420: Unit 1

History 420: United States, 1861-1941, Winter, 2021-22

Part I, Civil War & Post-War America

Intro | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

Week 1

1. Introduction to the course.

"The comprehension of text reaches beyond words and phrases to embrace intention, motive, purpose and plan" (Sam Wineburg). As you read Lincoln's debate reply consider context and subtext and try to understand Lincoln's intentions, motives, purpose and plan.

In the next two classes we will be working on looking closely at Lincoln's motives and intentions in fighting the war and emancipating the slaves. You will find this Emancipation Timeline very useful as you seek to make sense of the events leading to Emancipation.

2. Saving the Union, emancipating the slaves

READ: 420 Docs, 1-8, 15-29.

Consider: The cause(s) of the war; Lincoln’s war aims; the strategic importance of the Border States; moral, political, military aims of the Union.

3. Redefining the War.

READ: 420 Docs, 8-14, 29-50. The book is messed up. Don't read Lincoln's Reconstruction speech or the Second Inaugural yet.

What, if anything, did the conduct of black soldiers have to do with emancipation? The two speeches are considered among the great orations of all time. Is that reputation deserved? Do these speeches tell us anything more about Lincoln's role in emancipating the slaves? It's worth reading the Gettysburg Address and the Second Inaugural very carefully. Has Lincoln changed his mind about the meaning of the war since his first Inaugural Address? Has he led or followed Northern opinion?

Week 2.

4. Lincoln and Reconstruction

READ: 420 Docs, 50-54. Don't read the last two paragraphs before "Reconstruction." And the Extra handout from Yawp on Reconstruction I gave you on Friday, 1-11.

Here is the prompt for the first paper. Look carefully at the Second Inaugural and consider Striner's claim that Lincoln was a moral visionary. When the Civil War ends, the North has a lot of decisions to make about what to do with the South.

5. Reconstruction 2

READ: 420 Docs, 55-62; and the extra Yawp handout on Reconstruction, 11-18.

Also READ, at this link: Text of the 14th Amendment.

Consider: Was Reconstruction a success or a failure? Why did it end?

6. Post War America: The Rise of Industry.

READ: The American Yawp (your textbook, Vol. 2, henceforth AY): 2-6; 58-61

420 Docs, 63-77

Pretend you are a member of the working class in the late 19th century: write a five-sentence thank-you note to the owner of the factory where you are employed. Be sure to explain what you are sincerely thankful for and why he really does deserves your thanks (hint: he's not a philanthropist). Base the letter on what you know from the readings, not assumptions you might have.

Week 3

7. Paper due. When we return from break. Please drop a hard copy of in the box at my classroom first thing in the morning on that Tuesday. Class will not meet (release time). Here is the prompt.

8. Industrial labor

READ AY: 1-2, 6-13, 56-58, 61-65.

420 Docs, 78-85

Pretend you are a member of the working class in the late 19th century and write a 5-sentence note to your moronic cousin explaining why his thank-you note from our last class was sorely misguided.

9. Politics of the Gilded Age

READ Yawp, 13-24 & 65-71

420 Docs, 85-101 & In the appendix, "Roundnumberstan"

Fill out the Roundnumbersan worksheet. How is this relevant to the currency issue that the political parties were so concerned about? What are the most important differences among the Democrats, Republicans, and Populists? What was the connection between populism and race?

Intro | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4