2) Americans to forget the murders, as the Cayuses will forget the
murder of the Son of the great Chief of Wallawalla.
(3) That two or three great men may come up to conclude peace.
(4) That as soon as these great men have arrived and concluded
peace, they may take with them all the women and children.
(5) They give assurance that they will not harm the Americans before
the arrival of these three great men.
(6) They ask, that the Americans may not travel any more through
their country as their young men might do them harm.
Names of the Chiefs: TILOKATE, CAMASPALO, TAWATOE, ACHEKAIA
Letter to the management at Fort Nez Perces, 30th Nov 1847
Gentlemen, It is my painful task to tell you of a horrid massacre that
took place yesterday at Waiilatpu. An American who escaped told me
the events early this morning. The Doctor and another man were
killed, but he could not tell me the persons who did it, or how it
I immediately determined on sending my interpreter and one man to
Dr. Whitman's to find out the truth, and if possible to rescue any
survivors. I assume you know quite well that fever and dysentery has
been raging here, and as a result many Indians have died, especially
at the Doctor's place where he gave medicine to the Indians. About 30
souls of the Cayuse tribe died one after another. They eventually
believed the Doctor poisoned them, an opinion that was unfortunately
confirmed by one of the Doctor's party. As far as I have been able to
learn, this has been the sole cause of the dreadful butchery.
In order to satisfy any doubt, it is reported that they requested the
Doctor to give medicine to three of their friends, two of whom were
really sick, but the third only faking illness, and that the three were
corpses next morning. After they were buried, the Indians went to his
house, with their arms hidden under their blankets. The Doctor and a
boy brought up by him were shot in the house. His lady, Mr. Rogers
and the children had taken refuge in the attic, but were dragged down
and killed (all except the children) outside.
It is reported that it was not their plan to kill Mr. Rogers, because of
an oath that he is said to have made. He said, “I overheard the Doctor
telling Mr. Spaulding that it was best you should be all poisoned at
once. Mr. Spaulding told the doctor that it was best to continue slowly,
and between this and spring not a soul would remain, when they
would take possession of your lands, cattle and horses.” These are
only Indian reports, and no person can believe the Doctor capable of
such an action. One of the murderers who was not told the above
agreement shot Mr. Rogers.
The ring-leaders in this horrible butchery are Telequoit, his son, Big
Belly, Tamsuchy, Esticus, Toumoulish, etc. Allow me to draw a veil
over this dreadful affair which is too painful to dwell upon. I remain,
with much respect, Gentlemen,
Your most obedient, humble servant,
Textbook excerpt on Indian Removal
The policy toward Indians initiated by George Washington and maintained
through John Quincy Adam’s administration up to 1828 can be described
conveniently as promoting assimilation [integration into white society]. The
feeling was that as white methods of agriculture were transmitted to Indians
they would give up their traditional practices and their claims to status as
separate political entities [groups]. However, this policy changed when
Andrew Jackson was elected as President.
On May 28, 1830, congress passed the Indian Removal Bill, allowing the
United States to make treaties with all tribes east of the Mississippi to give
up their lands in exchange for homes in the West. One by one, Indian bands
found themselves forced to move from their old homes – Ottawa, Shawnee,
and Potawatomi, Sac and Fox, Miami and Kickapoo.
The Cherokee, living on 40,000 acres in the heart of Georgia, tried to resist
Removal by legal means. In 1832, the Cherokees took their case to the U.S.
Supreme Court and won a partial victory. Chief Justice John Marshall agreed
that Georgia laws had violated federal treaties and could not take their land.
Andrew Jackson refused to provide federal backing to support the ruling. He
reportedly proclaimed, “John Marshall has made his decision; now let him
The present policy of the Government, Jackson believed, “is only a
continuation of earlier efforts. The tribes which occupied the land now called
the Eastern States were wiped out or have melted away to make room for
the whites… We now propose to acquire land occupied by the red men of the
South and West by a fair exchange, and, at the expense of the United States,
to send them to places where their existence may perhaps be made
permanent. Without a doubt, it will be painful for them to leave the graves of
their fathers, but can we believe that the wandering savage has a stronger
attachment to his home than our ancestors did? To better their condition in
an unknown land our forefathers left all that was dear in earthly objects...
How many thousands of our own people would gladly embrace the
opportunity of moving West on such conditions! If the offers made to the
Indians were extended to them, they would be hailed with gratitude and joy.”
In the end, the Cherokees were forced to comply with the Indian Removal
Act of 1830. By 1838 the Cherokees were transported westward by the
government to new reservations in what is now Oklahoma in what is now
commonly referred to as the Trail of Tears.
President Andrew Jackson and Georgia Congressman Wilson Lumpkin
President Andrew Jackson and his supporters believed that removal
was a humanitarian [charitable] act needed for the Cherokees long-
After being elected, Jackson argued in his first message to Congress
that the Indians had no right to “tracts of country on which they have
neither dwelt [lived] nor made improvements, merely because they
have seen them from the mountain or passed them in the chase.” He
also felt that their inability to adopt white agricultural methods quickly
would doom them to “weakness and decay.” Jackson said, ”The game
has disappeared among you, and you must depend upon agriculture,
and the mechanic arts [having jobs] for support. And, yet, a large
portion of your people has acquired little or no property which can be
useful to them. How, under these circumstances, can you live in the
country you now occupy?”
