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

Author: LAMP

Co-founder of the Lincoln and Mexico Project. Email: USA: 619-246-4342. MX: +52-33-3676-5897

4 thoughts on “Lincoln and Mexico Lesson Plans Available”

  1. I would like to request a copy of the complete lesson plans to view for possible use in my Lincoln course which I am teaching this semester.

    Many thanks in advance for your attention to this request.

    Jason H. Silverman Ellison Capers Palmer, Jr. Professor of History 358 Bancroft Hall Winthrop University Rock Hill, SC. 29733 803-323-4677

    Sent from my iPhone



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.