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  1. 3 pages minimum   Double-spaced   12-point type


    You may use For Cause & Comrades, The Pursuit of History,  Civil War Primary Source Analysis Sheet, and references to videos.

    “Having read at least 25,000 personal letters from soldiers and 249 diaries, I am convinced that these documents bring us closer to the real thoughts and emotions of those men than any other surviving evidence.”

    James M. McPherson, For Cause & Comrades: Why Men Fought In The Civil War, p. 12


    Write an essay to evaluate For Cause & Comrades (FCC) by James M. McPherson as a source for understanding the past.

    • To what extent does McPherson succeed or fail in bringing you closer to understanding the real thoughts and emotions of Civil War soldiers?  Explain your answer.  
    • Describe some of the book’s major strengths and weaknesses as a source for understanding the past.
    • Describe and explain your personal reaction to the book.

    Provide specific examples from the book to support your answers. 

    You may (should) make references to The Pursuit of History by John Tosh, your Valley of the Shadow primary source, and or videos viewed for class to support your evaluation of For Cause & Comrades.  For example:

    •   How does  Tosh describe  the problems and opportunities associated with using letters and diaries as sources (Tosh, chapter 4).
    • What does Tosh say about the problem of there being gaps in the historical record (Tosh, chapter 7)?
    • How did the movie “Glory” or The Civil War documentary segments affect your reading of FCC?
    • How does FCC challenge or uphold certain aspects of the social memory of the Civil War (Tosh, chapter 1)?
    • What similarities and differences can you find between the Valley of the Shadow primary source you analyzed and the letters and diary entries from the book?
    • In what ways did  your Valley of the Shadow source or one of the videos have a greater or lesser impact on your understanding of Civil War soldiers than did FCC.

    The main point is to synthesize some of the course readings, primary source research, or videos into your essay to support your evaluation of FCC as a source for understanding the past. 

    Use any standard citation model to reference sources (MLA, APA, Chicago).

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