Senior Seminar: Going to War in American History


History 4990-001 (#81426)                                                                                         Dr. Reagan

1:25-4:30 Wednesday                                                                                     Fall 2010

HH 108                                                                                                                        HH 109


Instructor Information:


Office: Henderson Hall 109
Office Hours: 11-12 MF, 1-1:30 W and by appointment
Telephone: 372-3342 (office), 372-3332 (message), 528-3998 (home)
Professional experience of Dr. Reagan:


Course Requirements:

Course web site (work in progress):

This course is expected to provide students, usually senior History majors, the opportunity to demonstrate reading, research, analytical, and writing skills learned in various history classes. As a capstone experience, this class will allow students to use these acquired skills in the form of seminar class discussion and the writing of an extensive research paper centered on the topic of the particular seminar offering for the semester.

1  Class attendance and active participation (100 points)

2.  Oral presentation of at least one book to start weekly class discussion

3.  Five of (eight possible) three-five page papers on weekly readings (all books except Guibert and Bacevich eligible) due at start of class time (5@20=100 points)

4  Final thirty-page research paper on a topic chosen in consultation with and approval of the instructor. The paper should be based on primary and secondary sources identified and approved by the instructor and using weekly readings and research over the semester.  (200 points)

5.     Final Grade based on total points earned:

A = 360-400 points

B = 320-359 points

C = 280-319 points
D = 240-279 points
F = below 240 points


6.     Plagiarism of an assignment—representing someone else’s work as your own—will result in failure for the entire course at a minimum. To pass course, all requirements must be met on time and in full.

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Disability Accommodations:


Students with a disability requiring accommodations should contact the Office of Disability Services (ODS) ( An Accommodation Request (AR) should be completed as soon as possible, preferably by the end of the first week of classes. The ODS is located in the University Center, Room 112, telephone 372-6119.


Required Books:


Guibert, Emmanuel. Alan’s War: The Memories of G.I. Alan Cope, trans. Kathryn Pulver. New York: First Second, 2008. ISBN # 978-1-59643-096-9.


Bruce D. Porter, “The Warfare State,” American Heritage 45, no. 4 (July/August 1994)


Richard Kohn, “The Social History of the American Soldier: A Review and Prospectus for Research,” American Historical Review 86 (June 1981): 553-567.


            Grenier, John. The First Way of War: American War Making on the Frontier, 1607-1814. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008. ISBN # 978-0521-73263-5.


James Kirby Martin and Mark Edward Lender,  A Respectable Army: The Military Origins of the Republic, 1763-1789, second edition.  Wheeling, IL: Harlan Davidson, 2006 ISBN #978-0-88295-239-0.


            Manning, Chandra. What This Cruel War Was Over: Soldiers, Slavery, and the Civil War. New York: Vintage Civil War Library, 2008. ISBN # 978-0-307-27732-9.


            Laskin, David. The Long Way Home: An American Journey from Ellis Island to the Great War. New York: Harper, 2010. ISBN # 978-0-06-123333-3.


            Rose, Kenneth. Myth and the Greatest Generation: A Social History of Americans in World War II. New York: Routledge, 2008. ISBN # 0-415-95677-3.


            Zelizer, Julian E. Arsenal of Democracy: The Politics of National Security—From World War II to the War on Terrorism. New York: Basic Books, 2010. ISBN # 978-0-465-01507-8.


            Stone, Geoffrey R. War and Liberty: An American Dilemma: 1790 to the Present. New York: W. W. Norton, 2007. ISBN # 978-0-393-33004-5.


Wills, Garry. Bomb Power: The Modern Presidency and the National Security State. New York: Penguin Press, 2010. ISBN # 978-1-59420-240-7.


            Bacevich, Andrew J. Washington Rules: America’s Path to Permanent War. New York: Metropolitan Books, 2010. ISBN # 978-0-8050-9141-0.

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Course Themes:

1.  Americans changing views and attitudes about military forces and war

2.  Changes in national policy, military strategy, and public opinion

3.  Civil-military relations (constitutional, legal, political, and diplomatic)

4.  Social and cultural history of American soldiers and veterans

5.  Political, social, and economic changes on the home front during wars

6.  Impact of military interventions on civil liberties during wartime

7.  Foreign policy, military force, and changing U.S. role in the world



Reading Assignments with Discussion Schedule:


Readings should be completed in time for class discussion of each work.



Assignment:  Bring an active interest and intellectual curiosity to the subject

September 1--Course Syllabus and Responsibilities and film, “Operation Homecoming”


Assignment:  Guibert, Alan’s War, all

September 8—The Human Face of American War


September 14—Constitution Day: Professor Dana Young, “The Role of Political Satire,” 5 p.m., Derryberry Hall Auditorium followed by The Highlands Gubernatorial Debate between Democratic candidate Mike McWherter and Republican candidate Bill Haslam, 7 p.m., Wattenbarger Auditorium


Assignment:  Bruce D. Porter, “The Warfare State,” American Heritage 45, no. 4 (July/August 1994) and Richard Kohn, “The Social History of the American Soldier: A Review and Prospectus for Research,” American Historical Review 86 (June 1981): 553-567.

September 15-- War and the Military Experience in American History


Assignment:  Grenier, The First Way of War, all

September 22—War in the Colonial Period: An Age of Free Security?


