Dred Scott
Roger B. Taney
Harriet Beecher Stowe
John C. Calhoun
Union Soldier
Confederate Soldier
Charles Sumner
Andrew Johnson
Mary Todd Lincoln
John Wilkes Booth
History 312: Civil War and Reconstruction

| History 312 Page | The Course | Readings | Assignments |
| Grading | Attendance | Schedule | Student Web Sites |


Exams: All exams will be essay exams. Three exams will be given during the course of the semester. Each of these exams will cover about one-third of the course material and each will each count for 25 percent of the studentís final grade. The first two exams have been tentatively scheduled for February 21 and March 31. The third exam will be given during the final exam period on Friday, May 5, at 3:00-5:00

Civil War Web Sites: In the last five years, the Internet has emerged rapidly to join print publications and oral presentations as important media for the presentation of scholarship. Accordingly, students need to become better acquainted with methods and issues related to the presentation of scholarship via the World Wide Web.

Each student in History 312 will research some topic related to the sectional crisis of 1844-77 and present their findings in scholarly form on the course web site. Course examinations will include questions drawn from the student web sites. More detailed in-structions will be given later in the semester about the mechanics of creating web pages and about other issues related to the presentation of scholarship in electronic rather than printed format.

The web site will count for 25 percent of the studentís final grade. A list of suggested subjects can be found below. Students may, with the professorís permission, pick a subject which is not listed below. Students must pick the subject of their report and have the subject approved by Dr. Tallant by January 24.

SUGGESTED SUBJECTS FOR CIVIL WAR WEB SITES: The following is a partial listing of topics related to the sectional crisis of 1844-77 for use in student web sites. (This list is not intended to be a comprehensive listing of the most important topics of the Civil War era. It is intended to provide coverage of several important topics which time constraints prevent us from covering in sufficient detail.) Students may, with Dr. Tallantís permission, pick a subject which is not listed below. The date listed in the left column is the date the web page for a particular topic is due.

WEEKS 4-5 (Feb. 7-Feb. 18): 4 reports
  • Feb. 7: The Free Soil Party - Antislavery third party, 1848-54, which was a forerunner of the Republican party.
  • Feb. 7: The Anthony Burns Affair (1854) - Violent effort by northerners to rescue a fugitive slave held prisoner in the federal courthouse in Boston.
  • Feb. 7: Prigg v. Pennsylvania (1842) - Case in which the Supreme Court ruled that the enforcement of the fugitive slave clause of the constitution was a federal rather than state responsibility.
  • Feb. 7: The Nashville Convention - Meeting organized by militant southern secessionists during the California Crisis to threaten disunion.
  • Feb. 7: The Christiana Raid (1851) - Episode in which a group of black men had a gunfight with a slaveholder and several associates who were trying to arrest two fugitive slaves.
  • Feb. 9: The Ostend Manifesto (1854) - Secret document issued by the pro-southern U.S. ambassadors to Britain, France, and Spain which declared the right of the U.S. to seize Cuba.
  • Feb. 9: Filibustering - Efforts of primarily pro-southern paramilitary groups in the 1850s to seize control of lands in Latin America and the Caribbean, often for the sake of expanding American slavery.
  • Feb. 9: Efforts By Southerners to Reopen the African Slave Trade In the 1850s-Fueled by growing proslavery militancy and rising slave prices, some of the south's most prominent men urged the resumption of the African slave trade, illegal since 1807 and largely accepted without controversy by southerners before the 1850s.
  • Feb. 9: Margaret Garner Affair (1856) - Episode in which a fugitive slave, Margaret Garner, tried to kill her children rather than see them returned to slavery. This story served as the basis of Toni Morrison's novel and movie Beloved.
  • Feb. 11: The Lincoln-Douglas Debates (1858) - A series of widely publicized debates between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas during the Illinois senatorial election of 1858. The debates made Lincoln a national figure of presidential stature and, perhaps, ruined Douglas' chances of winning the White House.
  • Feb. 11: Ableman v. Booth (1859) - Court case involving the arrest of abolitionist Sherman Booth for leading a raid to free an imprisoned fugitive slave. In the case the northern state of Wisconsin tried to overturn federal authority using states rights while southerners upheld federal authority over states rights.
  • Feb. 11: The Constitutional Union Party - Third party formed primarily by former Whigs from the Upper South to promote national unity during the presidential election of 1860.
  • Feb. 14: The Confederate Constitution - The founding document of the Confederacy, the CSA Constitution took the words of the US Constitution and added to them stronger protections for slavery and interesting innovations in the mechanics of government which are much admired today by constitutional scholars.

