American Empire (Imperialism) Comprehensive Unit: Interactive Slides, Student Questions, & Primary Source



Check out this engaging PowerPoint (or Google Slides) presentation on the American Empire (also known as American Imperialism). If you are a busy middle school American history teacher that expects the best for your students, this PPT is perfect because it is professionally designed, useful, and enjoyable for the students. It details American foreign interventionism during the Spanish-American War, Philippine-American War, and other foreign affairs in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

To make the lesson more interactive and engaging for your students, there is a primary source with questions for students to answer (answer key included). The source is from President McKinley. You can put the students in pairs to answer the questions and then have a class discussion.

This is a useful presentation you can use to present to your class or give to them to study on their own (students could read the slides and the notes). The design is appropriate and with the right amount of words on each slide (i.e. NO death by PowerPoint). The content is very detailed in the notes, so if you are busy, you could simply open the slides in front of the class and read the notes (it is suggested you review the slides before class though).

Furthermore, it includes a Teacher Guide sheet that you can print and use when presenting. The information in the guide sheet and PPT notes include additional information that is not on the slides (in other words, it will make you look smart!). This way, the you can add interesting little comments or data to each slide. You can either print the whole guide sheet, or just the pages you need help with.

To keep your students focused, the Student Study Guide Notes with the answer key is included. Your students will not be dazing out the window; they will be laser-focused because they need to answer the questions. You can either print the Student Study Study Guide Notes or upload it to your Learning Management System (LMS).

This American PowerPoint or Google Slides is editable. You can make changes to the PPT, if you deem it necessary. This presentation can be used in Microsoft PowerPoint or Google Slides (if you want to use Google Slides, just click the link which is found on the first slide).

Content in PPT includes:

  • Spanish-American War
  • Philippine-American War
  • Yellow Journalism
  • Teller Amendment
  • Platt Amendment
  • Guantanamo Bay
  • Insular Cases
  • Annexation of Hawaii
  • Anti-Imperialist League
  • Perry Expedition to Japan
  • Guano Islands
  • Open Door Policy
  • Assassination of President McKinley
  • Big Stick Policy
  • Dollar Diplomacy
  • Moral Diplomacy
  • Panama Canal
  • Roosevelt Corollary
  • Immigration
  • Chinese Exclusion Act
  • and more!

This presentations touches on all of the above topics and adds more detail. Students will understand how the United States shifted from George Washington’s non-interventionist policy to taking a more active place in world affairs.

This PPT works with traditional American history textbooks.

How to use this presentation:

  • Present the PowerPoint (or Google Slides) in the classroom; one slide includes an interactive primary source activity for students to complete
  • While you are presenting, students need to fill out the Student Study Guide Notes
  • If distance learning, present the Google Slides via Zoom
  • Present and discuss – while presenting, get your students involved by asking questions that get students thinking like a historian and comparing historical events to current events
  • Optional: print the presentation with notes and let your students read the slides (and notes)
  • Alternatively: have students view the slides, and they present the material in groups

How to use the primary source activity:
There is a primary source activity included with this presentation. This makes the class more interactive. Here is the suggested use:

  • Have students read the primary source; you can either print it for students, or you could put it on the projector, or students can view it on their devices
  • Put the students in pairs
  • Ask the provided questions (questions can be found in the notes of the PPT or in the Student Study Guide Notes)
  • Alternatively, you could print the questions on small slips and hand them out
  • Discuss the answers as a class (suggested answers are provided

Additional information

Grade Level

8th, 9th, 10th

Resource Types

Full Units, Homeschool, PowerPoints, Google Slides


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