Today in my survey class we examined newspaper editorials from across the country in the wake of John Brown’s raid at Harpers Ferry in October 1859. The goal of the lesson was to learn how to interpret newspapers and to get a sense of the extent of the sectional divide over Brown’s actions. Students tracked assessments of Brown that bridged North and South and ways in which they diverged. Even more interesting was watching them come to terms with the fact that not everyone in each region agreed on what Brown’s actions meant. Students struggled quite a bit with an editorial from Nashville, Tennessee. Continue reading
Anyone who believes that American slavery was on the decline on the eve of the Civil War deserves to be publicly mocked. Jon Stewart and company highlight some of the more outrageous things that FOX News’s Andrew Napolitiano has said about Lincoln in recent years. Not sure I like his new hair color. Can’t wait to use this in my Civil War class tomorrow as we further explore Lincoln’s evolving views on race and emancipation.
It might be helpful to place the destruction wrought by Sherman alongside the suffering of United States soldiers at Andersonville Prison, which commenced with its sesquicentennial commemoration today. One of my readers reminded me that there was likely much more suffering within the walls of the prison than that caused by Sherman throughout Georgia in 1864. On the one hand it’s a perspective that I never considered while at the same time it means very little to me. Continue reading