First, aspiring to be a student of history demonstrates scholarship and an appreciation of human nature in the face of all manner of misery, so congratulations.
Second, we are a disparate little group. Today, for instance, apparently only one of you will attend class.
Third, thank the cosmos for the Internet.
Here are questions from Ken Burns' Civil War for you to discuss/answer/elaborate on in the comments:
Those in bold type are mandatory to meet expectations for this assignment. Keep in mind, those who answer first have some advantage in that their observations might be more general, though they must be correct and point in a useful direction for further discussion. Posing another question within your comment is always good, even if it feels a little contrived. The deadline for at least three contributions is this Friday, 13.April.2012. To meet expectations, begin or continue at least seven more discussions by the Monday after vacation. Feel free to get all 10 out of the way this week. Though every comment counts, do your best to write and think generously in each one.
Use your memory, the oracle Google (and a good resource), or your text for information. Use good organization, provide sources (even if you simply say, According to...), vary your sentence beginnings. Attempt to write as if a prospective boss were reading your comments.
1. Why did Wilmer McLain say the Civil War "began in his front yard and ended in [his] front parlor"?
2. What percentage of the male population died in the Civil War?
3. How did the friction between states rights and a federal government contribute to the start of the Civil War?
4. Discuss writer Shelby Foote's premise that the "Civil War defines us" as Americans.
5. Discuss Thomas Jefferson's comment that to keep slavery in the U.S. was like "holding a wolf by the ears.."
6. If one in seven Americans were owned by another American and essentially no one in the northern states held slaves, discuss the complexion (literal and figurative) of the population in the South. How did slavery remain as part of the culture?
7. Who is Alexis de Toqueville? How did his 1830s era observations and books inform the non-slave owning world of what America was like?
8. Who was John Brown?
9. Who was William Lloyd Garrison?
10. Who was Elijah Lovejoy?
11. What is meant by "Bleeding Kansas"?
12. How did Southern Militias play a part in the rise of the Confederacy?
13. Who was Hannibal Hamlin?
14. How did the presidential election of 1860 lay the groundwork for Civil War?
15. What state was the first to pass a secession bill? What significance does this have today, if any?