Sunday, February 13, 2011

54-40 or Fight!

"What is The Battle of San Jacinto?" I ask my son as we go over his study guide for an upcoming test. This period in the school year the class is covering the Westward Movement in American History 1760-1860. I do not remember many of the details during this time period, as I really have not studied this period since I was in school. Living in one of the thirteen colonies, there is enough content between the Revolutionary War and World War II to fill every museum in the area, so when revisiting these events I am getting a better understanding of 18th Century America. At first glance it was a very adventurous and brave time for America, but reading deeper, I have to admit, we appear to be very unforgiving and downright hostile. Almost every significant accomplishment is riddled with back door deals, outright land grabs or as a last resort, a simple beat down. How do I explain the slogan "54-40 or Fight" and at the same time explain that bullying is wrong, fighting is bad or war is never the answer. 

To help my son remember all of these important nation building events, I equalize them with a safe zone topic, sports. "Who is Stephen Austin?" I ask as we lay in bed with the study pamphlet. "He helped Texas gain its independence." My son answers. "And how will you remember?" I say. Without skipping a beat, "Miles Austin (same last name) plays for the Dallas Cowboys." 

Some other major players during the Great Expansion: 
Oregon Trail (Nike Country) 
Seminoles (Florida State University) 
The Alamo (San Antonio Spurs)
War with Mexico (Wrestler Rey Mysterio) 
The East/Atlantic (NY Giants, Mets, the Big East) 
The West/Pacific (LA Lakers, San Diego Chargers and the Pac Ten) 
First Railroad built- Baltimore, Maryland (Baltimore Ravens)

We will review the information up to test day, making assimilations to sports and other friendly terms to keep the details in order. Next up, the Civil War, maybe by then the NCAA Basketball Tournament will be in full swing and Braketology will be useful.


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