In a speech to congress, Georgia Congressman Wilson Lumpkin said,
“Sir, I blame not the Indians; I pity their case… I admit we do find in
the Cherokee country many families enjoying all the common comforts
of public and home life. Moreover, we find a number of schools and
houses built for religious worship. Many of these comfortable families,
too, are made of natives born in the Cherokee country. But most of
these benefits are limited to the blood of the white man, either in
whole or in part. Few, very few of the real Indians participate in these
blessings. Large portions of the full-blooded Cherokees still remain a
poor degraded race of human beings. As to the number that are
comfortable, or otherwise, I cannot speak from my own personal
knowledge with any degree of certainty. But, from what I have seen, I
conclude that only a very small portion of the real Indians are in a
state of improvement, whilst their lords and rulers are white men, and
the descendants of white men…”
President Jackson concluded, “Rightly considered, the policy of the
General Government toward the red man is not only liberal, but also
generous. He is unwilling to submit to the laws of the States and
mingle with their population. To save him from this alternative, or
perhaps utter destruction, the U.S. Government kindly offers him a
new home, and proposes to pay the whole expense of his removal and
Statements of the Missionaries, from The Missionary Herald, 1831
The following statements are excerpts from a series of statements by several
missionaries [religious workers] living with the Cherokee:
When we say that the Cherokees are rapidly advancing in civilization [making
progress as a people], we speak of them as a body. There are very different
degrees of improvements; some families having risen to a level with the
white people of the United States, while the progress of others has but
commenced [begun]. Between the extremes are all grades, but we do not
believe there is a family in the nation, which has not in a measure felt the
change. That the Indians of mixed blood should, upon an average, be in
advance of the full Indians, was to be expected, and is undoubtedly true;
although some Indians of full blood are leaders, and some of mixed blood are
dependent upon others. Here are a few particulars:
The land is cultivated with very different degrees of industry; but I believe
that few fail an adequate supply of food. The ground is uniformly cultivated
by means of the plough [plow], and not, as formerly, by the hoe only.
At this time many of the Cherokees are dressed as well as the whites around
them, and of most of them the manner of dress is basically the same. The
Cherokee women generally manufacture adequate cloth. Many families raise
their own cotton. They make a great part of their clothing though some is of
New England and foreign manufacture.
The dwellings of the mass of the Cherokees are comfortable log cabins. The
worst are not worse than those of some of the neighboring whites. Many of
the houses in the nation are decent two story buildings, and some are
In education we do not know that the progress of the Cherokees should be
called rapid. We believe that less than a majority can read their own
language and very few can read English well enough for ordinary business
It has been often represented that white men and half-breeds [mixed
marriage] control the political affairs of the nation. White men can, by the
constitution, have no part in the government…
In all of the preceding statements we [missionaries] are conscious of having
honestly endeavored [tried] to avoid every degree of exaggeration. To us it
appears that the Cherokees are in a course of improvement, which promises,
if uninterrupted, to place them, at no distant period, nearly on a level with
their white brethren [brothers].
Textbook excerpt on the Mountain Massacre
In July, 1857, 2,500 Mormons gathered near Salt Lake City for a great
anniversary celebration: it had been ten years since Brigham Young
had brought the first Saints to their desert sanctuary. Then, four
horsemen arrived with startling news. The United States Army was
marching on Utah.
President James Buchanan had decided to mount an all-out assault on
the practice of polygamy, part of church doctrine, in an effort to
forestall dealing with the divisive issue of slavery. The Mormons, their
memories of the violence that they had experienced in Missouri and
Illinois still raw, prepared for the worst.
While federal troops made their slow way west, a wagon train from
Arkansas and Missouri [the Fancher train] on its way to California
entered the southern part of Mormon territory. There were some 160
emigrants including men, women, and children. Mormons, reportedly
conserving food in case of war, refused to sell supplies to the train.
When the wagon train reached a grassy area called Mountain Meadows
on September 7, 1857, some 200 Paiute Indians attacked it, convinced
the emigrants had poisoned some of their watering holes. The
travelers drove them back. The Indians settled in for a siege
[blockade], then asked the Mormons to join them in destroying the
common enemy. Meanwhile, a member of the wagon train managed
to slip away in search of help – only to be shot dead by young
Mormons. If word of that ever got out, the Mormons knew, the
advancing federal army would surely seek revenge. To make sure
news did not reach the outside world, local leaders resolved to wipe
out the wagon train, then blame everything on the Paiute. John D. Lee
was persuaded to enter into a conspiracy between the Indians and
some of the other Mormon settlers. Lured by the promise of safe
passage, the unarmed emigrants came out of their fortified camp in a
single file. At a prearranged signal, Mormon settlers and Indians fell on
the emigrants and killed all but seventeen children.
Precisely how much Brigham Young was told of the Mormons’ part in the massacre is
unclear. It took twenty years and two trials to bring Lee to justice. Lee's first trial ended
inconclusively with a hung jury, probably because of the prosecution's misguided attempt
to portray Brigham Young as the true mastermind of the massacre. Lee was finally
convicted by a Mormon jury and executed by a firing squad at the scene of the massacre.
