Title:  Colonies and Revolution: Comparing US and Mexican History

Grade levels: 7-12

Subject/ CA Standards: History, Spanish, Social Studies 8.12, 10.4, 12.9

Overview:  This lesson will serve as a background history lesson when studying Mexico.  It shows the parallels between the emergence of Mexico and the US as independent nations.



  1. Notes sheet (see below) and map.
  2. Supplementary readings on comparative histories of the US and Mexico, see  The Labyrinth of Solitude: The Other Mexico, Return to the Labyrinth of Solitude, Mexico and the United States by Octavio Paz.

Activities and Procedures:

  1. Opening question:  Why did Europeans come to the New World?  What were they looking for?  Possible answers - religious freedom, gold, spices, goods to trade, slaves, land and territory for the king/queen of respective countries.
  2. Using a world map from 1600, trace the routes of the colonial settlers from Europe to North and Central America.
  3. Notes on Colonies and Revolution.
  4. Discuss the similarities and differences between the two histories.  Point out the social class setup and discuss what remains now of those societal structures.  
  5. Discuss the current use of the word “indio”, or Indian, as an insult in the Spanish language - what is the history behind this, what are the implications of using this word as an insult now?

Tying It Together:

The students will realize the connections between US History and Mexican history.  In understanding the history of Mexico, the students will have the background knowledge necessary to look more critically at current issues and situations.