The Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine

by Tim Bailey

Unit Objective

This unit is part of Gilder Lehrman’s series of Common Core State Standards–based teaching resources. These units were written to enable students to understand, summarize, and analyze original texts of historical significance. Students will demonstrate this knowledge by writing summaries of selections from the original document and, by the end of the unit, articulating their understanding of the complete document by answering questions in an argumentative writing style to fulfill the Common Core State Standards. Through this step-by-step process, students will acquire the skills to analyze any primary or secondary source material.

While the unit is intended to flow over a five-day period, it is possible to present and complete the material within a shorter time frame. For example, in a high school class the first two days can be used to ensure an understanding of the process with all of the activity completed in class on day one. The teacher can then assign lessons three and four as homework. The concluding discussion and the essay for lesson 5 are then written in class on day two.

Lesson 1

Objective

Students will be asked to “read like a detective” and gain a clear understanding of the content of Theodore Roosevelt’s Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine, presented in his 1904 Annual Message to Congress. Through reading and analyzing the original text, the students will know what is explicitly stated, draw logical inferences, and demonstrate these skills by writing a succinct summary and then restating that summary in the student’s own words. In the first lesson this will be facilitated by the teacher and done as a whole-class lesson.

Introduction

Tell the students that they will be learning about the Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine by reading and understanding Roosevelt’s own words. Resist the temptation to put the statement into too much context. Remember, we are trying to let the students discover what Theodore Roosevelt had to say and then let them develop ideas based solely on his words.

Materials

Procedure

  1. All students are given an abridged copy of the Roosevelt Corollary and are asked to read it silently to themselves.
  2. The teacher then “share reads” the statement with the students. This is done by having the students follow along silently while the teacher begins reading aloud. The teacher models prosody, inflection, and punctuation. The teacher then asks the class to join in with the reading after a few sentences while the teacher continues to read along with the students, still serving as the model for the class. This technique will support struggling readers as well as English Language Learners (ELL).
  3. The teacher explains that the students will be analyzing the first part of the Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine today and that they will be learning how to do in-depth analysis for themselves. All students are given a copy of Summary Organizer #1. This contains the first selection from the Roosevelt Corollary. Make certain that students understand that the original text has been edited for this lesson. Explain the purpose and use of ellipses.
  4. The teacher puts a copy of Summary Organizer #1 on display in a format large enough for all of the class to see (an overhead projector, Elmo projector, or similar device). Explain that today the whole class will be going through this process together.
  5. Explain that the objective is to select “Key Words” from the first section and then use those words to create a summary sentence that demonstrates an understanding of what Roosevelt was saying in the first paragraph.
  6. Guidelines for selecting the Key Words: Key Words are very important contributors to understanding the text. These words are usually nouns or verbs. Don’t pick “connector” words (are, is, the, and, so, etc.). The number of Key Words depends on the length of the original selection. This selection is 199 words long so we can pick seven or eight Key Words. The other Key Words rule is that we cannot pick words if we don’t know what they mean, so there will be opportunities to teach students how to use context clues, word analysis, and dictionary skills.
  7. Students will now select seven or eight words from the text that they believe are Key Words and write them in the box to the right of the text on their organizers.
  8. The teacher surveys the class to find out what the most popular choices were. The teacher can either tally this or just survey by a show of hands. Using this vote and some discussion the class should, with guidance from the teacher, decide on seven or eight Key Words. For example, let’s say that the class decides on the following words: aim, nation, peace, tyrants, injustice, goal, and mankind. (If the students want to include two words together, for example an adjective and a noun pairing that makes sense as a whole, you can allow it; just don’t let whole phrases get by.) Now, no matter which words the students had previously selected, have them write the words agreed upon by the class or chosen by you into the Key Words box in their organizers.
  9. The teacher now explains that, using these Key Words, the class will write a sentence that summarizes what Roosevelt was writing about. This should be a whole-class discussion-and-negotiation process. For example, “The aim of our nation should be peace, and while tyrants may say some injustices bring peace, true justice should be the goal of mankind.” You might find that the class decides they don’t need the some of the words to make it even more streamlined. This is part of the negotiation process. The final negotiated sentence is copied into the organizer in the third section under the original text and Key Words sections.
  10. The teacher explains that students will now restate the summary sentence in their own words, not having to use Roosevelt’s words. Again, this is a class discussion-and-negotiation process. For example, “Everyone’s goal should be real peace and justice for all.”
  11. Wrap-up: Discuss vocabulary that the students found confusing or difficult. If you choose, you could have students use the back of their organizers to make a note of these words and their meanings.