"Journal History of the Church," Aug. 6, 1858
George Smith and James McKnight wrote the following account of the
Mountain Meadows affair from what they considered the most
On Tuesday, Sept. 7nd 1857, rumor reached Cedar by Indians that the
Indians had attacked an emigrant train in camp the day before, at
dawn, at Mountain Meadows, some 45 miles from Cedar. Several of
the emigrants and some of the Indians had been killed and wounded.
The Indians decided to exterminate [kill] the emigrants, because the
emigrants had poisoned several springs, thus causing the death of
Efforts were immediately made to get men to go and, if possible, make
peace with the Indians. A party, with interpreters, left Cedar on
Tuesday night about 9 o'clock. When they arrived, the next morning,
they found the Indians in a great state of excitement, as some of their
men were killed or wounded. When Nephi Johnson, an interpreter,
tried to resolve their differences, the Indians threatened to kill him and
the other men if they did not help them, accusing them of being
friendly to the emigrants or "Mericats" as they called them. The
Indians said that, if they attempted to go to the emigrants' camp, they
would kill every one of them. Finding that they could not help the emi-
grants, they returned to Cedar and reported what had happened.
On Friday evening, William H. Dame, Isaac C. Haight and a party of
men started out for the scene of hostilities to try to put a stop to the
fight, arriving there about day light on Saturday morning. The Indians
had killed the entire company, with the exception of a few small
children, which were, with difficulty, obtained from them.
It appears that, on the fifth day, the Indians withdrew from the siege,
and that, towards evening, the emigrants left their camp and started
back towards Hamblin's Ranch, and after proceeding about a mile and
a half, were again attacked and all slain except the children above
The Indians had also killed a large number of horses, mules, and
cattle, which were lying scattered over the plain, which was done in
accordance with their tradition, requiring a sacrifice to be sent along
with their departed warriors.
THE CONSPIRACY, based on confessions and trial of John Doyle Lee
On the Sabbath after the emigrants left Cedar in September 1857,
Isaac C. Haight and Bishop Klingensmith held a meeting with the
priesthood [nearly every man in the Mormon church holds the
priesthood] and presented a plan to kill the emigrants. Their plan was
to collect the Indians and set them loose upon the strangers.
President Haight and Bishop Klingensmith urged that the Lord's
prophet had said: "If any miserable curses come here, cut their
throats." It was not advice, it was a command. And the emigrants
surely came within the meaning of the term "miserable curses." Had
they not boasted of having aided in driving the "Lord's chosen people"
from Missouri? And had they not also boasted of helping to murder the
Lord's greatest prophet, Joseph Smith? And had they not also
threatened to raise an army in California and aid in exterminating the
Isaac Haight told John D. Lee that the Church Council had agreed upon
the orders. The emigrants did not have permission to pass through the
Mormon country, that they had expressed ill will towards the Mormons
in Cedar City, and that they were considered enemies, for the
[Mormon] country was at war now. Lee was ordered to stir up all the
Indians in the region to “silence” the emigrants.
Lee’s confession states that the Indians were to kill the women and
children, so that it would be certain that no Mormon would be guilty of
shedding “innocent blood” – if it should happen that there was any
innocent blood in the company that were to die.
Lee was ordered to enter the emigrant camp under a flag of truce. The
Indians were still very angry, Lee told the emigrants, but had agreed
to let them retreat to Cedar City if certain conditions were met. All
guns and ammunition were to be stacked in one of the wagons,
women and children, together with any wounded men must ride
together in one wagon, the other men must follow, unarmed, under
escort of the Mormon militia. Lee confessed later that the emigrants
surrendered because their ammunition was nearly gone.
Then someone gave the signal and the Mormons opened fire on the
men, then stepped out of the way so that the Paiute could kill the
women and all the children over the age of five. In less than half an
hour, 120 people were murdered. Seventeen children survived.
Textbook excerpt on the Colonization of Texas
The Spanish ruled Texas for 3 centuries, but during the entire time,
few people lived there. Once, Americans tried to take part of Texas by
force, but the Spanish drove them out. In 1820, an American named
Moses Austin asked the Spanish permission to colonize [bring a group
of settlers to live] in Texas. The Spanish government allowed Austin to
become a citizen, and they gave him permission to settle 300 families
on 200,000 acres of Texas land. Moses Austin died before he could
bring any American settlers to Texas, but his son, Stephen F. Austin,
took charge of the expedition.
While Stephen Austin was bringing the 300 families to his colony,
Mexico won its war for independence against Spain. Texas became
part of Mexico. Austin made a new agreement with the Mexican
Congress to settle his original families in Texas. He also got new land
grants to settle as many as 800 more families. He was given complete
control of the colony. The Mexican government also helped Americans
by excusing them from paying tariffs [extra charges on imports and
exports of goods] and other kinds of taxes.
The Mexican government allowed American “empresarios” [organizers]
to bring immigrants to Texas. One reason newcomers wanted to settle
in Texas was that the land was cheap. Another reason was the 1819
economic depression in United States, which caused many Americans
to plunge into debt. Men in debt on the American frontier could get a
fresh start simply by crossing the border to the Mexican frontier.
At first, the Mexicans left the colonists to govern themselves. The
Mexican authorities were busy with political problems in Mexico. The
first sign of trouble between the Mexican authority and the Texas
settlers came in 1826. One empressario, named Haden Edwards,
decided to name himself the leader of a new republic that he called
“Fredonia.” Mexican forces, helped by Stephen Austin and his
followers, drove Edwards and the rebels out, successfully ending his
rebellion. The Mexican government saw the Fredonian Rebellion as a
sign of future troubles with American immigrants in Texas.