WEEKS 6-8 (Feb. 21-Mar. 10): 4 reports
  • Feb. 25: The Alabama Claims and the Treaty of Washington - Major diplomatic dispute between the U.S. and Britain which grew out of the building of ships for the Confederacy in British ship yards.
  • Feb. 25: The Trent Affair (1861) - Diplomatic crisis between the U.S. and Britain caused by the seizure of two Confederate diplomats from a British mail ship by the U.S. navy.
  • Feb. 28: Indian Wars during the Civil War and Reconstruction - Efforts to subdue the Indians continued unabated during the Civil War, with many of the troops coming from the ranks of black Union Army veterans-the famous "buffalo soldiers."
  • Mar. 1: The Gettysburg Address (1863) - Lincoln's famous and inspirational speech which voiced Union war aims and, some would say, transformed both the North's concept of Union and the very way in which Americans spoke the English language.
  • Mar. 3: Prisoner of War Camps of the Union and the Confederacy, Including the Issue of Prisoner Exchange - The living conditions of POWs on both sides was poor. The situation was made worse by the breakdown of the prisoner exchange system in 1863, by which POWs held by both sides had previously received freedom.
  • Mar. 6: The Army of Northern Virginia (Confederacy) - The Confederate Army stationed primarily in Virginia which was commanded through most of the war by Robert E. Lee.
  • Mar. 6: The Army of the Potomac (Union) - The Union Army fighting primarily in Virginia which was commanded by a variety of commanders, ending with Ulysses S. Grant.

WEEKS 10-11 (Mar. 20-Mar 31): 3 reports
  • Mar. 24: The Hampton Roads Peace Conference (1865) - Conference between Abraham Lincoln and representatives of the Confederacy which attempted unsuccessfully to bring the war to a peaceful conclusion.
  • Mar. 24: Desertion as a Problem in Civil War Armies - A problem for both armies during the Civil War, desertions reached epidemic proportions in the Confederate Army in the last year of fighting and significantly contributed to the Confederate defeat.
  • Mar. 24: Religious Revivals in Civil War Armies - An often neglected topic in Civil War history, both armies experienced significant episodes of religious revivals. The fusion of religious belief and patriotism promoted by the revivals seems to have provided an important foundation for renewed social reforms, including the effort to grant rights to former slaves, in the North and the postwar mythology of "The Lost Cause" in the South.
  • Mar. 27: The New York Draft Riots (1863) - The most significant episode of rioting in American history, prompted by efforts to draft men into the Union Army, which now had the added job of freeing the slaves. Involving largely Irish-American workingmen, the riots targeted for destruction the African-American sections of New York City.
  • Mar. 27: The Economic Reforms of Northern Congressional Republicans - Republicans shaped the Union's economic policy during the war, using the federal government as an active agent to promote economic prosperity and to benefit the interests of manufacturing, commerce and the North. Reforms included the Legal Tender Act and the National Banking Act (reforming the currency and banking system), the creation of the Land Grant College system, the Homestead Act, the highly protectionist Morrill Tariff, and the funding of the Transcontinental Railroad.
  • Mar. 27: The Copperhead Movement - Confederate sympathizers and antiwar Democrats in the North during the Civil War.
  • Mar. 27: The St. Albans Raid (1864) - Episode in which Confederate agents operating out of Canada robbed the banks of St. Albans, Vermont, stealing $200,000, and attempted to burn resort hotels in New York state.

