Master of American History and Government
THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR AND RECONSTRUCTION
Sunday, June 19 - Friday, June 24, 2011
Instructors: Mackubin Thomas Owens and Dan Monroe
This course explores the policy and strategy of the American Civil War and the politics of Reconstruction. We begin by looking at how the war has been "remembered" over the last 140 years. Then we will examine 1) the causes and consequences of the war; the goals and policies of the respective governments; 2) political, economic and strategic factors affecting both sides; 3) domestic politics in both the North and the South; 4) the fate of civil liberties during the war; 5) Union and Confederate diplomacy; 6) the respective strategies of the Union and Confederacy; 7) leadership, civil-military relations and the "politics of command;" and 8) emancipation as a political-military strategy and the role of black soldiers.
We will also examine the operational art of the war. To this end, we will analyze a number of campaigns, paying special attention to such factors as: 1) the strategic objectives of the campaign; 2) the plan and its implementation; 3) operational factors including movements, combats, deception, intelligence, and logistics; and 4) command relations.
Finally, we will examine in some detail the course of Reconstruction, a process that began before the guns were silent and continued for over a decade following the official end of hostilities. We will trace the debate between Lincoln and the Radical Republicans while the war was still raging, and follow its evolution from presidential Reconstruction (Lincoln and Johnson) to Radical Reconstruction and its consequences for the Grant administration, the "reconstructed" states, and the civil rights of the freedmen.
Upon completion of this course, students will be able to
Students will submit a 15 page research paper/essay on an approved topic. The paper is due NLT two weeks after the end of the course.
Students auditing the course as a part of a Teaching American History Grant program must complete the readings and fully participate in the seminars during the week.
Sunday, 19 June
4:30 - 6:00 pm: Session 1 The Legacy of the Civil War and Reconstruction (Professor Owens)
Focus: There are many ways of remembering the Civil War. We see these in movies, Civil War art, and questions concerning the display of the Confederate flag. How do these different ways of remembering the war affect our views of the contemporary United States?
- Blight, Race and Reunion, Prologue, Chapters 1-2, 10. Epilogue
- Stampp, "The Tragic Legend of Reconstruction" (CP pg. 3-11)
- Blight, Race and Reunion, Remainder of the book
7:30 - 9:00 pm: Session 2
Institute Lecture (attendance required)
Monday, 20 June
9:00-10:30 am: Session 3 The Impending Crisis (Professor Owens)
Focus: There were many social, political, economic, and technological forces at work during the antebellum period. What were some of them and how did they contribute to the crisis that led to the dissolution of the Union?
- McPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom, pp. 3-201
10:50 am-12:20 pm: Session 4 Causes of the War (Professor Monroe)
Focus: What were the causes that impelled southerners to break up the Union in 1860? Was the Civil War an "irrepressible" conflict? Why or why not?
- McPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom, pp. 202-275
- Stampp, The Causes of the Civil War
4:00-5:30pm: Session 5 Influences on the Combatants: Union and Confederate Strategy (Professor Owens)
Focus: What impact did Napoleon and the French military tradition have on the two sides? How about technology? How critical was America's own military tradition? What were the goals of Union and Confederate strategies? What were the obstacles that both sides faced?
- Jones, "The European Inheritance" (CP pg. 13-41)
- Owens, "Lincoln as Commander-in-chief" (CP pg. 42-46)
- Owens, "Grant and Lee" (CP pg. 47-50)
- Epstein, "The Transformation of War" (SCP pg. 3-27)
- McMurray, Two Great Rebel Armies
Tuesday, 21 June
9:00-10:30 am: Session 6 From Limited to Total War: 1861-1863 (Professor Owens)
Focus: Although there were many bloody battles in 1861-62, most historians argue that the objectives of the war were still limited. What were these objectives and how did they affect the conduct of the war? The intensity of the war increased substantially in 1863. What conditions changed to bring about this situation?
- Owens, "From Beaver Dam Creek to Antietam: Lee's Virginia-Maryland Campaign of 1862" (CP pg. 52-56)
- Owens, "Opening the Gateway to Victory: The 1862 Campaigns in the West" (CP pg. 57-59)
- McPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom, pp. 276-674
10:50 am-12:20 pm: Session 7 Domestic Politics in the North (Professor Monroe)
Focus: Victory in the Civil War required Lincoln to maintain the unity and dominance of the Republican party. The war also facilitated monumental changes in national policy, reviving the Federalist-Whig agenda of national mercantilism. How did Lincoln and the Republicans maintain public support for their policies? What opposition challenged them? How did the American political economy develop during the war?
- McPherson, chap. 14
- Eric L. McKitrick, "Party Politics in the Union and Confederate War Effort," in The American Party Systems, ed. Chambers and Burnham (1967), 117-151. (CP pg. 61-78)
- Philip S. Paludan, "The American Civil War Considered as a Crisis in Law and Order," American Historical Review 77 (1972). (CP pg. 79-101)
4:00-5:30 pm: Session 8 Civil War Diplomacy (Professor Owens)
Focus: the founders believed that a strong union was necessary for republican government to succeed in America. President Lincoln needed to prevent European powers from exploiting the rebellion to discredit republican government and expand their power in the Western Hemisphere. How did his administration keep the great powers at bay? What were the conflicting views among and within the great powers (especially Great Britain) about the American Civil War? What problems of international law did the unclear "nature of the war" present?
