student learning objectives of ualr history department – upper


History 3355-U.S.Civil War and Reconstruction

Dr. Moneyhon

Autumn Term, 2015

Office Hours: by appt.

Phone 569-8396 or


This course examines one of the more traumatic moments in American history, the nation's Civil War. The war reflects a variety of tensions that existed in American life. These range from the conflict between modernism and premodernism to minority versus majority rights. We will examine these tensions, their role in bringing about the war, determining the course of the war, and the war's outcome.

Chronologically, the course focuses on three periods. The first is 1850-1861, examining the coming of the war. The second, the war itself, 1861-1865. The third looks at Reconstruction, 1865-1876. The course will study military history but also a broad range of social, economic, and political topics.


The text for this course is James M. McPherson and James K. Hogue, Ordeal by Fire: the Civil War and

Reconstruction (Boston: McGraw Hill, 2009). There also will be additional reading assignments. These will be available on Blackboard. In addition, most of the articles are available in journals located in the Ottenheimer



Your grade will be based on two examinations plus written work on five assigned readings. Each written assignment will count 5 percent of the course grade. The first examination will count towards 30 percent of your course grade; the final will be 35 percent. The exams will be essay in style, based upon the questions addressed in lectures and your readings.



Demonstrate a significant degree of knowledge about both United States and World history through completion of a broad selection of courses in history.



Ask appropriate historical questions that demonstrate an understanding of the discipline of history and distinguish it from those of other disciplines.

Distinguish between primary sources and secondary sources used in the writing of history and know


how to use and analyze each appropriately. Students will thus be able to: a.

Analyze a primary source as a product of a particular historical context; b.

Respond critically to a secondary source, taking into account the primary sources used by the historian, the historian’s methodology, the logic of the argument, and other major interpretations in the field.

Present historical analysis and arguments in a clear written form, including the ability to construct an argument by marshalling evidence in an appropriate and logical fashion.


Write a research paper that asks a significant historical question, answers it with a clear thesis and a logical argument, supports it with both primary and secondary sources documented according to the standards of the Chicago Manual of Style, and is written in clear and artful prose with the grammar and spelling associated with formal composition.


Aug. 18



Sectional Differences – Almost from the beginning of the national experience, differences appeared to exist between the northern and southern states. Examining the interplay between these regions up to the Mexican War, what do you think accounts for these tensions? ( OBF, 5-42 ).


Sept. 1










Slavery and Abolitionism -- Abolitionism is considered a major factor in prewar sectional tension. Discuss the movement and explain what it represented in American society. ( OBF, 43-58 ).

The Struggle Over the Territories -- Discuss the territorial conflict in the 1850s. What did this conflict add to the breakup of 1861? ( OBF, 59-124 ).


Crisis in 1860 -- Examine the election of 1860 and discuss exactly how it appears to have produced Southern secession. ( OBF, 125-138 ).

Secession and the Northern Response -- By February, 1861, seven southern states had seceded and created a Southern Confederacy. Was a war at this time inevitable? In answering this question discuss the steps taken that led ultimately to the opening of the war at

Fort Sumter. ( OBF,139-160 ).


War History

Richard N. Current, “The Confederacy and the First Shot,”

, 7 (1961), 357-68.



Organizing the Armies -- Assess the relative effectiveness of North and South in mobilizing their armies in 1861. Which side did the better job? ( OBF, 179-200, 201-226 ).

The Common Soldier -- A common concept in 1861 was that the southern soldier would be better than the northern soldier. Compare Johnny Reb and Billy Yank and each your own conclusions. ( OBF, 386-388 ).


Tactics and Strategy in 1861 -- In 1861 both the North and the South confronted a variety of tactical and strategic problems that had to be overcome to secure victory. Discuss these problems and how each side developed an overall approach to the war to solve them.

