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[Detail] Ships at the Erie Basin, New York.

Historical Comprehension

A timeline can also be used to develop and test comprehension of this collection and of the maritime expansion of the United States in the nineteenth century.  Use the following questions to consider how missionary endeavors, commercial travel, and migration contributed to the expansion of the United States during the nineteenth century.  Then create a timeline that represents the maritime expansion of the U.S. during that century.  Illustrate the chronology of events with graphics from the collection, such as maps, illustrations, and photographs.

  • How did American missionary activity in the Sandwich Islands help promote the acquisition of Hawaii?
  • What commercial interests did the United States have in the Pacific in the nineteenth century?  To what extent were commercial interests involved in the popular concept of "manifest destiny"?
  • How did the migration to California in the decade of the Gold Rush lead to the desire to acquire land in Central America?