Debate over Manifest Destiny

In HIS 241: The American Frontier, students debated the question: “To what extent was manifest destiny inevitable?”  Divided into two larger teams—either “For” or “Against” the question—each side was asked to work in smaller groups to prepare key points of supporting evidence.  From these smaller teams, two spokespersons were chosen (nicknamed “Lewis and Clark”) to participate in the debate, with one sub-group each offering an opening statement of five minutes, a rebuttal of two minutes, and open-ended debate of five minutes.  Professor Balcerski scored the debate.  Each side offered compelling commentary on the historical questions of expansion of the American nation, the process of frontier settlement, and the removal of Native Americans.  While both sides faithfully defined their views, Professor Balcerski awarded the win to the “Against” team.  Both sides left with smiles on their face, as seen in the photo taken after the debate.

Students who debated pose for the camera in the American Frontier class