Why Soldiers Fought in Civil War


HIST 145, Spring 2013

In What They Fought For, James McPherson draws on the letters of soldiers to make an argument about what motivated them to fight during the Civil War. In this short paper, I would like you to make your own argument about why soldiers fought. In a 750-850 words, use the letters of one or more soldiers to demonstrate why soldiers fought. you should read (and ideally make use of) at least 10 different letters. Obviously your conclusions will have to be provisional, given the fact that you will be using only a limited number of letters. You will want to consider what argument McPherson makes in his book, and explain why the letters you are using either support or challenge his conclusions.

You will find the letters I would like you to use at the following website:


Before you begin looking through the letters, you will want to look through the rest of the website so that you understand where these letters are coming from. Who are these soldiers? Where are they from? How does this influence how you interpret them?

Once again, your should have a thesis statement (which should appear as the final sentence of your first paragraph). You should then organize the rest of your paper around proving this thesis. At the end you should restate this thesis in your concluding paragraph.

As before, I would like all citations to be in footnotes. These should be formatted according to the Chicago Manuel of Style. See the link below.

< http://cooklibrary.towson.edu/helpguides/index.cfm?id=61>

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