Matt Gallman

Fall 2005

M 4:05-7:05

392-0272  x 241

CBD 310

Hours:  Wed 2:30 – 4:30 and by appt





AMH 5930

Graduate Seminar:

The American Civil War




This seminar is a cross between a standard “topical seminar” and a “research seminar.”  That is, on the one hand you will be reading some of the most interesting recent scholarship on the Civil War (as well as Grant’s Memoirs, which are not recent but a great read), and on the other hand you will write an extended piece of research on a topic of your own choosing.


In addition to Grant’s Memoir’s you will read a few monographs (White, Vorenberg, Taylor), several collections of essays, and a handful of recent articles from scholarly journals.  Much of our discussion will focus on the scholarly essay as a piece of craftsmanship:  How does the author frame the questions?  What is the evidence?  What is the argument?   I hope that these discussions will assist you in framing your own research papers.




Each student will be responsible for all of the following:




All the required books for this course should be available at Goering’s Bookstore.  You will notice that there are also several articles (from journals and collections) on the reading list.   We will have to arrange sufficient copies as the date approaches.   I may tinker with these assignments a bit as the semester progresses.



James M. McPherson and William J. Cooper, eds., Writing the Civil War:  The Quest to Understand  (Univ of South Carolina Press, 1998).
James McPherson, Drawn with the Sword: Reflections on fhe American Civil War  (Oxford, 1997).
Ulysses S. Grant, Personal Memoirs (Penguin Classic, 1999).
Gary W. Gallagher, Lee and His Generals in War and Memory  (LSU, 1998).
Joan Cashin, ed. The War Was You and Me:  Civilians in the American Civil War (Princeton UP, 2002)
Ronald C. White, Jr., Lincoln’s Greatest Speech: The Second Inaugural  (NY, Simon & Schuster, 2002).
Michael Vorenberg, Final Freedom:  The Civil War, The Abolition of Slavery, the Thirteenth Amendment  (Cambridge UP, 2001).
Robert A. Taylor, Rebel Storehouse:  Florida’s Contribution to the Confederacy (Univ of Alabama Press, 2003).


      - This grade will include early drafts and presentations on research.



 Topics and Readings


Monday           August 29                     Introduction


Monday           September 5                 Labor Day


Monday           September 12               Historiography

      McPherson and Cooper, eds., Writing the Civil War: The Quest to Understand (1998).

Read through entire book, including endnotes.  What are the most interesting topics in the recent scholarship?


Monday           September 19               The War and American Exceptionalism

McPherson, Drawn with the Sword, essays 1, 5, 7, 8, 10, 12, 14, 15.  (roughly 131 pp).

As you read each essay, consider the main arguments, the evidence, the organization, the intended audience, and your own critical perspective.


Monday           September 26               Research Plans

Carp, Benjamin L., “Nations of American Rebels: Understanding Nationalism in Revolutionary North America and the Civil War South,” Civil War History (March 2002).

Drew Gilpin Faust, "We Should Grow Too Fond of It": Why We Love the Civil War,” Civil War History  (December 2004).

Paper proposals due in class.

These proposals should include:

A central question
A research design
An overview of the historiographic context

Monday           October 3                    Grant’s Memoirs

            Ulysses S. Grant, Personal Memoirs

            McPherson, “Grant’s Final Victory,” in Drawn with the Sword, pp. 159-172.

Read Grant starting on chapter 17 (when the Civil War begins).  Read quickly, but flag passages that you’d like to discuss in class.  Don’t cheat yourself.  Give yourself enough time to read the entire Memoir.


Monday           October 10                  Lee and His Generals

Gary Gallagher, Lee and His Generals in War and Memory, essays 2-5, 7-8, 12  (roughly 150 pages).

Read for content and for how Gallagher has constructed his essays.


Monday           October 17                  The Citizens’ War:  The South

Joan Cashin, ed., The War Was You and Me:  Civilians in the  American Civil War (200).  Read essays 1-4, 6, 13, 15  (about 175 pp).

Come to class with notes on each essay:  what are the questions, what is the evidence, which are more persuasive etc.


Monday           October 24                  The Citizens’ War: The North

Cashin, ed., The War Was You and Me. Read essays 8-12, 14 (about 150 pp).


Monday           October 31                 Abraham Lincoln

            Ronald C. White, Lincoln’s Greatest Speech: The Second Inaugural (2002).

            Presentations on Lincoln books.   Assignment to be discussed in class.


Monday           November 7                 The Civil War as a Crisis in Gender

Schultz, Jane E., “Seldom Thanked, Never Praised, and Scarcely Recognized: Gender and Racism in Civil War Hospitals,” Civil War History (September 2002).

Wells, Cheryl A., Battle Time: Gender, Modernity, and Confederate Hospitals Journal of Social History  35 (Winter 2001), pp. 409-428.

LeeAnn Whites,  “The Civil War as a Crisis in Gender,” in Clinton and Silber, Divided Houses:  Gender and the Civil War (1992).  Reprinted in Whites, Gender Matters (2005).


Monday           November 14               The Thirteenth Amendment

Michael Vorenberg, Final Freedom: The Civil War, the Abolition of Slavery, and the Thirteenth Amendment  (2001).


Monday           November 21               Who Freed the Slaves?

James McPherson, “Who Freed the Slaves?” in Drawn With The Sword, 192-207.

Ira Berlin, “Who Freed the Slaves? Emancipation and Its Meaning,” in David Blight and Brooks Simpson, eds, Union and Emancipation:  Essays on Politics and Race in the Civil War Era (1997).

John David Smith, “Let Us All Be Grateful That We Have Colored Troops That Will Fight,” in John David Smith, ed., Black Soldiers in Blue: African American Troops in the Civil War Era  (2002).

      Drafts of Essays due in class – distribute essays to classmates for comments


Monday           November 28               Florida in the Civil War

            Robert A. Taylor, Rebel Storehouse: Florida’s Contribution to the Confederacy (2003).

      Presentations on Research;  comments from classmates


Monday           December 5                 Was the Civil War a Total War?

            Mark E. Neely, “Was the Civil War a Total War?” Civil War History (December 2004).

McPherson, “From Limited War to Total War, 1861-1865,” in Drawn With The Sword, 66-86.

      Presentations on Research;  comments from classmates


Monday           December 12               Final essays due in my office by 12:00