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The Brief American Pageant , Sixth Edition
David M. Kennedy, Stanford University
Lizabeth Cohen, Harvard University
Thomas A. Bailey
Mel Piehl, Valparaiso University
Suggested Lecture Topics
Chapter 21
Developing The Chapter: Suggested Lecture Or Discussion Topics


  • Examine how the different political and military perspectives and respective advantages that the North and the South (see Chapter 20) brought to the war affected their respective strategies. Show why the failure of McClellan's "Peninsular Campaign" almost guaranteed a long and bloody struggle.

    REFERENCE: James M. McPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom (1988).

  • Explain why the North won the Civil War and why the South lost. The factors of military strategy, political leadership, and economic resources might be related to key turning points of the war, such as Vicksburg and Gettysburg.

    REFERENCES: Herman Hattaway and Archer Jones, How the North Won (1983); Richard E. Beringer, Herman Hattaway, Archer Jones, and William N. Still, Jr., Why the South Lost the Civil War (1986).

  • Examine the politics of the war, especially the way Lincoln gradually turned it from being strictly a "war to preserve the Union" into a war for black emancipation. Show how Lincoln first kept the war aims limited to appease the Border States but later used the Emancipation Proclamation to strengthen the North's moral position.

    REFERENCE: James M. McPherson, Ordeal by Fire: The Civil War and Reconstruction (1982).

  • Consider the role of slavery and the "race question" in the changing politics of the Civil War. The career of Frederick Douglass provides a good window on the racial question during the war.

    REFERENCE: David W. Blight, Frederick Douglass' Civil War (1989).



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