Assignment 3

Project Proposal

For our primary research project, we are going to do historical thinking by beginning with an historical object and then placing that object within the local and larger context of the Civil War.  We are using the term “historical object” rather loosely.  The object may be a diary, a page from a diary, an image from the period, a newspaper article from the period, and so on.  Or the object may be a relative — was your family involved in or impacted by the Civil War?

You may begin with any object from the Civil War —e.g., a diary, an image, a newspaper article, a piece of technology, a song, your own family — and then see how it fits into the local and the larger context of the war.  That is you can start with what interests you — personal writing, journalism, technology, music, media, family history, fiction, poetry  — and look at it through the context of the Civil War.

Or you may stumble on something of interest while exploring.  For example, you might find the following illustration by Thomas Nast.  This could take you in many different directions.  Any could make for a great final project.

1) You might explore what are the significance of the different images in the illustration?

2) How did Thomas Nast “participate” in the Civil War with his cartoons and illustrations?

3) What was the reaction to emancipation in the press and magazines in 1863?

4) How is “race” illustrated in a magazine like Harper’s or Atlantic Monthly?

Harper's Weekly, Jan 24, 1863 Clements Library, University of Michigan Permission must be received in advance, in writing, from the Director of the Clements before publication, duplication, or other use of this image.
Harper’s Weekly, Jan 24, 1863

Take time and explore the primary sources below (although you are not limited to these).  You may end up focusing on fashion or you may get caught up in a report on “The Sanitary Condition of the Army“that takes you into camp life for the average soldier.   Or a poem, “The True Herione,” about a mother sending her children off to war, may lead you to research life on the home front or Civil War poetry.  You may want to go back to Assignment 2 and follow up your research on slavery and the oral histories.

For the project proposal, we want to think back to our work on Assignment 2 and slavery and as part of the proposal we want to capture

1) all the things we “think” we know about the object,

2) what we need to find out,

3) possible research paths or sources,

4)  state a tentative topic/focus for your final project.  

You will post your proposal posted in D2L

Important: don’t hesitate to consult your instructors. The length should be 175-250 words.

We use the term “tentative” because we know your topic may change as you do your research.

Archives and Project Resources


1) Post as on D2L (175-250 words)

3) Include or link to object.

4) Write up what you think you know

5) Include possible research paths or sources

6) Include tentative final project topic/focus

7) Assignment is graded on a point scale [maximum points=5]

Image: Clements Library, University of Michigan<br />
Permission must be received in advance, in writing, from the Director of the Clements before publication, duplication, or other use of this image.<br />

One Reply to “Assignment 3”

  1. Assignment 3

    For this assignment I chose the photo below depicting fallen confederate soldiers. The reason this photo stood out to me is because I am particularly interested in the equipment used for each side in fighting the battles. My biggest curiosity is did one side have an advantage compared to the other by utilizing better equipment? Equipment like guns, artillery, submarines, railroads, map making, and communication all are thoughts that come to my mind when viewing this photo.

    When I look at this photo some things I think I know are that the most likely gun used was the Springfield Model 1861. Also, I think the importance of the cannon was paramount in the war. The cannon was the equivalent of the modern day bombs allowing for greater widespread death for the other side when using a canon compared to a gun. Also, a cannon should have allowed them to stay farther back from the enemy allowing for greater safety. Lastly, I believe the cannon also caused some accidental loss from the same side as the one shooting it because they were often used when the infantry men were fighting the enemy. When these men were in the field they could have been so close to the enemy that they were collateral damage.

    My topic: The study of military equipment in the war (guns, artillery, submarines, railroads, map making, and communication) and if it provided any side greater benefits.

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