Course Syllabus

HISTORY 288 Civil War & Reconstruction

  • Dickinson College / Spring 2020
  • Tue / Thu 9am
  • Classroom:    House Divided studio

“Fellow citizens, we cannot escape history.”

–Abraham Lincoln, December 1, 1862

 

Books

  • Foner, Eric.  Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad. New York: W.W. Norton, 2015.
  • Varon, Elizabeth R. Armies of Deliverance: A New History of the Civil War. New York: Oxford University Press, 2019.

 

Articles, Essays, and Websites

  • 1619 Project. New York Times Magazine. August 19, 2019. [WEB]
  • Arguing Over Slavery in Constitution. History 404. Dickinson College. 2015.  [WEB]
  • Civil War & Reconstruction Online Course. House Divided Project, 2013-20.  [WEB]
  • Dickinson & Slavery. House Divided Project, 2019-20. [WEB]
  • Emancipation Digital Classroom. House Divided Project, 2013-20. [WEB]
  • Essential Civil War Curriculum, Virginia Tech, 2010-20 with essays by Michael Morrison (Mexican American War) and Michael Woods (Causes). [WEB]
  • Huebner, Timothy B. “Roger B. Taney and the Slavery Issue: Looking Before –and Beyond—Dred Scott.”  Journal of American History 97 (June 2010): 17-38 [JSTOR]
  • Lincoln’s Writings. House Divided Project, 2013-20.  [WEB]
  • Prince of Emancipation. House Divided Project / Google Arts, 2016 [WEB]
  • Rubin, Anne Sarah and Kelley Bell. Sherman’s March. UMBC, 2010-20 [WEB]
  • Underground Railroad Digital Classroom. House Divided Project, 2008-20. [WEB]
  • Wingert, Cooper. 1850 Fugitive Slave Law, Dickinson College, 2019-20. [WEB]

Escape Narratives

By MONDAY, FEB 24th [REVISED], students will submit a 6 to 8 page narrative essay describing an escape by a runaway slave or slaves in the antebellum US.  Each essay should provide background on both the slaveholders and the enslaved and offer a coherent analysis of the escape episode’s larger significance.  All essays should use a wide-ranging combination of high quality primary and secondary sources. All essays should also be typed and double-spaced as a Word or PDF document while including a title page with descriptive title and Chicago-style footnotes (no bibliography required).  In addition to the essay, students should also submit a custom-made Google Map on their chosen escape as an appendix.  Well-designed maps can receive up to 5 extra-credit points.  Additional information and guidance will be available on the annotated assignment guidelines at the course site. Both essay and map link should be submitted by email to Prof. Pinsker by 5pm on the due date.  Student work will be graded on research effort, depth of analysis and prose quality. Late essays will be penalized up to 5 points per day.

Battle Narratives

By MONDAY, APRIL 5 [REVISED], students will submit a 6 to 8 page narrative essay that describes a land battle or major naval engagement from the American Civil War.  Each essay should provide background on both sides of the fight and offer a coherent analysis of the confrontation’s larger significance.  All essays should use a wide-ranging combination of high quality primary and secondary sources. All essays should also be typed and double-spaced as a Word or PDF document while including a title page with descriptive title and Chicago-style footnotes (no bibliography required).  In addition to the essay, students should also submit a custom-made TimelineJS or StorymapJS on their chosen battle subject as an appendix.  Well-designed timelines or storymaps can receive up to 5 extra-credit points.  Additional information and guidance will be available on the annotated assignment guidelines at the course site. Both essay and timeline link should be submitted by email to Prof. Pinsker by 5pm on the due date.  Student work will be graded on research effort, depth of analysis and prose quality. Late essays will be penalized up to 5 points per day.

Campaign Essay

By MONDAY, APRIL 27th [REVISED] students will submit a 6 to 8 page narrative essay that describes a major political, social or military campaign from the broader Civil War era (1840 to 1880).  Each essay should provide background and context for the campaign, key narrative details and a coherent assessment of significance.  Political campaigns might focus on major election contests, social campaign might focus on attempted reform movements, like integrating women into the war effort, or military campaigns might focus on a key sequence of battles or maneuvers.  All essays should use a wide-ranging combination of high quality primary and secondary sources. All essays should also be typed and double-spaced as a Word or PDF document while including a title page with descriptive title and Chicago-style footnotes (no bibliography required).  In addition to the essay, students should also submit an appendix that includes brief biographical profiles of up to a dozen key figures with a short list of top sources for each figure and a properly captioned and credited image.  Additional information and guidance will be available on the annotated assignment guidelines at the course site. Both essay and biographical appendix should be submitted by email to Prof. Pinsker by 5pm on the due date.  Student work will be graded on research effort, depth of analysis and prose quality. Late essays will be penalized up to 5 points per day.