Lesson 2

Objective

Students will be asked to “read like a detective” and gain a clear understanding of the content of Theodore Roosevelt’s Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine. Through reading and analyzing the original text, the students will know what is explicitly stated, draw logical inferences, and demonstrate these skills by writing a succinct summary and then restating that summary in the student’s own words. In the second lesson the students will work with partners and in small groups.

Introduction

Tell the students that they will be further exploring what President Roosevelt was saying in the second selection from his Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine by reading and understanding Roosevelt’s words and then being able to tell, in their own words, what the president wrote. Today they will be working with partners and in small groups.

Materials

Procedure

  1. All students are given an abridged copy of the Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine and are asked to read it silently to themselves.
  2. The students and teacher discuss what they did yesterday and what they decided was the meaning of the first selection.
  3. The teacher then “share reads” the second selection with the students.
  4. The teacher explains that the class will be analyzing the second part of the Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine today. All students are given a copy of Summary Organizer #2. This contains the second selection from the Roosevelt Corollary.
  5. The teacher puts a copy of Summary Organizer #2 on display in a format large enough for all of the class to see (an overhead projector, Elmo projector, or similar device). Explain that today they will be going through the same process as yesterday but as partners and small groups.
  6. The guidelines for selecting Key Words are the same as they were yesterday. However, because this paragraph is shorter than the last one at 164 words, they can pick only six to seven Key Words.
  7. Pair the students up and have them negotiate which Key Words to select. After they have decided on their words each student will write them in the Key Words box of the organizer.
  8. The teacher now puts two pairs together. These two pairs go through the same negotiation-and-discussion process to select final Key Words. Be strategic in how you make your groups to ensure the most participation by all group members.
  9. The group now builds a sentence that summarizes what President Roosevelt was saying. This is done by the group negotiating with its members on how best to build that sentence. Try to make sure that everyone is contributing to the process. It is very easy for one student to take control of the entire process and for the other students to let them do so. All of the students should write their negotiated sentence into their organizer.
  10. The teacher now asks the groups to share out the summary sentences they have created. This should start a teacher-led discussion that points out the qualities of the various attempts. How successful were the groups at understanding Roosevelt’s text and were they careful to only use Roosevelt’s Key Words in doing so?
  11. Each group will now restate their summary sentence in their own words, not having to use Roosevelt’s words. Again, this is a group discussion-and-negotiation process. After they have decided on a sentence it should be written into their organizer. Again, the teacher should have the groups share out and discuss the clarity and quality of the groups’ attempts.
  12. Wrap-up: Discuss vocabulary that the students found confusing or difficult. If you choose, you could have students use the back of their organizers to make a note of these words and their meanings.

Lesson 3

Objective

Students will be asked to “read like a detective” and gain a clear understanding of the content of the Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine. Through reading and analyzing the original text, the students will know what is explicitly stated, draw logical inferences, and demonstrate these skills by writing a succinct summary and then restating that summary in the student’s own words. In this lesson the students will be working individually unless you think that they need another day of additional support from a partner or small group.

Introduction

Tell the students that they will be further exploring what President Roosevelt was saying in the third selection from his Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine by reading and understanding Roosevelt’s words and then being able to tell, in their own words, what the President wrote. Today they will be working by themselves on their summaries unless you have decided otherwise.

Materials

Procedure

  1. All students are given an abridged copy of the Roosevelt Corollary and are asked to read it silently to themselves.
  2. The students and teacher discuss what they did yesterday and what they decided was the meaning of the first and second selections.
  3. The teacher then “share reads” the third selection with the students.
  4. The teacher explains that the class will be analyzing the third selection from the Roosevelt Corollary today. All students are given a copy of Summary Organizer #3, which contains the third selection from the Roosevelt Corollary.
  5. The teacher puts a copy of Summary Organizer #3 on display in a format large enough for all of the class to see (an overhead projector, Elmo projector, or similar device). Explain that today they will be going through the same process as yesterday, but they will be working by themselves.
  6. The guidelines for selecting these words are the same as they were yesterday. However, because this paragraph is longer (226 words) than either of the first two, they can pick up to ten Key Words.
  7. Have the students select Key Words. After they have chosen their words they will write them in the Key Words box of their organizers.
  8. The teacher now explains that, using these Key Words, each student will build a sentence that summarizes what Roosevelt was saying. They should write their summary sentence into their organizers.
  9. The teacher explains that they will now restate the summary sentence into their own words, not having to use Roosevelt’s words. This should be added to their organizers.
  10. The teacher now asks for students to share out the summary sentences they have created. This should start a teacher-led discussion that points out the qualities of the various attempts. How successful were the students at understanding what Roosevelt was saying?
  11. Wrap-up: Discuss vocabulary that the students found confusing or difficult. If you choose, you could have students use the back of their organizers to make a note of these words and their meanings.