The Mexican government decided to stop American immigration. They
also decided to start collecting tariffs on US goods again. The Texans
reacted to this crackdown in two ways. One group started a "war
party," headed by William Travis, who openly urged revolution and
independence. Another group of Texans belonged to the "peace
party,” who looked to Stephen Austin for leadership and still hoped for
some sort of compromise with Mexico.
Mexican views on the Colonization of Texas
After Mexico’s war for independence from Spain, Mexican officials
worried that they could not protect such a large territory as Texas.
They knew that the Tejanos [Spanish settlers] were in danger of
Indian attacks and a possible invasion by Britain or the United States.
The Mexican government reacted to this threat by trying to recruit
new settlers to help protect the northern frontier.
However, the majority of the colonists were Anglo-Americans whose
language, religion, customs, and traditions were in conflict with those
of Mexico. Moreover, the “norte-americanos” often ignored Mexican
laws and acted as if they were still in the United States, rather than
living on Mexican soil. For example, although Mexico banned [forbid]
Americans from bringing slaves to Texas, many settlers ignored this
By 1825, officials in Mexico City began to question whether American
settlement was the best way to settle Texas. Mexican officials learned
from journalists in the United States that Americans who settled in
Texas wanted to keep their ties to the United States: “the colonists in
Texas will not be Mexicans more than in name.”
In 1826, a Mexican general went north to study the situation. Riding
across Texas, what he found shocked him. “The population here is a
mixture of Indian tribes, now at peace, but ready for war at any
moment. The colonists are another kind of people, better informed
than Mexicans, but also more unruly. Here I find a mix of criminals
and fugitives [people running away from the law], honest laborers,
and migrants [people who travel from place to place for work].”
Such people were sure to cause a revolution. "Either the government
occupies Texas now," the general wrote, "or it is lost forever." The
Mexican secretary of state agreed: "Where others send invading
armies," he wrote, "the Americans send their colonists." Later, when
President Andrew Jackson sent an American with $5 million to Mexico
City to buy Texas, the Mexican government angrily rejected the offer.
The next year Anglo-American settlement was barred [stopped].
Instead of the Americans, Mexico would encourage its own citizens as
well as Europeans to colonize Texas.
Textbook Passage on Women’s Rights
In 1848, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott held a two-day
convention [public meeting] in Seneca Falls, New York, thus starting
the women’s rights movement. More than 300 people went to the
convention, including some men. To make their case, the women
wrote a document called “Declaration of Sentiments,” which reported
their feelings about social injustice against women. Many of these
reformers also demanded that women receive the right to vote.
The suffrage [right to vote] movement had many opponents, however.
Some people opposed what women might do once they had the vote.
For example, political bosses were afraid that women would fight
corruption. Many businessmen opposed women’s proposals for
prohibition [a movement to ban the sale of wine, beer, and liquor] and
workplace reforms, such as child labor laws and a minimum wage for
all workers. The vote might give women more power to complete such
reforms. In addition, some people thought that women belonged in the
home as homemakers and mothers, rather than in politics.
In a letter to The Woman’s Protest, one writer added, “…Consider also
how several well-known women in our city and state have donated so
much to charity and worked on important social problems. This is
without a doubt proof what women can do without the ballot. Is it
possible that any one can think for an instant that such women could
have done such things if womanhood been eliminated and the vote
given in exchange? “
In 1880, one suffragist leader argued the another point of view before
Congress. “…In government the ballot [vote] is the most powerful
means of all social reforms. As members of society who are deeply
interested in good morals and virtue [goodness], we want to help
solve all the social problems that you have grappled [struggled] with
unsuccessfully for so long. We do not want to devalue [lessen] your
efforts, but you have attempted to do an impossible thing. You have
tried to stand for the “whole” with only “one-half;” and because we
make up one-half of humanity, we come before you today and ask you
to recognize our rights as citizens of this Republic.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony began the National
American Suffrage Association (NAWSA) in 1890. That same year,
women gained full suffrage in Wyoming, Colorado, Idaho, and Utah
followed in the 1890s. By 1920 Congress passed the Nineteenth
Amendment, which gave women in the United States the right to vote.
Caroline A. Lowe’s speech to the United States Senate, April 1912
Gentlemen of the committee, it is as a wage earner and on behalf of
the 7,000,000 wage-earning women in the United States that I wish to
speak. I started to work at 18 years of age. Since then I have earned
every cent of the cost of my own existence, and for several years I
was a main source of income for my widowed mother.
Need of the Ballot. We need the ballot so that we may broaden our
horizon and take on our share in the solution of the problems that
seriously affect our daily lives. There is no question that the right to
vote on matters of public concern enlarges a person’s sense of public
responsibility. While in Colorado, while visiting a friend who had
formerly been a teacher in Kansas, she assured me that the average
woman teacher in Colorado, where women have full voting rights, is as
fully informed on all political matters as is the average man teacher in
Kansas, while the average woman teacher in Kansas ranks below the
man in this respect.
