Lincoln and Mexico Lesson Plans Available

Great news! Comprehensive lesson plans about Abraham Lincoln’s legacy of support for Mexico are now available for high school and colleges. They’re based on the authoritative book Abraham Lincoln and Mexico and the three-act play Lincoln and Mexico: The Untold Story. Both are written by historian and educator Michael Hogan.

The lesson plans help educators guide classroom discussions of Lincoln’s opposition as Congressman to the Mexican-American War and his later support as President to help Mexico defeat French occupation forces. If you know a high school or college that might be interested, just contact us and we’ll follow up. The email address is

This is a major milestone in efforts to help educators and students get access to factual information missing from current textbooks,” said Hogan. “The lesson plans facilitate classroom discussion, and include student worksheets to distill and capture what students learn. It’s a great way to gain new perspectives about historic relations between Mexico and the USA.”

The book focuses on Lincoln as an international statesman by using archival documents, many of which are in the 137-page appendix. It’s in the Lincoln presidential library and in several university libraries and public libraries. It’s also has been nominated for the prestigious William M. LeoGrande Prize as the best book on U.S.-Latin American relations, and the Smithsonian magazine online published a feature article about the book. The play, developed for students and community theatres, received enthusiastic responses by audiences at several performances this spring.

In both the USA and Mexico, educators are beginning to use the book as supplemental classroom material. At the California State University-Channel Islands Campus, the book will be part of the HIST 270 course this fall. In Arizona, the Academy of Tucson High School plans use the book and lesson plans in its curriculum this fall. And at the American School Foundation of Guadalajara, where Hogan is Emeritus Humanities Chair, the book and lesson plans will be part of the History curriculum. In fact, the book was inspired by AP US History students at the school during the 2012-2013 academic year because they wanted to learn more than what was in textbooks.

During the coming months, the Lincoln and Mexico Project (LAMP) will reach out to colleges and high schools to offer a package of the book and the play and the lesson plans for the 2018 academic year. Meanwhile, here’s a sample from the first few pages of the lesson plans.



For use with the text Lincoln and Mexico: A History of Courage, Intrigue and Unlikely Friendships, and with Lincoln and Mexico: The Untold Story, a play in three acts. Both by Michael Hogan.

Note: All items in this packet are protected by US and international copyright agreements. Copyright ©2016, 2017 by Michael Hogan. Portions may be copied and used for teaching purposes as long as the author is properly credited.


  1. Lincoln’s “Spot Resolutions” objecting to the Declaration of War with Mexico.
  2. Honest Abe or a typical politician?
  3. The Agreement of Velasco, and the Texas border.
  4. The Emancipation Proclamation and the United States Colored Troops (USCT).
  5. Why Lincoln Supported Mexico Against the French.
  6. Nineteenth Century Networking.
  7. Undermining the Great Man Theory of History.
  8. Forgotten Heroes: The blank pages of history.


Central Historical Question: “What was the basis for Lincoln’s objection to Polk’s decision asking Congress to declare that a state of war existed between Mexico and the US?”

Background: The Mexican War (1846-48) was the largest land acquisition in North America since the Louisiana Purchase. From it, the US added the states of California, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, and parts of Kansas, Utah, and Wyoming. Yet, it is barely mentioned in US history books. Sometimes it is simply known as the “Mexican Cession,” as if Mexico government simply granted the US all of its northern territories in that geographical area. Other times it is referred to as a “border dispute.” However, in Mexico (and elsewhere in non-US histories) it is known as the American Invasion of Mexico or the War of Intervention.

            It all began when President James K. Polk decided to purchase California from Mexico and a land route across what is now New Mexico. He offered the Mexican government $25 million for the former and another $5 million for the latter. The Mexican congress refused to sell. Polk sent a negotiator to the Mexican capital. The government refused to meet with him. Annoyed, Polk ordered General Zachary Taylor and a large army contingent to Corpus Christi in Texas, the border with Mexico at the time on the Rio Nueces, to pressure the Mexican government into making the deal. When that did not work, he ordered Taylor south to the Rio Grande that was then part of Mexico, and Taylor’s troops began building a fort in January 1846 at what is now Brownsville. In April of 1846, one of Taylor’s patrols encountered a troop of Mexican cavalry along the Rio Grande. In the brief skirmish that ensued, eleven American soldiers were killed.

            Polk then went to Congress and said that since “American blood was shed on American soil,” a state of war now existed between Mexico and the United States. He asked Congress for money and men to carry on the war. Congress approved on May 13, since the hostilities had already commenced.

            Abraham Lincoln was elected to Congress that year. However, he did not take his seat until late 1847. On December 22 of that year, he questioned President Polk’s decision to wage war in a series of “Spot Resolutions.” He felt the war was unconstitutional, an abuse of presidential power, and based on false information. Many agreed with him including former president John Quincy Adams, Ulysses S. Grant, and Henry David Thoreau who wrote his famous essay “Civil Disobedience” on the subject and refused to pay his taxes in protest.

Assignment: This is a two-day lesson. Day 1. The students will read Polk’s Declaration of War and Lincoln’s Spot Resolutions and will take notes on the worksheet provided. Day 2. The teacher will lead a discussion among the students based on their comments on the worksheet.

