PS/IS 686 | Brooklyn, NY

Grade 8 Humanities: Week of 2/5/2018 American Empire (aka Imperialism)

Ten Thousand Miles From Tip to Tip
Dear Families,

It’s easy to forget about the rest of the world — that there even is a world outside the concrete jungle when you’re mired in it. But, it is important to remember that the U.S. acquired territory beyond its continental boundaries at steady pace during the late 1800s and early 20th century.

The primary cause was, of course, economics (isn’t it always?). New markets for new American goods with a side order order of nationalism fueled what seemed to be a second wave of, well, Manifest Destiny.

American Imperialism was no more evident than during The Spanish-American-Cuban- Filipino War. This began when Cubans revolted against Spain, which still had control over the area. Cuba’s fight for independence resulted in 95,000 Cubans dying from disease and malnutrition after Spanish General Valeriano Weyler forced Cubans into concentration camps. Weyler was known as “The Butcher” in the American press, which, incidentally which sold a lot of newspapers due to stories about his murderous misdeeds.

As a result of the war, the U.S. gained new territories: The Philippines, Puerto Rico, and Guam. We annexed Hawaii. We didn’t annex Cuba, but it didn’t become completely independent, either. Hawaii was treated differently, because it had a sizable population of white American settlers, so it became a traditional territory with a path to statehood.

The search for markets for American goods continues to persist even though it is clear that imperialism is antithetical to democracy.


Meanwhile, in current events we took a look at The State of the Union Address by analyzing photos, political cartoons, and a word cloud . . .




And, we only have 9 class days left to work on our multi-genre projects for Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle! Some works in progress include dioramas of the “killing floors” at Brown’s and the tenement where the Rudkus family lives, board games, and various blueprints for more creatives endeavors . . .






Ms. Sacilotto



“I am an anti-imperialist. I am opposed to having the eagle put its talons on any other land.” — Mark Twain