The Working Woman and the Working Man. We wage earners know it
to be almost universal that the men in the industries receive twice the
wage granted to us, although we do the same work. We women work
side by side with our brothers. We are children of the same parents,
educated in the same schools, work together the same number of
hours, and we have equal need of food, clothing, and shelter. But at
21 years of age our brothers are given a powerful weapon of self-
defense, and a larger means for growth and self-expression. Women
are denied this weapon. Gentlemen of the committee, is there any
justice in this? If our brothers are granted the ballot with which to
protect themselves, do you not think that working women should be
granted this same right?
Discrimination Against Disfranchised Class. You say that the ballot is
not a means of discrimination. We found a striking example of the
falsity of this statement a few years ago in Chicago. The Chicago
teachers (mostly women), firemen, and policemen had their salaries
cut because of the poverty of the city. The teachers organized to
investigate. The reason was that several large corporations were not
paying taxes. Eventually nearly $600,000 was turned into the public
treasury. What was done with the money? The policemen and firemen
had their salaries restored, while the teachers did not. Instead, the
teachers’ share was used to pay coal bills, repairs, etc. Why was this?
It was a clear case of the usual treatment given to a disfranchised
Lucy J. Price, The Woman's Protest, Jan 1913.
Why Wage Earning Women Oppose Suffrage
"We women of the more fortunate class, we women of leisure want the
ballot to protect the working girl," declared a suffragist speaker in
Cleveland at a recent church meeting.
Now the fact is that the suffragists have not gained support from the
working girls. Why have these women failed to react? I have asked
shop girls, factory girls and businesswomen if they could explain.
"The only kind of protection they can give us" said a girl in a ready-to-
wear store, "is to be reasonable about their demands made upon us. If
they want a dress sewn to fit them on a few hours notice and threaten
to stop shopping from the store when we can’t meet their demands,
we are the ones who suffer. If women who were shopping would be
patient we would be protected to the fullest.
"I know that if we were willing to organize like the men," one factory
girl said, “and if new girls did not work for less than one of us, THEN
we would be protected and better so than all the women's votes in the
world could do for us."
"It's hard enough now for a businesswoman" an insurance woman
said. “But there's one thing we don't have to meet. When I go into a
man's office after a policy, he doesn't refuse his business based on
politics. Oh yes, we do see that sort of thing a lot. There are men who
avoid business with a man who has voted for the other man for city
treasurer or didn’t vote the Progressive ticket. And the results of my
business show that I at least am not hurt by not being the 'political
equal of men.'”
Now these things which may not seem important to "the more
fortunate women" are realized by the wage-earning women, the
women who are exerting all their strength competing with men in the
business world, to them they do seem important. The working women
realize how little the vote can do for them, and that it would only add
to their cares and burdens. Thus, it is not surprising that they have
not responded to the cry of the suffragists that given the vote they,
would "protect the working girl."
Textbook excerpt on the War with Mexico
The 1840s were years of extraordinary territorial growth for the United States. During a
4-year period, the nation’s size more than doubled. This was so dramatic that all of
North America was expected to come under American control. President James K.
Polk worked to gain trade routes to the Pacific Ocean. He also had his eye on the
coasts and bays of Texas, Oregon, and California.
President Polk used two courses of action with the Mexico in his effort to gain new land
for the United States. First, he tried to pressure Mexico’s government to recognize the
Rio Grande as the Texas border and to give up New Mexico and California to the
United States. But at the same time, Polk planned to fight Mexico, if his demands were
not met peacefully.
Mexicans had two very different reactions to the United States’ expansion. One attitude
was of admiration. Many Mexicans wanted to imitate the United States’ prosperity, the
development of its economy, and its agriculture. However, other Mexicans were afraid
that the Americans would try to take border territories from Mexico’s lands. They
wanted to become more like the United States without losing their lands.
In March of 1845, Mexico broke off diplomatic relations with the United States in
protest over the annexation [incorporation] of Texas. The Mexican government was
further outraged when the United States government claimed that the Rio Grande
marked the southern border of Texas. The Mexican government insisted instead that
the real border lay along the Nueces River, 150 miles to the north.
With diplomatic relations broken, President Polk sent diplomat John Slidwell as a
special negotiator to Mexico to settle the boundary dispute. The Mexicans then
discovered that Slidwell also had secret instructions to negotiate for the purchase of
California and New Mexico (and that the US ordered Mexico to accept the annexation
of Texas). Mexican citizens threatened to overthrow resident os oa uin de
Herrera if he spoke to Slidwell. President Herrera quickly decided he had nothing to
discuss with Slidwell.
When resident olk learned of the failure of Slidwell’s mission, he ordered General
Zachary Taylor to advance into the disputed area. The Mexican commander warned
“arms and arms alone must decide the uestion” if General Taylor did not remove the
US forces from the region. When Taylor did not move, Mexican soldiers crossed the
river and attacked a group of 63 US soldiers, killing 11 of them, wounding 5 others, and
capturing the rest.
When news came that Mexican troops had crossed the Rio Grande and had attacked
American troops, Polk had the cause he needed to justify a request for a war declara-
tion from Congress.
The Mexican Conspiracy to Restore a Monarchy by Miguel E. Soto, from “Essays on
the US-Mexican War”
Nearly all Mexican historians who write about the Mexican-American War of 1846-
1848 claim Mexico was a victim of American oppression and blame the United States
for the conflict. The truth is that political groups who were fighting for power had a
very hawkish [pro-war] attitude toward the United States.
