Argue that either the Union or Confederacy was better positioned to win the war on December 25, 1861.

One of the greatest challenges of writing history is to understand the past in the same way that people at the time understood it. It is almost impossible to do. Whether we consciously do it or not, we project our own worldview onto the actions of historical actors, sometimes lionizing them, other times villainizing them. But to do so drifts away from the task of trying to put yourself inside the minds of people living at the time and trying to perceive the world as they saw it.

This first essay asks you to try to put your mind in the past and to forget for a moment how things actually turn out. (This is impossible, but do your best.) Pretend that it is coming up on Christmas of 1861. The war itself has been going on for only 8 months and it is becoming clear that it will last longer than many people had predicted. But there remains a great question as to how the war will turn out. I want you to consider this particular moment, before the battles of 1862 begin, and take and argue for a position – who is more likely to win at this specific point in history?

Imagine you are about to appear on one of those awful cable news shows where four people shout at each other for an hour with commercial breaks. You need to show up with your best arguments, backed by evidence, to convince the viewing audience that the other three shouting panelists are wrong and you are right. It doesn’t matter what side you take in this argument – a solid argument can be made for the probability of either northern or southern victory in the war at the point of Christmas, 1861. (I would argue that inevitable Union victory in the way we understand it to take form probably doesn’t fully emerge until late December of 1864!) The goal here isn’t to predict HOW the victory of whatever side takes place, but to articulate the reasons why one side or the other enjoys an advantage over the other.

Again, the side you pick does not matter. What I am looking for here is a close look at the sources you have for this class (the lectures, Masur, Escott, McPherson, the Canvas pages and their associated links, the discussion boards, and our first film.) If you use sources from outside of this class or it seems that you are lifting your argument from elsewhere I will strike through it when I grade it.  I want you to avoid preconceived notions about what this answer should be and to consider fully the evidence I’ve placed before you.

Essays should do the following:

  • Argue that either the Union or Confederacy was better positioned to win the war on December 25, 1861.
  • To support this assertion with at least four (4) fully articulated reasons why what you argue is true.
  • Support for these assertions by drawing upon our course materials (listed above) with specific references.
  • Be no shorter than 850 words and no longer than 1100 words.
  • Employ effective writing, spelling, and punctuation.

Balance: Content (the argument itself) is 70% of your grade. Writing, following the directions in terms of length is 30% of the grade.

Your essay MUST be written in Google Docs and be submitted using a shared Google Docs set to allow me to edit,  but also (especially) with the link to the shared document posted in your assignment submission in Canvas. I will not accept or grade any assignments shared as attachments in PDF, docx, pages, etc. Google Docs simply gives me a superior and more seamless way to offer you feedback on your work.


You do not need to use footnotes or supply a works cited page. I know the materials being used. Again, do not use outside materials to answer this essay. If you pull a direct quote from any of the books include a parenthetical citation with the author and page number. For instance “Lincoln was cool.” (Escott, 29) If you cite directly the lecture do so this way: “Smart quote” (lecture 1). If you cite a line from the film, do so in context. “In the Red Badge of Courage, the boy…” If you cite a classmate’s discussion post, note it thus: (Susie Classmate, Week 1).

Please write essaying GOOGLE DOCS as stated above.

Below is the attachments of readings from week 1 & two, the red badge of courage movie, as well as the lectures for you to use as resources while writing this essay. The resources in the attachment have to be used in order to write this essay not nothing looked up online. the essay have to contain information that we went over which is in the attachments below that should be related to this essay!


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