Syllabus

“Facts are stubborn things.”
–John Adams, December 4, 1770

Books

  • Louis P. Masur, The Civil War (New York: Oxford, 2011) [WEB RESOURCE]
  • Gordon S. Wood, Revolutionary Characters (New York: Penguin, 2006) [WEB RESOURCE]

Additional Readings & Resources

  • Susan B. Anthony Trial Statement (1873), Knowledge for Freedom Seminar [WEB]
  • David W. Blight, “For Something beyond the Battlefield”: Frederick Douglass and the Struggle for the Memory of the Civil War,” Journal of American History 75 (March 1989): 1156-1178 [JSTOR]
  • Civil War & Reconstruction Online, House Divided Project [WEB]
  • Cornelia Hughes Dayton, “Taking the Trade: Abortion and Gender Relations in an Eighteenth-Century New England Village.” William & Mary Quarterly 48 (Jan. 1991): 19-49 [JSTOR]
  • Emancipation Digital Classroom, House Divided Project [WEB]
  • Declaration of Sentiments (1848), Knowledge for Freedom seminar [WEB]
  • Dickinson & Slavery, House Divided Project, 2018-21 [WEB]
  • Joanne B. Freeman, “Dueling as Politics: Reinterpreting the Burr-Hamilton Duel,” William and Mary Quarterly 53 (April 1996): 289-318 [JSTOR]
  • Nikole Hannah-Jones, ed. The 1619 Project, New York Times, August 19, 2019 [WEB]
  • Harpers Ferry Raid, House Divided: Civil War Research Engine [WEB]
  • Lincoln’s Writings: The Multi-Media Edition, House Divided Project [WEB]
  • Joseph Locke and Ben Wright, eds., American Yawp, 2020-21 ed. [WEB]
  • Edward T. O’Donnell, Of Plagues and Pilgrims, In the Past Lane [WEB]
  • Matthew Pinsker, “Man of Consequence: Abraham Lincoln in the 1850s,” Illinois History Teacher 16 (2009) [WEB]
  • Matthew Pinsker, “Interpreting the Upper-Ground Railroad,” in Max van Balgooy, ed.,Interpreting African American History and Culture (2014), 75-88 [WEB]
  • The Prince of Emancipation, House Divided Project / Google Arts & Culture [WEB]
  • Sojourner Truth woman’s rights speech (1851), Knowledge for Freedom seminar [WEB]
  • Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, “The Living Mother of a Living Child”: Midwifery and Mortality in Post-Revolutionary New England.” William & Mary Quarterly 46 (Jan. 1989): 27-48 [JSTOR]

Course Policies

Attendance is required and participation will be evaluated and count toward final grades.  There are also two outside events on 11/20 that students must attend (or view) and write a brief reflection about afterward. Those who miss class for any reason must also email a short reflection (about a paragraph or two) on the missed reading assignment within a week of the absence (see model here). For further details on course policies, including those regarding accommodations for disabilities, plagiarism and general learning objectives, please consult the additional policies page.

First Essay  –Revolutionary Era

On Friday, October 8, students will submit a 3-5 page typed, double-spaced essay on a Revolutionary Era topic provided to them in class near the beginning of that week. All essays must include both primary and secondary source material from the assigned readings properly cited using Chicago-style footnotes. Outside research is allowed but not required. Additional information will be available on the annotated assignment guidelines at the course site. Essays will be graded on depth of analysis, use of evidence, and quality of prose. Late essays will be penalized up to 5 points each day.

Second Essay –Coming of Civil War

On Friday, November 12, students will submit a 3-5 page typed, double-spaced essay on a Coming of Civil War topic provided to them in class near the beginning of that week. All essays must include both primary and secondary source material from the assigned readings properly cited using Chicago-style footnotes.  Outside research is allowed but not required. Additional information will be available on the annotated assignment guidelines at the course site. Essays will be graded on depth of analysis, use of evidence, and quality of prose. Late essays will be penalized up to 5 points each day.

Final Close Reading Project

The highlight of this semester will be a multi-media close reading project that students will undertake to analyze an important document from the Civil War or Reconstruction era.  A list of possible documents will be provided to students by Prof. Pinsker. By Monday, December 13, students should post a close reading analysis essay at the course site that covers about 4-6 pages and includes Chicago-style footnotes and a handful of properly captioned and credited images.   Students must also embed inside their post a companion short video featuring about 1-2 minutes of a multi-media reading of their assigned text (using their own voice-over with companion images and music).  Projects will be graded on depth of analysis, research effort, and quality of prose. Late projects will be penalized up to 5 points per day.


Grade Distribution

Class Participation                              20 percent

First Essay (19th-century)                   25 percent

Second Essay (20th-century)              25 percent

Close Reading project                        30 percent

 

Day Date Discussion Topic Reading Assignment
Tuesday 8/31 Methods & Expectations
Thursday 9/2 Columbian Exchange Yawp chap 1
 
Tuesday 9/7 NO CLASS –ROSH HASHANAH
Thursday 9/9 Founding Myths Yawp chap 2 + O’Donnell essay
Tuesday 9/14 Colonial America Yawp chap 4 + Dayton article
Thursday 9/16 NO CLASS –YOM KIPPUR
Tuesday 9/21 American Revolution(s) Yawp chap 5 and chap 6
Thursday 9/23 The Enlightenment & Gen. Washington Wood intro + chap 1
Tuesday 9/28 Franklin, Adams and World Affairs Wood chap 2, chap 6
Thursday 9/30 Jefferson (John Dickinson) and the Problem of Slavery Wood ch 3 + Constitutional Debates + Hannah-Jones essay
Tuesday 10/5 Hamilton, Burr and American Politics Wood chap 4, chap 8
Thursday 10/7 End of a Revolutionary Era Yawp chap 7 + Freeman article
Friday 10/8 Revolutionary essay due By 5pm
 
Tuesday 10/12 Changing Landscapes Yawp chap 8 + Ulrich article
Thursday 10/14 Jacksonian Paradox Yawp chap 9
 
Tuesday 10/19 NO CLASS –FALL PAUSE
Thursday 10/21 Awakenings Yawp chap 10
Tuesday 10/26 NO CLASS
Thursday 10/28 Decoding Manifest Destiny Yawp chap 12
Tuesday 11/2 Woman’s Rights 1848 Declaration + Sojourner Truth
Thursday 11/4 Understanding Free Soil Masur chap 1 + Pinsker UGRR essay
 
Tuesday 11/9 Dred and Harriet Scott Civil War online –Coming of War
Thursday 11/11 Lincoln and John Brown Pinsker 1850s essay + Harpers Ferry
Friday 11/12 Coming of War essay due By 5pm
Tuesday 11/16 Outbreak of Civil War Masur chap 2 + Dickinson & Slavery
Thursday 11/18 Liberty & Union Masur chap 3 + Emancipation
Saturday 11/20 Renaming Ceremony & Wert Lecture Email reflection required by 11/27
Tuesday 11/23 Lincoln & War’s Turning Points Masur chap 4-5 + Lincoln’s Writings
Thursday 11/25 NO CLASS –THANKSGIVING
Tuesday 11/30 Hard War & Soft Reconstruction Masur chap 6 + Yawp chap 15
Thursday 12/2 Race and Reunion Blight article + Prince Rivers
 
Tuesday 12/7 Struggling for More Perfect Unions Anthony trial statement + Yawp chap 15 (sec. IV)
Thursday 12/9 Lessons & Legacies Dickinson & Slavery
Monday 12/13 Final Close Reading Projects due By 5pm