One of these many hawkish groups that wanted to gain power at the time also
wanted to return Mexico’s government to a monarchy [kingdom] similar to previous
Spanish rule. The leader of one group, General Mariano Paredes and his supporters
believed that they could reach their goal by fighting the United States. They planned
to use war with the US as a way to get support from European countries, who would
then also help re-establish a Mexican monarchy.
At the end of August 1845, both Great Britain and France had failed to prevent the
annexation of Texas to the United States. General Paredes sent a message for Spain
to come to Mexico’s rescue. He asked the Spanish to send a prince (who he assumed
could stop the turmoil that Mexico had experienced ever since its independence).
Surely, some kind of change was needed after nearly twenty years of instability.
Those who supported Paredes also believed that a monarchy would protect Mexico
from future contact with the United States because the Americans had a republic.
The two political systems would be incompatible [in conflict] with each other, so
Americans would become less interested in Mexico’s land.
General Paredes believed that his army could successfully defend Mexico, especially
with help from Spain. When President José Joaquín de Herrera thought about
meeting John Slidwell, the American diplomat, General Paredes accused President
Herrara of wanting to hand over national territory and with that, trying to avoid a
“glorious and necessary war.” With this accusation and his army of 12,000 soldiers,
Paredes overthrew the Herrera government and became president. Needless to say,
Paredes also refused to meet John Slidwell.
It was at this time that American troops had advanced to the Rio Grande. From the
Mexican perspective, it looked as though war was just a matter of time.
A Mexican Viewpoint on the War with the United States by Jesús Velasco-Márquez, at
the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México
When the US Congress declared war against Mexico in 1846, President Polk’s view
was that the United States had to defend its national security. Mexico was blamed
for causing the war. Nevertheless, in Mexico, that position is not accepted. Indeed,
to understand Mexico’s viewpoint about the war, it is necessary to understand three
First, Mexico’s government in the 1840s was in turmoil. Dictator after dictator came
to power as the result of military uprisings against each leader. The republican
[democratic] form of government was finally re-established in 1847, after a series of
six presidents in three years. Because of these conditions, problems such as how to
deal with John Slidwell’s mission became opportunities for politicians to fault the
efforts of their opponents. During 1845 and 1846, Mexican politicians denounced
[put down] opponents who avoided the issue of Texas’ annexation with the US as
showing weakness and even treason.
Second, from the Mexican perspective, there were two parts to the problem of
Texas: one related to its separation from Mexico and the other to its annexation to
the United States. Mexico’s view was that the conflict was an internal problem,
despite the recognition that Texans had gained from other countries. [This is the
same type of claim the US government made during the Civil War when southern
states decided to withdraw from the union.]
From Mexico’s point of view, the annexation of Texas to the United States was
unacceptable for both legal and security reasons. It was seen as a violation of the
1828 border treaty, which had granted Mexico power over that territory.
Furthermore, it established a dangerous precedent [example] threatening Mexico’s
territorial security. The United States might use the same method to annex [take
control of] other areas along the border.
The last of these important issues was the US invasion of Mexican territory. In the
eyes of the new Mexican President Mariano Paredes, placing the US army at the Rio
Grande was an outright attack on Mexico’s territorial security. Was this action in
defense of US territory or the disgraceful invasion of Mexican territory? From the
viewpoint of the Mexicans, the answer was clear. Most Mexicans believed that the
use of force was the only way to defend their rights and territories.
Language Arts Lesson Plans
Objectives: (1) Introduce essay planning Materials: planning “stop chart”
I. Introduce writing essays. Tell students that for the writing workshop, they will learn
how to compose essays.
_____ 1. I'm going to teach you how to write good essays.
_____ a. Good essays can persuade someone to change her/his point of view.
_____ b. Good writers plan before they write.
_____ 2. Why should students learn to write essays?
_____ a. The basic ideas in essays are found everywhere: on TV, radio, newspapers,
government meetings, political rallies, letters to the editor, at home, etc.
_____ b. People who can write good essays know how to convince and persuade others.
Ask students if they have tried to convince their parents, teachers, or friends to believe
their side of an issue before, and what those issues were.
II. Describe Planning Strategy
_____ 1. Discuss with students that most "expert" writers plan before starting to
compose. Tell them that making a good plan will help them create a good composition,
because the plan will serve as a guide, allowing them to think more about the quality of
_____ a. Have students look at the essay planning “stop chart”. Cover the think
sheet so that only the first step, "Suspend Judgment" shows. Ask students if they know
what "suspend" means. Use analogies of a spider suspending itself from a web, or
suspension bridge. Explain that "judgment" in this case means making up your mind,
judging the topic. So, suspend judgment means keeping your mind open to both sides of
_____ Tell students that during this step, they will brainstorm ideas for and against
the assigned topic.
_____ b. Uncover "Take a Side." Tell students that in this step they will evaluate
what they have brainstormed up to this point. Discuss an important part of planning is to
decide which side you believe in. After students decide which side of the issue they
believe in, they will try to convince whoever reads their essay to agree with them.
_____ c. Uncover "Organize ideas." The third step will help students select ideas
they feel will support their belief, and to select at least one argument they can refute.