The Face of Battle –

DOCUMENT REPORT 1: John William De Forest, "First Time Under Fire,"

Harper's Weekly , vol. 29, no. 72 (Sept. 1864), pp. 475-482. "Report of G. Weitzel,

October 29, 1862," Official Records of the War of the Rebellion, Ser. I, vol. 15 (1886), pp. 167-170. These document are available on BlackBoard. Critically analyze the above documents. Who were the authors? How do they appear to have been positioned relative to the battle? Who, given the above, should produce the more reliable account? Given our previous discussion of battle tactics and these documents, what problems do you see in producing a correct account of a battle?


The First Year of the War -- Assess the gains and losses of the two sides as a result of military and political action in 1861. ( OBF, 163-178, 227-236, 303-315 ).



Oct. 1










Foreign Affairs -- The South relied heavily in its early strategic planning on the idea that :

"King Cotton Diplomacy" would bring about European intervention. Discuss diplomacy during the war and account for the ultimate failure of "King Cotton Diplomacy." ( OBF,

237-241, 369-372 )


Lincoln versus Davis -- Compare the political leadership of Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis.

Which of the two do you consider the more effective wartime leader and why? ( OBF,

317-320, 374-377, 391-398 ).

ARTICLE REPORT 2: Erick McKitrick, “Party Politics and the

Union and Confederate War Efforts,” in William Nisbet Chambers and Walter Dean

Burnham, eds., The American Party Systems (1967), 117-51.

Confederate Highwater, 1862 -- For the Confederacy military events in the east in 1862 appeared promising. Discuss the military situation in that year, drawing your own conclusions as to the general strategic situation for the two belligerents and the realism of Southern attitudes. ( OBF, 244-282).



War in 1863 -- The year 1863 is considered by many a turning point in the military situation. What was that situation by the autumn of 1863? What were the implications of it for the two sides and especially how did the South respond? ( OBF, 327-368 ).



Southern Homefront B Some historians have considered a major problem for the South in prosecuting the Civil War to have been conditions behind its own lines. What was going on and how important was it as a source Southern weakness? ( OBF, 391-397, 408-416 ).


Worse than the Battle Field – Disease and Medical Care – The Civil War has been seen as one in which antique medical practices made hospitals as much of a killing ground as the battlefield. After examining the following documents, do you believe this is a fair assessment? Did the war see any positive change in military medicine? ( OBF, 416-424 ).

DOCUMENT REPORT 2: "Report from the Union Medical Director at the Battle of

Shiloh"; "Report of Surg. Jonathan Letterman on the Battle of Gettysburg."

Economic Implications of Modern Warfare -- Historians have long debated the implications of the

Civil War for the American economy. What effect, if any, was there? ( OBF, 399-416 ).


Emancipation -- The Emancipation Proclamation reflected a basic redirection of Northern war



Nov. 3

5 goals. Lincoln = s purpose in issuing it has been seen alternatively as a logical extension of prewar antislavery feelings and a move of military expediency. Examining your reading, what do you think is true? ( OBF,283- 302, 316-324, 426-435, 503-504 ).


George M. Frederickson, “A Man But Not a Brother: Abraham

Lincoln and Racial Equality,” Journal of Southern History , 41 (1975), 39-58.

The New Warfare, 1864


After the autumn of 1863 the North changed its basic strategy for prosecuting the war. Discuss this change and explain why it took place. What were the military results of this shift by the end of the summer of 1864? ( OBF,443-463 ).


The New Warfare, 1864-1865 – In addition to the raid, a component of the New Warfare was the concept of "Total War." Exactly what was this idea, how did it develop, and was it successful or not? ( OBF, 463-470, 477-480, 495-500 ).

The Last Campaigns, 1864-1865 -- How did the Union armies ultimately bring an end to the war?

Discuss this question in the framework of the overall Northern strategy beginning in

December, 1864. ( OBF,500-503, 504-513, 514-520 ).


10 One of the most enduring questions associated with the Civil War has been why did the North win the Civil War? Some historians have flipped the question to be why did the South lose war? Given what we have read and discussed over the past weeks, what is your answer to the age-old question concerning the war, what determined its outcome?