 

Campaign Project

By Monday, May 4th, students will be required to build a multi-media teaching website (in the free platform Weebly) that analyzes a political, social or military campaign from the Civil War era.  Websites should build out revised content from the Campaign Essay and include at least three main pages (beyond a home page):  a background page, a narrative page, and a key participants page. The home page should include a brief abstract, an essential question which organizes the learning goals of the site and a brief “About the Author” section.   All sites should include text with Chicago-style footnotes, and supplemented with properly credited and captioned images.  Students should also try to create and embed well-developed multi-media resources at their sites –such as online maps,  timelines, podcasts, or videos.    Websites may also incorporate multi-media elements from external sources, but students must acknowledge and properly credit all of those sources.  Late projects will be penalized up to 5 points per day.

 

Grade Distribution

Class Participation                  20 percent

Escape Narratives                  20 percent

Battle Narratives                     20 percent

Campaign Essays                  20 percent

Campaign Projects                 20 percent

 

Day Date Discussion Topic Reading Assignment
Tuesday 1/21 Methods & Expectations
Thursday 1/23 Dickinson and the Civil War Era Dickinson & Slavery
PART 1  –COMING OF WAR

 

Tuesday 1/28 Constitution & Slavery Foner, ch. 2 + Arguing over slavery
Thursday 1/30 Abolitionism & Vigilance Foner, chaps. 1 + 3
Tuesday 2/4 Sectionalism in the 1840s (McKim video) Foner, chap. 4 + Essential (Morrison)
Thursday 2/6 Compromise of 1850 (McAllister video) Foner, chap. 5 + Wingert site
Thursday 2/6 REQUIRED LECTURE: Ibram Kendi ATS, 7pm
Tuesday 2/11 Underground Railroad // Foner video + Record of Fugitives + Harriet trailer Foner, chap. 6-7 + UGRR site
Thursday 2/13 Political Crisis of the 1850s // Old Courthouse + Doy Stampede Foner, chap. 8 + Lincoln’s Writings
Tuesday 2/18 Dred Scott Case // Taney video Huebner article + Civil War site
Thursday 2/20 Secession Crisis // Buchanan video Varon, Intro +  Essential (Woods)
Monday 2/24 Escape narratives due By 5pm
PART 2 –CIVIL WAR

 

Tuesday 2/25 1861-2:  War Begins

At Dickinson // With the Fremonts // From Conway’s Perspective

Varon, chap. 1-2 (pp. 23-77)
Thursday 2/27 NO CLASS
Tuesday 3/3 1862:  Peninsula Campaign // Army organization Varon, chap. 3 (pp. 78-102)
Thursday 3/5 1862:  Emancipation Campaign Varon, chap. 3 (pp. 103-18) + Emancipation site
 
Tuesday 3/10 SPRING RECESS
Thursday 3/12 SPRING RECESS
Tuesday 3/17 NO CLASS
Thursday 3/19 NO CLASS
Saturday 3/21 Workshop & lecture CANCELLED
Tuesday 3/24 1863:  Toward Antietam & Winter of Discontent

VIDEO:  Do They Miss Me At Home?

Varon, chaps. 4-5 (pp. 119-83) // Discussion 3-24-20

HANDOUT:

Costs of War

Thursday 3/26 1863:  Black Soldiers & More Discontent

VIDEO:  Emancipation Proclamation

Varon, chaps. 6-7 (pp. 184-240)

Discussion 3-26-20

HANDOUT:

Emancipation Timeline

Tuesday 3/31 1863:  Gettysburg

VIDEO:  Tour of Battlefield

Varon, chap. 8 (pp. 241-256)

Discussion 3-31-20

Thursday 4/2 1863:  Vicksburg & Beyond

WEBSITE: Texas Farmer’s Civil War

VIDEO:  Black Soldiers

Varon, chap. 8 (pp. 256-282)

Discussion 4-2-20

Monday 4/6 Battle narratives due
PART 3 –WAR & RECONSTRUCTION

 

Tuesday 4/7 1863:  Planning Reconstruction

VIDEO: Lincoln’s Gettysburg Addresses

Varon, chap. 9 (pp. 285-321)

Discussion 4-7-20

Thursday 4/9 1864:  Summer of 1864

VIDEO:  Blind Memorandum

Varon, chap. 10
 
Tuesday 4/14 1864-65:  Sherman’s March

VIDEO:  From Carlisle to Andersonville

Varon, ch. 11 (pp. 322-55) + Rubin site
Thursday 4/16 1865:  Beyond Appomattox

VIDEO:  Pinsker on Women in Civil War

Varon, chap. 12 + Emancipation site
Tuesday 4/21 Understanding Andrew Johnson

VIDEO:  Foner on Reconstruction

VIDEO:  Three Historians on Reconstruction

Varon, conclusion (pp. 422-434)
Thursday 4/23 Understanding Prince Rivers

VIDEO:  Prince Rivers

Prince of Emancipation
Monday 4/27  Campaign Essays due 5pm
Tuesday 4/28 Beyond Liberty & Union 1619 Project + the critics
Thursday 4/30 Lessons & Legacies  Zoom session 10am EST
MONDAY 5/4 Campaign Projects due 5pm