420: Unit 1

History 420: United States, 1861-1941, Winter, 2022-23

Part I, Civil War & Post-War America

Intro | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

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

READ: 420 Docs, 2-8, 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.

Here is a link to the video we watched in class yesterday.

3. Emancipation goes forward.

READ: 420 Docs, 8-14, 29-42. 

Pay attention to what Lincoln sees as pros and cons of issuing the Emancipation Proclamation in his meeting with clergy.  What, if anything, did the conduct of black soldiers have to do with emancipation? Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address at the dedication of a cemetery for soldiers killed fighting for the Union cause?  How does Lincoln define that cause.  Has there been a change in his defining war aims since the first Inaugural? Is Lincoln leading or following Northern opinion?

4. The war ends, Reconstruction begins

READ: 420 Docs, 42-46 and the Reconstruction timeline, just 1861-1865.  And the Extra handout from Yawp on Reconstruction, 1-7 (to "spritual desires") and 8-10 (from "Now as Congress debated" to the first paragraph break on p. 10).

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. The war itself

READ: Excerpts from James M. McPherson, "This Mighty Scourge"  (I handed them out to you during class #3); and the one-page quote of Gen. Sherman.

How did the Union win the Civil War?

6. Reconstruction ends

READ: 420 Docs, 47-54; 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?

7. Paper due.  RELEASE TIME.  THE CLASS DOES NOT MEET.  Please drop a hard copy in the box at my classroom before the end of class period number 7. You don't need a title page, but please put a heading in the top right corner of page 1.  Include Name, format, and word count. Here is the prompt. ALSO, PLEASE READ THE HISTORY DEPARTMENT'S NEW ACADEMIC HONESTY STATEMENT.

8. Post War America: The Rise of Industry.  

READ: The American Yawp (your textbook, Vol. 2, henceforth AY): 2-9; 56-61

420 Docs, 55-69

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.

9. DooHicky Inc.

READ: Extra Handout: Richard White, The Republic for which It Stands, excerpts, pp. 237-243 (Section IV) and review the reading in Yawp from class #8 to make sure you understand terms relevant to corporations and industry and economic growth. 

We will work on the recipe for industrial success.  Important ingredients: Taylorism; efficiency; productivity; advertising; mechanization; division of labor; economies of scale; mergers; trusts; managers; limited liability; stock; stock exchange; dividends; capital; profits; capitalists; robber barons; tarrif; invention factories; free labor; wage labor; contract freedom; eight-hour day; strikes; competition; real wages; deflation; permanent working class; greenbacks.

10. More on Industrial America

READ: Richard White, The Republic for which It Stands excerpt, pp. 243 to the bottom of 248 and 250 from "In the South" to 252; and 477-481 and one paragraph on p. 217 on sectors of the economy.

More ingredients to pour into the industrial economy: financiers; capital accumulation; bond issues; brokers; speculators; call loans; bank runs; panics; government subsidies.  

A format watched the film during class #9.  You will do the DooHicky, Inc. exercise during class first day back from the break.


11. Industrial labor

READ AY: 1-2, 9-13, 56-58, 61-65.

420 Docs, 70-77 (bottom)

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 to his boss was sorely misguided.  

12. The West (it is important AS ALWAYS that you read the entire assigment below)

RESEARCH (by reading Wikipedia): Students #1&2: Rain Follows the plow; Students #3&4: John Wesley Powell; Students #5&6: 100th Meridian; Student #7&8: Salton Sea; Students #9&10: Great American Desert. Students #11&12: Transcontinental RR.  Contact your partner and collaborate on the research assignment, explained below. Other: Ogallala aquifier; Colorado River; Colorado River and Mexico; Latest on Colorado River.  Desert Land Act of 1877; National Reclamation Act of 1902; Carey Act of 1894; Irrigation--just American West under Modern History. Subsidence of the San Joaquin Valley. Latest on sharing the Colorado River; the latest on groundwater (aquifers).

READ: Yawp, 51-52 and the brief excerpt from Michael Sandel, The Tyranny of Merit, which I sent you via email.

SKIM: The rest of Yawp, chapter 17, with attention to the key terms from that chapter listed here.

For the research bit, you don't necessarily have to master the entire topic--focus in on the part that's relevant to the history of the West as discussed in Yawp-17.  Your goal is two-fold: 1. Convince the class, that to understand the history of the American west, you need to know something about your topic. 2. email me an image from the Wikipedia entry or elsewhere on the internet, that helps to illustrate your point. I'll project it during the class. 

As you do the readings consider:  Is higher education an appropriate substitute for the Great American Frontier?

13. Politics of the Gilded Age

READ Yawp, 13-24 & 65-71

420 Docs, 77-93 & 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