- McPherson, Ch. 18.
- Norman Graebner, "Northern Diplomacy and European Neutrality," in Why the North Won the Civil War (CP pg. 103-115)
- Henry Blumenthal, "Confederate Diplomacy: Popular Notions and International Realities," Journal of Southern History 32 (1966) (CP pg. 116-137)
- Max Beloff, "Great Britain and the American Civil War," History 37 (1952) (CP pg. 138-141)
- Josiah Hernon, "British Sympathies," Journal of Southern History 33 (1967) (CP pg. 142-154)
Wednesday, 22 June
9:00-10:30 am: Session 9 Domestic Politics in the South (Professor Monroe)
Focus: The Confederate States seceded in order to preserve slavery and state sovereignty. Yet they immediately faced the need to establish a strong central government to sustain a modern war. This war threatened the very principles and institutions to which the new regime was dedicated. How did the Confederate leaders establish a new federal constitution and state governments? What domestic political problems did they encounter as they tried to carry on the war?
- McPherson, Chaps. 14 and 23
- Richard F. Bensel, "Southern Leviathan: The Development of Central State Authority in the CSA," Studies in American Political Development 2 (1986) (CP pg. 156-190)
- David Donald, "Died of Democracy," in Why the North Won the Civil War, ed. Donald (New York, 1960) (CP pg. 191-197)
- David M. Potter, "Jefferson Davis and the Political Factors in Confederate Defeat," ibid. (CP pg. 198-209)
- Alexander H. Stephens, inaugural address. (CP pg. 210-216)
- The Constitution of the Confederate States of America. (CP pg. 217-228)
10:45 am-12:15 pm: Session 10 Civil Liberties, North and South (Professor Monroe)
Focus: Lincoln claimed to be fighting a war that would lead to "a new birth of freedom," yet some claim he violated civil liberties on an unprecedented scale. How can a war for liberty be reconciled with such violations of civil liberties? Were the steps he took during the war constitutional? Why or why not? Was he ever a "dictator" as Clinton Rossiter has claimed? Compare and contrast Taney's opinion Ex parte Merryman and Lincoln's apologia in his letter to Erastus Corner and the New York Democrats.
- McPherson, Chapter 20, pp. 591-625
- Owens, "Vigilance and Responsibility: Civil Liberties During the Civil War" (CP pg. 230-235)
- Lincoln, Suspension of the Writ of Habeas Corpus (CP pg. 236)
- Taney, Ex Parte Merryman from Edward McPherson, The Political History of the United States of America during the Great Rebellion, 1860-1865 (CP pg. 237-245)
- Lincoln: Letter to Erastus Corning and Others (CP pg. 246-250)
- Fehrenbacher, "Lincoln and the Constitution" (SCP pg. 29-37)
1:45-3:15 pm: Session 11 Transition to "Total War" and War Termination (Professor Owens)
Focus: Historians argue that the conduct of the Civil War after 1863 adumbrates the total wars of the 20th century. How valid is this argument?
In retrospect, most of us conclude that Union victory was assured by at least the fall of 1864 when Sherman captured Atlanta most likely assuring Lincoln's reelection. Why did the Confederacy continue to resist? Why did they give up when they did? Could resistance have continued? Did it in fact continue during Reconstruction?
- McPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom, pp. 675-688, 718-852
- Owens, "Another Tale of May: Grant's Vicksburg Campaign" (CP pg. 252-254)
- Owens, "The Chancellorsville-Gettysburg Campaign" (CP pg. 255-264)
- Owens, "From Stones River to Chattanooga" (CP pg. 265-268)
- Owens, "Why Did the South Lose?" (CP pg. 269-271)
- Owens, "The Virginia Overland Campaign of 1864" (CP pg. 272-276)
- Owens, "The Atlanta Campaign" (CP pg. 277-281)
- Owens, "From Atlanta to Durham Station, and Spring Hill to Nashville" (CP pg. 282-288)
- Owens, "Petersburg to Appomattox" (CP pg. 289-294)
3:30 -5:30 pm: Optional Session War Movie Glory
Thursday, 23 June
9:00-10:30 am: Session 12 Emancipation and Black Troops (Professor Owens)
Focus: The Emancipation Proclamation did not free a single slave under the authority of the Federal government, e.g. the border states of Maryland, Kentucky, Delaware, or Missouri. What did it accomplish? On emancipation, Lincoln moved too slowly for the radicals and abolitionists and too fast for the Democrats. How would you assess Lincoln's actions? How do you respond to the charge that recruiting black troops only raised the stakes and hardened the position of the Confederacy? What was the effect of black recruitment? Was the outcome primarily positive or negative?