17 The Problem of Reconstruction -- It has been said that a conquering nation was never more generous to the conquered than was the North to the South. Is that true? What exactly were the problems of Reconstruction in 1865. ( OBF, 435-442,471-477, 513-514, 533-553 ).

19 Congress Takes Over -- Describe Congressional Reconstruction and explain the forces behind it.

( OBF, 555-567, 567-584 ).

ARTICLE REPORT 4: Michael Les Benedict, “Preserving the Constitution: The

Conservative Basis of Radical Reconstruction,” Journal of American History , 61 (1974),





Radical Reconstruction in the South—How “radical” was Reconstruction under the

Republican regimes that took control of state governments after 1868? ( OBF, 601-616 ).




Dec. 1 Plight of Black Americans – Discuss the implications of Reconstruction for black Americans.

Were their lives changed or not by the Reconstruction process? ( OBF, 624-638 ).

DOCUMENT REPORT 3: "Report Relative to the Treatment of Freeedmen,"; "Indenture Bond for

Hempstead Arkansas,"

Examine the two documents. What is the character of each document and what possible bias may be them? Evaluating the material in each, how would you describe the condition of blacks in Arkansas in the immediate post-Civil War era.

3 End of Reconstruction -- It has been said that at least in part Reconstruction ended because the

North tired of the problem. Discuss national affairs in the period 1870-1874 and examine the connection betwe with the statement. ( e n these and the situation in the South. Do you agree or disagree

OBF, 585-599, 616-621, 639-654 ).






Your written reports should demonstrate your ability to read history analytically. They should not be more than 3-4 pages in length. In doing an historical analysis, rather than simply summarizing the contents of the article, you should provide a critical commentary on the article. To that end, please consider the following questions to be answered as essential parts of any review.

1. What is the topic? This does not mean simply the specific historical subject, but also the literature that has been written about it before. Remember, there are few topics that have not been considered before. Why does this author think something else needs to be written?

2. What is the thesis? It is important to distinguish the topic from the thesis. The topic is the subject matter, which may include the historical discussion of an item. The thesis is the author's distinctive argument about the topic, in other words his interpretation.

3. How does the author argue his thesis or try to convince you it is valid? I dealing with this issue you may desire to discuss the author's organization of the article and the author's use of evidence (what type of evidence is used).

4. Finally, are there any reasons to believe that the author has a hidden bias or possesses some other point of view that may influence the conclusions? To draw conclusions on this you should try to find something out about the author. Information on when an article was written, where the author attended school, and with whom they worked are all important aspects of discovering an author's agenda. Sometimes clues may be found in the first several footnotes to an article.


An important skill in doing history and also in coping with the world in general is the ability to assess the meaning of what you hear and see. In historical scholarship this entails identifying the source of the material (who prepared the material; what was the context for the preparation of the material; what was the purpose of the material) and drawing conclusions as to its meaning. Your report should analyze each of the assigned documents and then provide an

6 informed judgment as to their basic meaning and significance. Your report should be at least 500 words in length, but no more than 1,000.


A Good Essay Has:

Good History Essays

1. An introductory paragraph that contains your thesis statement . The Thesis statement is the point you will argue in your essay. The thesis statement might simply reword the essay question into a statement. Your introductory paragraph MUST state the people, places, and historical era (usually through a reference to specific dates or centuries) that your essay will discuss.

2. A series of paragraphs that develop and explain your ideas. Each paragraph should be organized around one major idea you will argue. Each paragraph should advance your thesis. Each paragraph should have a topic sentence that moves your argument forward. The body of each paragraph should be composed of sentences that have rich historical detail.

3. A concluding paragraph will summarize your findings based on the historical evidence you have used to support your ideas. This paragraph should in some way refer to your introduction.

