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PHILIPPINES: ISLANDS UNDER SEIGE

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Image from the storyIsolationism Versus Interventionism in the Philippines

Target Grade Levels:
Grades 7-12

Themes:
Foreign Policy, U.S. Influence Abroad, Isolationism, Imperialism, Interventionism

The Activity
Relevant National Standards
Cross-Curricular Activities
Ties to Literature


The Activity


At the time of the Spanish-American War, two opposite U.S. foreign policies went head-to-head: isolationism and interventionism. Those Americans supporting isolationism argued that the United States should stay out of other people's problems and instead concentrate on governing itself well. Interventionists, on the other hand, believed that it was America's right or responsibility to help its global neighbors and that in so doing, we would be sharing the benefits of the American system with less-developed countries.

Explore the tensions between these two foreign policies in the context of U.S. involvement in the Philippines. First, show the class the location of the Phillipines on a map. Then, divide students into four groups and assign each group a section of the timeline A Conflicted Land: Rebellions, Wars and Insurgencies in the Philippines .
pbs.org/frontlineworld/stories/philippines/tl01.html
(Note: This FRONTLINE/World story provides additional resources on the U.S. relationship with the Philippines on a page of the Reporter's Diary
pbs.org/frontlineworld/stories/philippines/guzman02.html
and in Links & Resources)
pbs.org/frontlineworld/stories/philippines/links.html#03
As they read, students should make note of quotes and actions related to isolationism and interventionism and consider these questions.

  • When did the United States embrace isolationism?
  • When did it act as an imperialist?
  • Why has the United States seen the Philippines as important to U.S. national interests?
  • How have native cultures reacted to U.S. involvement in their country?
  • How respectful has the United States been of Filipino culture?
  • How does democracy conflict with the ideology of interventionism?
  • Do students think the United States is currently more an isolationist or imperialist country? Why?
Have each group make a presentation to the class that includes information on key actions taken by the United States during the time period assigned to the group and an analysis based on the questions. During discussion, encourage students to use evidence from the timeline to back up their positions.

As a final activity, ask students to write a speech for the president of the United States outlining what they believe should be current U.S. foreign policy with the Philippines.

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Relevant National Standards


These standards are drawn from "Content Knowledge," a compilation of content standards and benchmarks for K-12 curriculum by McRel (Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning), at http://www.mcrel.org/standards-benchmarks/.

Civics, Standard 22: Understands how the world is organized politically into nation-states, how nation-states interact with one another and issues surrounding U.S. foreign policy

United States History, Standard 27: Understands how the Cold War and conflicts in Korea and Vietnam influenced domestic and international politics

Level III, Benchmark 1
Understands major events in U.S. foreign policy during the early Cold War period
United States History, Standard 30: Understands developments in foreign policy and domestic politics between the Nixon and Clinton presidencies

World History, Standard 42: Understands major global trends from 1900 to the end of World War II

Level III, Benchmark 3
Understands influences on the emergence of movements for national self-rule or sovereignty in Africa and Asia (e.g., world war, depression, nationalist ideology, labor organizations, communism, liberal democratic ideals)
World History, Standard 43: Understands how post-World War II reconstruction occurred, new international power relations took shape and colonial empires broke up

World History, Standard 44: Understands the search for community, stability and peace in an interdependent world

Level III, Benchmark 4
Understands instances of political conflict and terrorism in modern society
Level IV, Benchmark 14
Understands how specific countries have implemented social and cultural changes

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Cross-Curricular Activities
Consider building on the themes of the above activity by working with colleagues in other disciplines to conduct the following activities.


Create a Dracula-inspired Travel Brochure (English, Art)

The Activity

To help fuel its postcommunist economy, Romania is capitalizing on the legend of Dracula, made famous by the Hollywood movie. To appeal to Western tourists, two towns have even proposed competing vampire-based theme parks: Dracula Land and Empire Dracula. What is the fascination with vampires? And how can a concept so creepy be successfully marketed to bring big bucks to Romania?

