The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Study of Core Texts and Ideas

George B. Forgie

Associate ProfessorPh.D., 1972, Stanford University

Distinguished Teaching Associate Professor of History
George B. Forgie


  • Phone: 512-475-7231
  • Office: GAR 3.212
  • Office Hours: T 4-5 p.m., Th 3-4:30 p.m
  • Campus Mail Code: B7000


U.S. political and constitutional history, 1763-1877; northern political writing during the Civil War; Abraham Lincoln


Research interests

He is now studying northern political writing during the Civil War.

Courses taught

His major teaching fields are U.S. political and cultural history from 1763 to 1877 and the U.S. Constitution.


UGS 345L • Amer Civ War/Reconstr, 1861-77

39585 • Spring 2010
Meets MW 330pm-500pm JGB 2.218

History 345L:  The Civil War and Reconstruction, 1861-1877

Spring 2010                                                                                                         George Forgie

Unique #39585                                                                      

M & W 3:30-5:00                                                                             Garrison 3.212 (475-7231)

JGB 2.218                                                                                        T 4:00-5:30, TH 3:00-4:30

OVERVIEW.  This course investigates the political, military, constitutional, diplomatic, and social aspects the American Civil War and its aftermath.  It seeks to provide students with an understanding of the background and purposes of the war, the strengths and strategies of the combatants, and the reasons why the war took the course that it did.  The destruction of slavery is a central focus of the course.  The last third of the course takes up the history of Reconstruction, concentrating on how the various plans of the victors affected and were affected by the lives and aspirations of the vanquished and the freed slaves.

BOOKS:  The following paperbacks should be purchased:

James McPherson and James K. Hogue, Ordeal by Fire: The Civil War and Reconstruction  (4th edition)

Allen C. Guelzo, Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation: The End of Slavery in America

Gary W. Gallagher,  The Confederate War

Michael Shaara, The Killer Angels

Albion Tourgée, A Fool's Errand: A Novel of the South during Reconstruction

CLASSES:  Each class will consist of a lecture of 50-60 minutes, followed by discussion among those students who wish to stay.  You may record the classes if you wish, but no laptop computers may be used or open during the lecture.


Wednesday, January 20


Monday, January 25

The Background of Disunion and War

Wednesday, January 27

The Outbreak of War

Monday, February 1

Outlooks and Strategies

Wednesday, February 3

First Engagements

Monday, February 8

Early 1862 (I)

Wednesday, February 10

Early 1862 (II)

Monday, February 15

The Peninsula Campaign

Wednesday, February 17

The Antietam Campaign

Monday, February 22

Emancipation (I)

Wednesday, February 24

Emancipation (II)

Monday, March 1

First Midterm Examination

Wednesday, March 3

Chancellorsville and Gettysburg

Monday, March 8

The Vicksburg Campaign

Wednesday, March 10

Late 1863: Lincoln at Gettysburg

Monday, March 22

Military Campaigns of 1864

Wednesday, March 24

The U.S. Election of 1864

Monday, March 29

The crumbling Confederacy

Wednesday, March 31

End of the Civil War

Monday, April 5

Why the North Won, Why the South Lost

Wednesday, April 7

Second Midterm Examination

Monday, April 12

Reconstruction: Introduction

Wednesday, April 14

Reconstruction, 1864-1865

Monday, April 19

1866: The Fourteenth Amendment

Wednesday, April 21

Reconstruction in 1867-1868: Impeachment

Monday, April 26

Land for the Freed People?

Wednesday, April 28

Reconstruction Politics in the South

Monday, May 3

Redemption to 1874

Wednesday, May 5

The End of Reconstruction 

EXAMINATIONS AND GRADING:  In addition to the final examination (which will be comprehensive) on  Friday, May 14, from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m., there will be two midterm exams--on Monday, March 2, and Wednesday, April 8, at the class period.  Each of the midterms will count 25% of the course grade.  The final examination will count 50% of the course grade.  The exams will consist of short-answer and essay questions on the material from the classes and readings (including any handouts that may come your way from the instructor).  Enrollment in this course constitutes a commitment on your part to be present at all of these examinations.  Exams will not be given ahead of schedule, nor will any make-ups be given, for any reason.

COURSE Grading Scale:

93-100%               A   

90-92%               A-   

87-89%               B+   

83-86%               B   

80-82%              B-   

77-79%               C+   

73-76%               C   

70-72%               C-   

67-69%               D+  

63-66%            D

60-62%            D-

Below 60%     F  


Assignment for the first exam, Monday, March 1:

(1) McPherson and Hogue, Ordeal by Fire, pp. 139-334, A1-A16

(2) Guelzo, Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation (all)

Assignment for the second exam, Wednesday, April 7:

(1) McPherson and Hogue, Ordeal by Fire, pp. 334-526, A16-A20

(2) Gallagher, Confederate War (all)

(3) Shaara, Killer Angels (all)

Assignment for the final exam, Friday, May 14:

(1) ALL OF THE ABOVE, plus

(2) McPherson and Hogue, Ordeal by Fire, pp. 533-671, A20-A21

(3) Tourgée, Fool's Errand (all)

Teaching Assistant:

John Vurpillat

Office Hours: Monday and Wednesday 2:30-3:30, outside JGB 2.218

Services for Students with Disabilities:

Students with disabilities should arrange for appropriate

accommodations with the office of Services for Students with Disabilities, 471-6259

Curriculum Vitae

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