A Good History Essay Supports Your Ideas with Historical Evidence

1. A good history essay is ALWAYS supported with relevant historical evidence collected from class lectures and readings. By historical evidence, historians mean the specific names, dates, places, events, terms, and concepts that are pertinent to the historical problem investigated (i.e., the essay question). The content of your essay will consist of this historical evidence. This information should be accurate. You must explain all specific terms you use. Example of supporting sentence:

“The victorious Republican party clearly desired the central government to play a greater role in the nation’s economic development. Congress’s passage, in 1862, of a transcontinental railroad bill, its Homestead Act, and the National Banking Act all showed the nationalistic and centralizing tendencies of the party’s leadership.”

2. The information should always be relevant to the essay question. The point is not to write down every piece of historical information you have learned, but to select only the evidence that clearly supports your thesis. Irrelevant information will not count. You are responsible for explaining in your essay how each piece of information relates to the question. Your essay should be persuasive through your mastery of the historical evidence.

A Good Essay Is Attentive to Complexity in the Human Experience

1. Human life is complex. The information you use in your essay becomes relevant when you connect people to people, events to events, and so forth.

2. Think about continuity and change, causes and effects, and the interdependence of peoples and groups. How does one event connect to others? In time? Through individuals and groups? From one geographic area to another? Your essay should make these connections.

Other tips:

1. Use the past tense when writing.

2. Locate the people and events in time and place. Each paragraph should normally have a few specific dates in it to mark the time and sequence of events significant to the question.


Academic Integrity:

All of your work must reflect your own thoughts, words, opinions, and efforts. Cheating and plagiarism are serious offenses and reflect on your personal character and professionalism. All sources, including information gathered on the Internet, must be correctly cited in weekly assignments, papers, and essays. You should include footnotes and a bibliography in Chicago Manual of Style Humanities format in all History Department papers unless instructed

7 otherwise. It is your responsibility to ensure that you understand the definition of plagiarism, and that you avoid it.

Not knowing the definition of plagiarism is not an acceptable excuse for plagiarizing. Academic dishonesty of any kind will not be tolerated in this class, and you will receive a zero for a plagiarized assignment. If you are unclear about what constitutes academic dishonesty, please ask me, and look at section VI of the UALR student handbook.

Attendance Policy:

Because of the amount of state and federal funding received by the university and our students, the university is required to document student attendance. Attendance will be taken at each class and excessive absences will factor into your final grade. If you experience an illness or other crisis that prevents you from coming to class you must notify me within 48 hours of the first missed class. Attendance in class is essential to doing well in the course. Arrive at class on time, turn cell phones to silent and place them out of sight so that our class time is not distracted by personal matters.

Classroom Civility:

The classroom is a place for the free interchange of ideas. Keep this in mind in your interactions with fellow students and faculty. You should turn off cell phones or electronic devices when in class. You may use a computer to take notes, but not to coast the Internet while in class. The use of any such devices is considered a disruption of class.

Any disruptive behavior will result in a warning. Subsequent disruptions will lead to being dropped from the class.

Written Work:

Keep all graded written assignments until the end of the semester and you have received your grade to ensure that you have the grade that is warranted.

Critical Dates:

September 3 --First Article Report

September 17 --First Document Report

5 percent

5 percent

September 29 --Second Article Report

October 6 --Midterm Examination

October 20 --Second Document Report

5 percent

30 percent

5 percent

October 27

November 19

--Third Article Report

--Fourth Article Report

5 percent

5 percent

December 1


--Third Document Report

--Final Examination

5 percent

35 percent

Students with Disabilities:

Your success in this class is important to me, and it is the policy and practice of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock to create inclusive learning environments consistent with federal and state law. If you have a documented disability (or need to have a disability documented), and need an accommodation, please contact me privately as soon as possible, so that we can discuss with the Disability Resource Center (DRC) how to meet your specific needs and the requirements of the course. The DRC offers resources and coordinates reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities. Reasonable accommodations are established through an interactive process among you, your instructor(s) and the DRC. Thus, if you have a disability, please contact me and/or the DRC, at 501-569-3143 (V/TTY) or 501-683-7629 (VP). For more information, please visit the DRC website at .