Second Essay –Emancipation

Due November 5, 2021

On Friday, November 5, students will submit a 3-5 page typed, double-spaced essay on a Union emancipation policy topic provided to them in class near the beginning of that week.

  • Prof. Pinsker will discuss and distribute a choice of topics in class on Tuesday, November 2d
  • Please open your paper with a descriptive title and your byline.
  • Organize your essay in a way that respects chronology and historical context.
  • Prof. Pinsker is available to review drafts (before Friday) and you may utilize the Writing Center

Please answer ONE of the questions below.

  1. Who was the most significant force in shaping Union emancipation policy between 1861 and 1863?  When justifying your answer, make sure to consider at least 2 or 3 leading individuals or groups, explaining how each contributed to the evolution of the policy.
  1. Which military campaign, battle or decision had the greatest impact on the development of Union emancipation policy between 1861 and 1863?  When justifying your answer, make sure to consider at least 2 or 3 leading military events, explaining how each one contributed to the shaping of the policy.

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.

  • Relevant reading assignments for this essay include chapters from Elizabeth Varon’s book ARMIES OF DELIVERANCE as well as various primary and secondary source materials from the House Divided Project.  But don’t forget to consult the discussion topic pages on the course site syllabus as well –they also contain valuable insights and examples.
  • Make sure to devise a thesis statement that can be effectively argued in a short paper.  Consult the Methods Center handout on How to Write a Thesis Statement 
  • Make sure you are formatting your footnotes correctly (see some of the samples below).  For further guidance, see this methods handout on How to Use Footnotes and consult as needed with the library’s Chicago-style guide, but make sure to use sample footnote models for formatting and NOT bibliography examples.  

Sample Footnotes

[1] Elizabeth R. Varon, Armies of Deliverance: A New History of the Civil War / College Edition (New York: Oxford University Press, 2021), 25.

[2] Varon, 84.

[3] Congressional Confiscation Acts, Emancipation Digital Classroom, House Divided Project [WEB]


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.

  • Don’t underestimate the importance of integrating your quoted evidence with some degree of fluidity.  Awkwardly inserting quotations is one of the hallmarks of mediocre undergraduate essays.  Consult this handout from the methods center for a range of good tips.
  • Also, please guard against plagiarism.  Remember our discussion from the very first day of the semester.  Never write your own words while looking directly at your sources, especially secondary sources –unless you are quoting them.
  • And finally, always remember to proofread your work by printing it out and reading it aloud, slowly. See our methods handout on How to Proofreed [sic]