Both supporting ideas and arguments need to be stated to make a strong essay. However,
arguments need to be countered or dealt with in some way, or they will actually weaken
the essay. Discuss ways to refute an argument such as thinking of a contrasting reason or
a condition that would make an exception to the argument. After students select ideas
and an argument, they will number their ideas in the order they will use.
*When numbering their ideas, students will present two supporting ideas in paragraphs 1
and 2, and an opposing idea in paragraph 3, returning to a final supporting idea (based on
historical reasoning if possible) in the same paragraph 3. See essay structure.
_____ d. Uncover "Plan more as you write." This means to continue planning as you
compose. Remember to vary your sentence structure, types of sentences, and use
synonyms when you can.
Objectives: (1) Introduce essay structure (2) Review sample essays MATERIALS: essay
structure “format” and two Whitman essays (copy each essay on different colored paper).
1. Show essay structure handout. Go over, suggesting this is a “basic” format that can be
learned, and then moved beyond after mastery. Present each paragraph in turn,
emphasizing what looks different and what is familiar. Most students will find the
introduction and third body paragraph difficult to understand and new to them, but the
two supporting paragraphs and conclusion will be familiar.
2. Pass out Whitman massacre essay to each student. Tell students that this essay was
written about an historical question which had some controversy involved.
Note: there are 2 essays, each taking a different viewpoint on the Whitman
massacre. Assign half of the class to read each version, noting similarities in construction
of the introduction and concluding paragraphs as well as differences in the content (but
not structure) of the 3 body paragraphs. It helps to show the 2 versions on different
colored paper. Again, in the introduction, the text gives the “who, when, where” as well
as brief facts on the case, ending with the opinion. “The phrase, that point can be
rejected…” is one option for introducing the way students can show the reader that they
considered, but refute, an opposing point of view.
3. Ask students to “re-create” a plan that might support each Whitman essay. The plans
will be similar in content, but the selection of ideas to include and the numbering will
II. Review current performance level. Do only if you have time. If not, proceed to the
wrap-up and complete this step next day.
_____ 1. Remember the essay you wrote for me the other day. Give out pretest essay.
_____ 2. Tell students to read their essay and compare to essay format now.
_____ 3. Briefly note strengths each student has and what is missing.
_____ 4. As a group, briefly note common parts missing. Note also that even if a part is
present, students may be able to make that part better the next time. Give examples such
- can tell your point of view
- can have several reasons
- can give examples
- can consider an argument
- can reject an argument, by countering it in some way
- can have a clear ending
_____ 5. Explain goal - to write better essays. Remind them that good essays have all 4
parts, and that good essays make sense. Goal is to have all the parts and "better" parts
Objectives: (1) Model planning process (2) Model composing
_____1. Test to see if they remember the word that will help them remember how to plan.
Give them a piece of paper and ask them to write down the word. Ask students to tell
you what each word/phrase means. Help as necessary.
_____ 2. Test to see if they remember differences in essay structure. Help as necessary.
II. Model the strategy.
1. Using the Cherokee Indian Removal document sets, model how to create a plan.
Generate more ideas than you use. You may wish to refer to the essay structure as a
reference as you model this (overhead or butcher paper works well).
In the first “0”paragraph, present your thesis. Be sure your thesis responds to the
historical question. This paragraph should be 3-4 sentences long.
In the second “1”paragraph, claim your most important reason for believing your
hypothesis in the first sentence. In the 3 sentences that follow, write facts that support this
claim and explain how they do.
In the third “2”paragraph, give another important reason for believing your hypothesis. In
3 sentences that follow, write facts that support this claim and explain how they do.
In the fourth “3”paragraph, present a claim that logically opposes one of your central
ideas, which in turn leads the reader to question your hypothesis. Give and explain
evidence for this opposing claim. Then, rebut this opposing argument with new evidence
in order to restore your original claim. If you can, question the merit of the opposing
claim citing one of the historical reasoning strategies. In the final paragraph, restate your
hypothesis. Try to introduce new facts that support the same ideas. Do not introduce new
The last “4” paragraph is the conclusion. Explain as needed. Try to avoid repeating ideas
verbatim from earlier in the essay.
2. After you create a plan, you will want to create the first and third body paragraphs (if
not the entire essay) for the class to see. If you teach more than one class each day,
you can save these on large “post-it” paper for each group to see sample introductions
and third body paragraphs. They can refer to these as they work collaboratively in
groups for the next lesson. You may wish to take these posters down before students
work independently in the final lesson.
3. Note: Use transition words and phrases when you compose the final essay.
Lessons 4 and 5
Objectives: (1) Students plan collaboratively and write independently (2) Students work
independently to plan and compose essays
The final two lessons each take one or more days. Students typically take an entire day in
small groups, planning an essay. They each work from their own copy to compose the
essay on the subsequent day. The process is repeated with different document sets.
Encourage students to create their own “stop chart” and to remember transition words
from the handout rather than refer to it each time they compose. You will want to provide
group feedback, or grade essays, either for following the process or for the final product.
How to write your essay
In the introduction, be sure you respond to the historical question. This paragraph
should state your premise and be 3-4 sentences long. First recap the event by: (1)
tell who, when, and where and (2) give a brief factual summary. In your last
sentence, state your opinion.
In the first body paragraph, claim your most important reason that supports your
premise in the first sentence. In the 3 sentences that follow, write facts that
support this claim and explain how they do. Add a conclusion sentence that
restates your topic sentence.
