The Spanish American War is a little known war other than as an example of the power of the press.
As journalism legend goes, Pulitzer and Hearst wanted a war. So they played up what was happening over in Cuba. They’d create editorials saying the Spanish were stopping American ships and strip searching women. I still remember an editorial cartoon on the topic I saw in my high school history textbook. I couldn’t find a copy to share with you, but it made an impact.
To start off our unit we talked about the newspaper stories written at the time and how they presented the facts in a way to blame Spain. They were oppressing those poor Cuban rebels, and on and on. Well my powder bathroom had mud all over it. I don’t know which child did it, but one of them did.
Their assignment, blame their brother or sister. Princess didn’t like the idea she might get blamed, so she really hated this assignment.
The boys relished the opportunity. I believe that is Batman, just for the record.
Batman: Just because a bear came so they put the mud on the bathroom.
Princess: They’re not being nice to me, so they put it on there to say I did it. (I often hear this complaint from her).
This gave the kids an idea of how newspapers can be very powerful.
Then we watched this video about the Spanish-American War. The kids thought it was interesting to see the different parts.
Then we read snippits from our Heritage History Early American History readers. I chose “War With Spain” and “This Country of Ours.” I heavily abridged “War With Spain,” but we read all of the chapter on the war from “This Country of Ours.” I think it’s my favorite book from that reader. The vocabulary is great and it always holds the kids interest. (by the by, if you haven’ ordered from them yet, why haven’t you? Head over pick out your favorite curriculum and if you add the Early American reader with the code ticiajoy you get it for free, SCORE!).
After reading and they’re better understanding of things we decided to get together with our co-op to act out the most famous battle from the war.
We used the battle from Junior General again, and as always made a few modifications on the Battle of San Juan Hill.
1. we cut down on the men everyone got.
2. we figured out it made more sense for the men to hit on a 6, instead of hitting on a 5 or 6 and then rolling for a misfire. It just added so much confusion the other way.
What did we learn?
- Attacking people in a bunker means you lose a lot of people.
- Numbers help win battles. Even if the Americans lost lots of people, they still won because they had so many more.
- Machine guns were not very reliable then. They had lots of problems.
- Gaitlin guns were very effective.
- Heavy artillery is very hard to aim. I don’t think any of the Spanish artillery ever hit.
The Spanish American War is one of those little known wars that had a lot of impact. Because of it Teddy Roosevelt became famous enough to become Vice-President and then President. We got three territories added to our holdings that are (I need to double check this, so I may be wrong) still territories to this day. Okay, Philippines is a sovereign nation after WW2, and Puerto Rico and Guam are still protectorates of the United States. This past election day Puerto Rico voted to move towards statehood………
I’ll be linking this up to:
maryanne @ mama smiles says
Love the way you teach history.
I love Princess write up – she is a clever girl!
The idea of representing the power of Newspapers that you used is great!