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The assignment is to read letters from “What They Fought For” by James McPherson and use the letters to make an argument on why soldiers fought during the civil war.

Short Essay #3
HIST 145, Spring 2021
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 word essay, use
the letters of one or more soldiers to demonstrate why soldiers fought. For this essay you should
read (and make use of) at least 5 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:
http://valley.lib.virginia.edu/
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? These letters come from two specific counties. How does this influence
how you interpret them?
Also, rather than simply reading letters at random, you might consider using the database’s
search function. Use McPherson’s book as a guide as to what to search for, but some possible
search keywords would be “slave,” “honor,” “tyrant,” “revenge,” etc.
Once again, your essay 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.
Your paper should be submitted online AS A WORD DOCUMENT through blackboard
DUE DATE: May 11th

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