In the second body paragraph, give another important reason that supports your
opinion. In 3 sentences that follow, write facts that support this claim and explain
how they do. Add a conclusion sentence that restates your topic sentence.
In the third body paragraph:
a. Present a claim that logically opposes one of your central ideas, which in turn
leads the reader to question your belief.
b. Give and explain evidence for this opposing claim.
c. Then, refute this opposing argument with new evidence in order to restore your
d. If you can, question the merit of the opposing claim citing one of the historical
e. Add a conclusion sentence that rejects the argument.
In the conclusion, restate your opinion (thesis). Briefly state the points you made
in your three paragraphs which support your thesis. Try to end your essay with a
final persuasive sentence.
In the late 1830s, Narcissa and Marcus Whitman settled in Oregon, near a
tribe of Native Americans called the Cayuse. The Whitmans were missionaries
who wanted to save the Cayuse by teaching them about Christianity. They also
wanted to help white settlers move into the territory. Unfortunately, after a series
of misunderstandings, the Cayuse massacred the Whitmans in 1847. This event
was especially sad because it really resulted from an inevitable clash of two
One reason for thinking the massacre could not have been prevented is
that while each culture had different medical practices, the Indians used both.
Marcus Whitman, the doctor, gave medicine to the Cayuse after they became
sick from small pox and the measles. In contrast, the Indians used sweat baths
to cure their sick. When the Native Americans continued to die, they believed that
the doctor’s medicine was actually poison.
Another important point is that the Native Americans and whites had
different points of view when it came to religion. The missionaries believed they
needed to spread Christianity, to “save” the Indians. The Cayuse did not want to
learn about Christianity as much as they wanted to have greater spiritual powers.
They did not believe their customs and beliefs were wrong, or that they needed
Third, before the massacre, the Cayuse saw more and more whites move
to Oregon and settle on their land. They were afraid that the Whitmans were
trying to poison them to steal their land. That made sense because the Cayuse
had already lost land where they previously hunted and fished.
At the same time, it could be argued that the massacre was really
preventable. One member of the Cayuse tribe had lied when he told others that
the doctor planned to poison them for their land. If the doctor had realized the
Indians did not understand how he tried to cure them, he might have explained
what he was trying to do. This point can be rejected, however, by remembering
the doctor’s insensitivity to the Indians when a white man murdered one of the
Chiefs’ sons. Marcus Whitman did not think about the Indians’ point of view in
that situation, so why should he have understood that they believed he was trying
to poison them?
In sum, this painful event was the result of an inevitable clash of two
cultures, and could not have been prevented. The Whitmans wanted to change
the Cayuse, and they wanted to clear land for whites to settle in the area. The
Indians were afraid of the whites because they lost more and more land when
whites came. They were also afraid of whites because so many Native
Americans were forced to depend on the whites after losing their land. The
massacre did not happen because of the specific persons involved. The murders
happened because of the clash in goals between two different groups of people.
In the late 1830s, Narcissa and Marcus Whitman settled in Oregon, near a
tribe of Native Americans called the Cayuse. The Whitmans were
missionaries who wanted to save the Cayuse by teaching them about
Christianity. They also wanted to help white settlers move into the
territory. Unfortunately, after a series of cultural misunderstandings, the
Cayuse massacred the Whitmans in 1847. This event was especially
sad because it could have been prevented.
One reason for thinking the massacre could have been prevented was the
idea that the Whitmans knew they were in danger. Marcus Whitman, the doctor,
had given medicine to the Cayuse after they became sick from small pox. The
doctor could have explained to the Indians that their traditional sweat baths
actually make their sick people more likely to die. He could have helped them
understand that his medicine did not always work, but that it was all he could do.
Another important point is that the Whitmans’ personalities may have
worsened the situation. Both Narcissa and Marcus thought they were better than
the Cayuse, and their feelings must have made the Indians feel badly. If the
Whitmans had different personalities, they might have shown more respect for
the Indians. By showing more respect, they might have been able to convince
them that they really wanted to help them.
Third, before the massacre, the son of a Cayuse chief was killed. The
chief asked Marcus Whitman to bring the killer to justice. For some unknown
reason, Marcus ignored his promise to do so. That was a terrible mistake, which
could have been prevented. It is not right to allow whites to kill Native Americans,
and the Indians were very angry that nothing was done about this injustice.
At the same time, it could be argued that the massacre was an inevitable
clash of two cultures. The Cayuse believed the doctor was poisoning their
people, because one of their tribe told them so. They had seen many of their
tribe members die, and they were afraid of diseases like small pox and measles.
This point can be rejected, however, by remembering that the reason why so
many Cayuse died was because they had no natural immunity for these
diseases, because they had not been exposed to them before. In addition, some
Indians did recover from their sickness, otherwise the doctor would not have
continued to give them his medicine. If he was really poisoning them, why would
some Indians get better?
In sum, this painful event could have been prevented. The Whitmans
might have kept their lives if they had learned more about how the Cayuse lived,
and why they had the beliefs that were so different from the whites. The fact that
so many Native Americans died after coming in contact with the whites was a
huge problem. Marcus and Narcissa Whitman chose not to pay attention to the
feelings of the Indians, and that choice eventually led to their deaths.