Explain to students that they have been contracted by the Romanian government to create a promotional brochure that will draw American tourists to Romania's Dracula-related haunts. Pique student interest by having them take the brief online quiz How to Identify and Cure a Vampire.
pbs.org/frontlineworld/stories/romania/quiz.html
Next, ask students to trace the origin of the Dracula legend by reading "Dracula: The Metamorphosis of a Fiend".
pbs.org/frontlineworld/stories/romania/dracula.html
Students should then work in teams to design, write, illustrate and present their brochures to the class. Have the class or a larger group vote for their favorite brochure and reward the winning team with a creepy prize.

Resources

Visit the "Romania: My Old Haunts" Web resources to find the features mentioned in this activity, to watch the full FRONTLINE/World segment in streaming video, or to gather related links and facts:
pbs.org/frontlineworld/stories/romania/

Relevant National Standards

Language Arts, Standard 6: Uses reading skills and strategies to understand and interpret a variety of literary texts

Visual Arts, Standard 1: Understands and applies media, techniques, and processes related to the visual arts

World History, Standard 44: Understands the search for community, stability and peace in an interdependent world

Level III, Benchmark 6 Understands the emergence of a global culture (e.g., connections between electronic communications, international marketing and the rise of a popular "global culture" in the late 20th century; how modern arts have expressed and reflected social transformations and political changes and how they have been internationalized) ---

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Design Propaganda Posters to Bolster the United States' Image Abroad (English, Art)

The Activity

Some groups around the world have an unfavorable opinion of U.S. president George W. Bush, and they use propaganda to shape how others view him. In your study of World War I or other conflicts in which propaganda played an important role, extend your discussion of propaganda techniques by showing and discussing these perspectives on President Bush as U.S. forces engaged in Iraq in 2003.

Story: "India: Starring Osama Bin Laden"
At about 1:13 into the story
In: "And I had arrived at a provocative time."
Out: "... the opera 'Osama Bin laden.'"
Length of clip: 28 seconds
Description: Images of Indian protests against the United States, plus a poster of President Bush with devil horns and fangs with the caption"Warmonger!"

Story: "Lebanon: Party of God"
At about 9:33 into the story
In: "They operate a satellite TV ..."
Out: Pictures of George W. Bush juxtaposed with Adolf Hitler
Length of clip: 27 seconds
Description: A Hezbollah television broadcast shows images of President Bush side-by-side with Adolf Hitler

Pause the video on each image of President Bush and ask students to identify any propaganda techniques used. Who is the president compared with in each image? Who is the intended audience of the images? How might the use of these images affect public opinion of the United States?

Ask students also to speculate on what would be the economic, political and social consequences of anti-U.S. sentiment in Lebanon and India. And finally, have students apply their knowledge of propaganda techniques to create posters with messages designed to improve the United States' image in the Middle East and India.

Resources

The full stories referenced above are available on the Web on the streaming video page.
pbs.org/frontlineworld/watch/

Transcripts of each story are also available:

"India: Starring Osama bin Laden"
pbs.org/frontlineworld/about/episodes/205_transcript.html#india205
"Lebanon: Party of God"
pbs.org/frontlineworld/about/episodes/202_transcript.html#lebanon

Visit the Web resources for each story for related links, facts, and features:

"India: Starring Osama bin Laden"
pbs.org/frontlineworld/stories/india205/
"Lebanon: Party of God"
pbs.org/frontlineworld/stories/lebanon

Relevant National Standards

Language Arts, Standard 6: Uses reading skills and strategies to understand and interpret a variety of literary texts

Visual Arts, Standard 1: Understands and applies media, techniques and processes related to the visual arts

World History, Standard 44: Understands the search for community, stability and peace in an interdependent world

Level III, Benchmark 6 Understands the emergence of a global culture (e.g., connections between electronic communications, international marketing and the rise of a popular "global culture" in the late 20th century; how modern arts have expressed and reflected social transformations and political changes and how they have been internationalized)

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