Student Worksheet                             Name:

Central Historical Question: In your own words state the six arguments or rhetorical questions that Lincoln advanced in his Spot Resolutions.

#1. Argument summary




#2. Argument summary







#3. Argument summary







#4. Argument summary.




#5.  Argument summary



#6.  State which two arguments are the most persuasive and why.








#7. Do you think that Lincoln was right, or was Polk justified in seeking a declaration of war? Explain.










Primary documents:

Map of the region between the Rio Nueces and the Rio Grande.

Two documents from the Appendix of Michael Hogan’s Abraham Lincoln and Mexico: A History of Courage, Intrigue and Unlikely Friendships. San Diego: Egret Books, 2016.

·         Document #3 Polk’s War Message to Congress. May 11, 1846. pp. 189-197.

·         Document #6 Lincoln’s Spot Resolutions, Dec. 22, 1847. pp. 255-257.


The book Abraham Lincoln and Mexico: A History of Courage, Intrigue and Unlikely Friendships is in the Lincoln presidential library, university libraries, and public libraries. “This book is a must-read for any student of US-Mexico relations.” Jay Lacroix, Harvard Law School.

Educators with existing accounts at the Ingram Content Group can order discounted print copies of the book (EAN 9780985774493) by going to To create a new account, go to You can also call Ingram by phone at 800-937-8200 and select option 4 to talk with a customer representative for help, or send email to  

Print and eBook versions are also available online from Barnes&Noble and from Amazon. The Spanish version is available from and

July events show enthusiasm for Lincoln book

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Slideshow of events in Chihuahua and Parral, and in Los Angeles.

Three July events by the Lincoln and Mexico Project (LAMP) to present and discuss the book Abraham Lincoln and Mexico attracted enthusiastic audiences in Mexico and California. All three focused on Lincoln’s legacy of support for Mexico as Congressman and President, and produced substantial publicity and news media attention before and after the events.


Two events were in the northern Mexico state of Chihuahua, arranged by Carlos Mendez, Secretaria de Cultura de Chihuahua. The first presentation was July 7 at Museo Casa de Juárez in Chihuahua, the city where exiled Mexican president Benito Juárez fled after French troops overthrew his elected government in 1863. Cindy A. Medina, the LAMP PR and news media representative from Austin spoke about the book in Spanish and answered questions for two hours, especially Lincoln’s support for Juárez in exile. Edelmiro Ponce de Leon, Director and Curator of Museo Casa Juárez, coordinated the event. Mario Trillo, Chihuahua enthusiast historian and athlete, was a great help to Cindy during her 1st week there showing her around the city and helping learn more about Chihuahua. We thank him for his hosting.


On July 14, the historic Palacio Alvarado in Parral, also in the state of Chihuahua, hosted an event in which Medina spoke in Spanish again for nearly two hours. Martìn Raùl Màrquez, director of the Museo Palacio Alvardo, coordinated the event that included discussion how Lincoln’s support helped Mexico defeat the French occupation forces to end the reign of Maximilian who was installed as emperor by Napoleon III. Thanks also to Lupita Martinez, director of the Secretaria de Cultura en Parral, and Angelica Nava, the Archivos Historicos Director of Parral.

Both events attracted enthusiastic crowds, mostly Mexican citizens, but also some US expats. During the rest of July, Medina traveled throughout the state of Chihuahua to discuss the book with individuals, and participated in live Spanish television and radio interviews about historical relationships between Mexico and the USA focusing on Lincoln’s legacy of support as both Congressman and President.


On July 22, 2017, Dominguez Rancho Adobe Museum in the Los Angeles area featured a presentation by Mikel Miller, co-founder of LAMP. The event was hosted by Executive Museum Director, Luis Fernandez and arranged by veteran docent Sylvia N. Contreras. She recently became a LAMP representative for Southern California. An overflow audience participated in the follow-up discussion with Miller and Contreras.

The two-hour multimedia presentation and discussion included maps and excerpts from archival documents regarding Spanish and Mexican settlements in North America. Contreras also discussed local library exhibits that offer education about Mexico’s history. She also demonstrated photos in Mexico in which U.S. Civil War descendants (Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States [MOLLUS]) participated in the 150th re-enactment of 1862 Battle of Puebla while Mexican students proudly carried images of Abraham Lincoln and Benito Juárez.

The Dominguez Rancho was the first Spanish land grant in southern California in 1784, recognized as California Landmark #152 and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places by the United States. Many audience members also toured the museum, a site of an 1846 Mexican-American War known as Battle of Dominguez Rancho (or Dominguez Hills) in which outnumbered Mexican forces repelled invasionary U.S. Marine troops.

Since it began a year ago, LAMP has attracted international volunteer representatives such as Medina and Contreras in Guadalajara, San Diego, Los Angeles, Austin, and Chicago. This summer and fall, we plan to expand to Washington DC and New York city. We invite you to become part of the project to inform and educate people to Lincoln’s legacy of support for Mexico. Just submit a comment to the blog, or send an email to, and we’ll get in touch with you. Thanks.

P.S. If you don’t already have a copy of the book Abraham Lincoln and Mexico, the English version is available online from Barnes&Noble and from Amazon The Spanish version is also available from Amazon US and Amazon Mexico