WEEKS 12-13 (Apr. 3-Apr. 14): 3 reports
  • Apr. 7: United States Sanitary Commission and the Christian Commission - Important civilian relief organizations which provided food, medical care, clothing, and other benefits to Union soldiers. These organizations gave rise to significant efforts after the Civil War to improve public health and led to the formation of the American Red Cross.
  • Apr. 7: Women's Roles in the Civil War - Women played an important role in the outcome of the Civil War, replacing many men in the operation of farms and factories. One-third of the industrial workforce during the war was made up of women. Women played important roles as teachers and nurses during the war, transforming those previously male professions into largely female occupations. When the war was substantially lost for the Confederacy, southern women also encouraged desertion from the Army, perhaps hastening the end of the war.
  • Apr. 7: The Use of Black Troops in the Union Army - Overcoming the initial prejudice against using African Americans in the Army, the Union after 1862 began to use large numbers of black troops. Wartime military service gave blacks the opportunity to fight for the freedom of their race, to diminish the prejudices of white northerners, and to build support in the North for black rights after the war.
  • Apr. 10: The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln - This topic includes the John Wilkes Booth's conspiracy to assassinate Vice-President Andrew Johnson and Secretary of State William H. Seward.
  • Apr. 12: Gone With the Wind as History - How well does this famous novel and book portray the history of the Civil War and Reconstruction eras?
  • Apr. 12: The Share-crop and Crop lien systems - The agricultural systems which emerged in the postwar South as replacements for slavery. Under these systems, black labor again came to be controlled by white plantation owners, many of whom were former slave masters.
  • Apr. 14: The Freedmen's Bureau - Agency of the federal government whose most significant role was to help former slaves to make the transition to freedom.

WEEKS 14-15 (Apr. 17-Apr. 28): 3 reports
  • Apr. 19: The "Black-and-Tan" Conventions - The southern state constitutional conventions mandated by the Congressional Reconstruction Acts of 1867-68 in which newly enfranchised blacks played an important role.
  • Apr. 19: Scalawags - Native southern whites who became Republicans after the Civil War.
  • Apr. 19: Carpetbaggers - Northerners who moved south after the Civil War. Many carpetbaggers played leadership roles in the building of the Republican party in the South during Reconstruction.
  • Apr. 24: The Crédit Mobilier Scandal - Bribery scandal involving many prominent Republican congressmen
  • Apr. 26: The Colfax Massacre (1873) - Episode in which armed groups of whites and blacks fought for control of the Reconstruction government of Louisiana. Many of the blacks were murdered in cold blood after their surrender to the whites.
  • Apr. 26: The Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) - Organization of Union Army veterans which became a major political force during Reconstruction and the Gilded Age.

Make-Up Assignments: Students will be allowed to make up missed assignments only with the consent of the professor. Ordinarily, the professor will accept make-up assignments only in cases of unavoidable student absences, such as those caused by illness or by a death in the immediate family. Students may be required to document the causes of their absences before the make-up work will be accepted by the professor.

| History 312 Page | The Course | Readings | Assignments |
| Grading | Attendance | Schedule | Student Web Sites |

Other Departmental Courses in American History and Civilization:
| AMS 250 | HIS 223 | HIS 225 | HIS 227 | HIS 306 |
| HIS 308 | HIS 310 | HIS 312 | HIS 314 | HIS 318 | HIS 325 |
| HIS 338 | HIS 426 | HIS 430 | HIS 432 | HIS 470 | HIS 475 |

| This page was last updated on 1/30/99. | Return to Top of Page | Site Map |

Dr. Harold D. Tallant, Department of History, Georgetown College
400 East College Street, Georgetown, KY 40324, (502) 863-8075
E-mail: htallant@georgetowncollege.edu.

Dr. Tallant's Classes
The American Studies Major
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