Tuesday, January 15, 2013

H303/Civil War Syllabus (Spring 2013)

Sectionalism and Civil War, Hist303
Spring 2013
Instructor: Brad Birzer/Delp 403
Office Hours: M/T, 11-2 (generally)

Whatever [General Lee’s] feelings, they were entirely concealed from my observation; but my own feelings, which had been quite jubilant on the receipt of his letter, were sad and depressed. I felt like anything rather than rejoicing at the downfall of a foe who had fought so long and valiantly, and had suffered so much for a cause, though that cause was, I believe, one of the worst for which a people ever fought, and one for which there was the least excuse. I do not question, however, the sincerity of the great mass of those who were opposed to us.
--General U.S. Grant, April 1865

  • McPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom
  • Shaara, Killer Angels
  • Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin (Bantam edition)
  • Potter, Impending Crisis
  • Assorted handouts (probably through the above website

  • Midterm: 30%; March 7
  • Research Paper: 30%; due 5pm, April 30.
  • Final: 40%

Research Papers (*Semester Long*)
On Civil War (1848-1877) topic of your choice.   Your paper should be 15-20 pages in length.
  • The paper should be an original, well-researched, 15-20 (longer is fine) page paper in manuscript form (doubled spaced, one-inch margins, with proper footnotes and a complete bibliography).  It must be primary-source driven.  Secondary sources should be used, but, not surprisingly, only secondarily.  That is, you should employ secondary sources as guides to the bibliographic and primary sources available and as indicators of the historiographical controversies surrounding your topic.  The Mossey Library has excellent resources and some of the finest librarians—Linda Moore, for example—I have ever met.  Make sure to take advantage of their expertise.  
  • Mossey databases and resources you will find especially useful for this research project: the Western Americana collection (Yale’s entire collection on microfilm); Harper’s Online; JSTOR; America: History and Life; the New York Times; the London Times; and Nineteenth-Century Masterfile.  The Mossey also owns the complete collection of the Official Records of the War of the Rebellion
  • For the form and structure of the final paper, footnotes, and bibliography, you must use either the latest edition of Kate L. Turabian, A Manual for Writers or the Chicago Manual of Style.  The one exception to this: don’t use a title page.  Recommended: writing programs such as Scrivener and bibliographic programs such as Endnote.
  • Further and VITAL N.B.  This paper is a one-semester paper and worth almost 1/3 of your grade.  That is, I’m assigning it on day one of the course, and I expect you to begin it—at least the thinking about and research stage—immediately.  
  • Topics include any aspect of any American person, event, or idea, 1848-1877.  You DO NOT need to clear your topic with me before you choose it.  You should begin choosing a topic immediately.  I would start with a cursory read through BCF and, especially, through his excellent bibliographic essay.

Misc Rules
  1. Never enter class after it’s begun.  I may look nice, but I will not look so nice if you do this.  Call it a quirk.
  2. Don’t attend class unless you have completed the readings assigned.
  3. No side conversations in class.
  4. While you are welcome to use laptops, tablets, or netbooks for note taking, you must NEVER access the internet in any form during the class without express permission from me.  Should you text, tweet, email or access the internet in any way during the class period, you will be in violation of the honor code of the college, and I will remove you—permanently—from the class.  Additionally, type softly.
  5. Plagiarism or cheating of any kind will result in an “F” and your permanent dismissal from this class.

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