Lesson 4

Objective

Students will be asked to “read like a detective” and gain a clear understanding of the content of Roosevelt’s Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine. Through reading and analyzing the original text, the students will know what is explicitly stated, draw logical inferences, and demonstrate these skills by writing a succinct summary and then restating that summary in the student’s own words. In this lesson the students will again be working individually.

Introduction

Tell the students that they will be further exploring what President Roosevelt was saying in the fourth selection from his Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine by reading and understanding Roosevelt’s words and then being able to tell, in their own words, what the President wrote. Today they will be working by themselves again on their summaries.

Materials

Procedure

  1. All students are given an abridged copy of the Roosevelt Corollary and are asked to read it silently to themselves.
  2. The students and teacher discuss what they did yesterday and what they decided was the meaning of the first, second, and third selections.
  3. The teacher then “share reads” the fourth selection with the students.
  4. The teacher explains that the class will be analyzing the fourth selection from the Roosevelt Corollary today. All students are given a copy of Summary Organizer #4. This contains the fourth selection from the Corollary.
  5. The teacher puts a copy of Summary Organizer #4 on display in a format large enough for all of the class to see (an overhead projector, Elmo projector, or similar device). Explain that today they will be going through the same process as yesterday and they will again be working by themselves.
  6. The guidelines for selecting Key Words are the same as they were yesterday. However, because this selection is fairly short (144 words) the students can only select five or six Key Words.
  7. Have the students select their Key Words and write them in the Key Words box of their organizers.
  8. The students will now use those Key Words to build a sentence that summarizes what Roosevelt was saying. The students should write their summary sentences into their organizers.
  9. The students will now restate the summary sentence in their own words, not having to use Roosevelt’s words. This should be added to their organizers.
  10. The teacher now asks for students to share out the summary sentences they have created. This should start a teacher-led discussion that points out the qualities of the various attempts. How successful were the students at understanding what Roosevelt was saying?
  11. Wrap-up: Discuss vocabulary that the students found confusing or difficult. If you choose you could have students use the back of their organizers to make a note of these words and their meanings.

Lesson 5

Objective

This lesson has two objectives. First, the students will synthesize the work of the last four days and demonstrate that they understand what Theodore Roosevelt was saying in the Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine. Second, the teacher will ask questions of the students that require them to make inferences from the text but also require them to support their conclusions with explicit information from the text in a short essay.

Introduction

Tell the students that they will be reviewing the Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine. Second, you will be asking them to write a short argumentative essay about the Roosevelt Corollary; explain that their conclusions must be backed up by evidence taken directly from the text.

Materials

Procedure

  1. All students are given an abridged copy of the Roosevelt Corollary and are asked to read it silently to themselves.
  2. The teacher asks the students for their best personal summary of selection one. This is done as a negotiation. The teacher may write this short sentence on the overhead or similar device. The same procedure is used for selections two, three, and four. When they are finished the class should have a summary either written or oral of the Roosevelt Corollary in only a few sentences. This should give the students a way to state what the general purpose or purposes of the Roosevelt Corollary were.
  3. The teacher can decide to have the students write a short essay now addressing one of the following prompts or do a short lesson on constructing an argumentative essay. If this is the case, save the essay writing until the next class period or assign it for homework. Remind the students that any arguments they make must be backed up with words taken directly from the Roosevelt Corollary. The first prompt is designed to be the easiest.

Prompts

  1. According to Theodore Roosevelt’s Corollary, under what circumstances would the United States get involved in another country’s affairs?
  2. What arguments does President Roosevelt make to imply that this foreign policy is better than a more isolationist approach?
  3. President Roosevelt stated: “It is not true that the United States feels any land hunger. . . .” What arguments could be made against the policy described in the Roosevelt Corollary based on Roosevelt’s own words?

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Discussion

5 days on the roosevelt corollary?


I agree - it's overkill.


I have to agree. It is not realistic if your state mandates end of course tests or your students are taking AP United States History.


You can easily complete this in one 90 minute class period.


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