- Owens, "Emancipation as a Political-Military Strategy" (CP pg. 296-298)
- Lincoln, "Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation" (CP pg. 299-300)
- Lincoln: Annual Message to Congress (1862) (CP pg. 301-311)
- Lincoln: January 1, 1863 Final Emancipation Proclamation (CP pg. 312-313)
- Lincoln: March 26, 1863 Letter to Governor Andrew Johnson (CP pg. 314)
- Lincoln: August 5, 1863 Letter to General N.P. Banks (CP pg. 315)
- Lincoln: August 26, 1863 Letter to James C. Conkling (CP pg. 316-318)
- Lincoln: March 13, 1864 Letter to Governor Michael Hahn (CP pg. 319)
- Lincoln: October 10, 1864 Letter to Henry W. Hoffman (CP pg. 320)
- Lincoln, "Order of Retaliation" (CP pg. 321)
- Lincoln, "To Stephen A. Hulburt" (CP pg. 322)
- Lincoln, "To Nathaniel Banks" (CP pg. 323)
- Lincoln: Annual Message to Congress (1864) (CP pg. 324-333)
- Frederick Douglass, "Condition of the Country" (February 1863) (CP pg. 334-336)
- Douglass, "Men of Color, To Arms!" (Mar 1863) (CP pg. 337-338)
- Allen Guelzo, Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation
- Dudley Taylor Cornish, The Sable Arm
- Douglass, "Oration in Memory of Abraham Lincoln" (SCP pg. 39-45)
- Fehrenbacher, "Only His Stepchildren: Lincoln and the Negro" (SCP pg. 46-56)
10:45 am-12:15 pm: Session 13 Lincoln's Rhetoric of the Civil War and Reconstruction (Professor Monroe)
Focus: After the Emancipation Proclamation, how does Lincoln justify the prosecution of the war? What do his public and private statements indicate about how he intends to restore or reconstruct the American union? Why does he reject Congress' attempt at reconstruction? How does the 1864 Wade-Davis bill differ from his 1863 Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction? Why does Lincoln devote his Second Inaugural Address to explaining the meaning of the American Civil War, and how is this connected to his plans for reconstruction?
- Lincoln: Gettysburg Address (November 19, 1863) (CP pg. 340)
- Lincoln: Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction (December 8, 1863) (CP pg. 341-343)
- Lincoln: Letter to Governor Michael Hahn (March 13, 1864) (CP pg. 344)
- Wade-Davis Bill (July 2, 1864) (CP pg. 345-348)
- Lincoln: Proclamation Concerning Reconstruction (July 8, 1864) (CP pg. 349-350)
- Lincoln: Second Inaugural Address (March 4, 1865) (CP pg. 351-352)
- Lincoln: Last Public Address (April 11, 1865) (CP pg. 353-355)
- William C. Harris, With Charity for All: Lincoln and the Restoration of the Union (SCP pg )
4:00-5:30 pm: Session 14 Reconstruction I: Lincoln, Johnson, and Restoration (Professor Monroe)
Focus: How did the uncertain "nature of the war" shape the problem of defining "reconstruction"? What were the fundamental theories available? How did Lincoln and Congress differ in their views of postwar policy on both substantive and procedural grounds?
- Benedict, The Fruits of Victory, Part I, chapters 1-2; Part II, chapters 1-4
- Perman, Emancipation and Reconstruction, Chapter 1
- McPherson, 698-717, 838-44
Friday, 24 June
9:00-10:30 am: Session 15 Reconstruction II: Moderate Congressional Reconstruction (Professor Monroe)
Focus: What was the principal reason for and elements of congressional reconstruction policy up to the Fourteenth Amendment? How did they define the extent and limits of "civil rights"?
- Benedict, The Fruits of Victory, Part I, chapter 3; Part II: chapters 5-10
- Perman, Emancipation and Reconstruction, Chapter 2
10:50 am-12:20 pm: Session 16 Reconstruction III: Radical Congressional Reconstruction (Professor Owens)
Focus: What caused Congress to turn to a more radical Reconstruction policy? How "radical" was Radical Reconstruction? What did it do and fail to do?
- Benedict, The Fruits of Victory, Part I, Chapters 4-7; Part II: Chapters 11-21
1:30-3:00 pm: Session 17 Reconstruction IV: Restoration and the Court (Professor Monroe)
Focus: How did the "redemption" of the former Confederate states come about? How faithfully did the Supreme Court interpret the Reconstruction amendments and statutes? How did its interpretation change over time, and reflect changing attitudes about race and federal power in the late 19th century?
- Benedict, "Preserving Federalism: The Conservative Basis of Radical Reconstruction," Journal of American History 61 (1974), 65-90
- Benedict, "Preserving Federalism: Reconstruction and the Waite Court," Supreme Court Review 1978, 39-79
- Slaughterhouse Cases, 83 U.S. 36 (1973) (CP pg. 357-361)
- Civil Rights Cases, 109 U.S. 3 (1883) (CP pg. 362-367)
- Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537 (1896) (CP pg. 368-374)