Teaching Guide: Exploring Latin American Revolutionaries

This teaching guide helps instructors use a specific primary source set, Latin American Revolutionaries, in the classroom. It offers discussion questions, classroom activities, and primary source analysis tools. It is intended to spark pedagogical creativity by giving a sample approach to the material. Please feel free to share, reuse, and adapt the resources in this guide for your teaching purposes.

Discussion questions

  1. Using the map of colonies, describe the various geographic features that promoted and/or discouraged communication and unification in Latin America. What do you notice about the geography of cities highlighted on the map and the geography of battle sites?
  2. After reading the biographical information about each of the leaders included in this set, draw comparisons between them with regard to their motivation for liberation and independence and their plans for the new nations they fought to free.
  3. Read the excerpt from J.R. Beard’s biography. What are the major similarities between L’Ouverture and Napoleon Bonaparte? How were these two men different?
  4. Look at the portrait of Simón Bolívar and the image of a statue of Bolívar. What other figures throughout history have been clad in such a way? What do you think the artist’s intent was when choosing such attire? Look at other portraits in this set and analyze how each of the freedom fighters are depicted.

Classroom activities

Ask students to create a two-page spread for a children’s book depicting the “road to liberation” for Latin Americans. Students should include information about the four freedom fighters highlighted in this set: José de San Martin, Simón Bolívar, Toussaint L’Ouverture, and Miguel Hidalgo. Ask students to combine their stories using a road map or timeline suitable for a children’s book.

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