Assignment:  Martin and Lender, A Respectable Army, all

September 29—Creating an American Military Tradition


Assignment:  Manning, What This Cruel War Was Over, all

September 29—War for National Union and the Question of Slavery


Assignment:  Laskin, The Long Way Home, all

October 6—The Golden Door: Immigrant Americans and the Great War


Assignment:  Rose, Myth and the Greatest Generation, all

October 13—“The Good War”: America and Modern, Total War


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Assignment: Zelizer, Arsenal of Democracy, pp. 1-177

October 20—Creating the National Security State: From Truman to Kennedy


Assignment:  Zelizer, Arsenal of Democracy, pp. 178-385

October 27—Modern Presidents and American Wars: From Vietnam to Iraq, I


Assignment: Zelizer, Arsenal of Democracy, pp. 386-507

November 3--Terrorism in a Post-Cold War World: America Responds


Assignment:  Stone, War and Liberty: An American Dilemma: 1790 to the Present, all

November 10—Civil Liberties and American Wars


Assignment: Start thinking, writing, and revising final paper and film: “Why We Fight”


November 17—Discussion: WWIV, GWOT, or the Long War? 


Assignment:  Work on final paper

November 24—Work on final paper


Assignment:  Wills, Bomb Power: the Modern Presidency and the National Security State

December 1—Nuclear Weapons and the Presidency: “Let’s Drop the Big One Now”?


Assignment:  Bacevich, Washington Rules: America’s Path to Permanent War, all

December 8—Our Times: American Military Power and the Land of Dreams


Assignment: Prepare final paper in both printed and electronic formats

December 10--Final twenty-five-page paper due in Dr. Reagan’s office

                                    In both printed and electronic formats




Helpful Reference Works and Bibliographies (in order of priority):



            Prucha, Francis Paul. Handbook for Research in American History: A Guide to Bibliographies and Other Reference Works. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1987. TTU Ref Z1236 .P78 1987  


            Fritze, Ronald H., Brian E. Coutts. Reference Sources in History: An Introductory Guide, Second Edition, 334. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2004.  TTU Ref Z6201 .F72 2004


            Norton, Mary Beth, ed. The American Historical Association’s Guide to Historical Literature, Third Edition, 2 Vols. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995.  TTU Ref Z6201 .A55 1995


            Bradford, James C., ed. International Encyclopedia of Military History, 2 vols. New York: Routledge, 2006. TTU Ref D25.A2 I58 2006



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            Bradford, James C., ed. A Companion to American Military History, 2 vols.  Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009. 978-1405161497


            Holmes, Richard, ed. The Oxford Companion to Military History. Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2001. TTU Ref D25.A2 O94 2001


            Chambers, John Whiteclay, II, ed. The Oxford Companion to American Military History. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000. TTU E181.O94 1999


            Cayton, Mary Kupiece and Elliott J. Gorn. Encyclopedia of American Social History, 3 Vols., 2,653. New York: Macmillan, 1993.  TTU Ref HN57 .E58 1993


            Cook, Bernard A., ed. Women and War: A Historical Encyclopedia From Antiquity to the Present, 2 Vols. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2006.  TTU Ref U24 .W69 2006


            Higham, Robin and Donald J. Mrozek, eds. A Guide to the Sources of United States Military History, 5 Vols. Hamden, CT: Archon Books, 1975.  TTU Ref Z1249.M5 G83 1975  and 1975 Supplements 1-4.


            Hogan, Michael J. and Thomas G. Paterson, eds. Explaining the History of American Foreign Relations. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991.  TTU E183.7 .E9 1991


            Hogan, Michael J. America in the World: The Historiography of US Foreign Relations Since 1941. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1996. 


            ________, ed. The Ambiguous Legacy: U. S. Foreign Relations in the American Century. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999. TTU E744 .A475 1999


            Beisner, Robert L., ed. American Foreign Relations Since 1600: A Guide to the Literature, 2 vols. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2003.


            Hynes, Samuel. The Soldier’s Tale: Bearing Witness To Modern War. New York: Allen Lane/Penguin, 1996.  TTU U42 .H96 1997


            Jessup, John E., ed. Encyclopedia of the American Military: Studies of the History, Traditions, Policies, Institutions, and Roles of the Armed Forces in War and Peace, 3 Vols., 2, 255. New York: Macmillan, 1994.  TTU Ref UA23 .E56 1994


            Jessup, John E. An Encyclopedic Dictionary of Conflict and Conflict Resolution 1945-1996. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1998.  TTU Ref D842 .J47 1998    


            Karsten, Peter, ed. Encyclopedia of War and American Society, 3 Vols. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2004. TTU Ref E181 .E634 2006


            Kennedy, Paul M. The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers: Economic Change and Military Conflict from 1500 to 2000. New York: Random House, 1987.  TTU D210 .K46 1988     


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            Kutler, Stanley I., Robert Dallek. Encyclopedia of the United States in the Twentieth Century, 4 Vols. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1996.  TTU  Ref E740.7 .E53 1996 1-4 and Index


            Messenger, Charles, ed. Reader’s Guide to Military History. New York: Fitzroy Dearborn, 2001.  TTU Ref D25 .R35 2001 


            Parker, Geoffrey, ed. The Cambridge History of Warfare, Revised Edition. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005.


            Townshend, Charles, ed. The Oxford History of Modern War. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000. TTU U39 .O956 2000eb [available as an electronic book]


            Paret, Peter, and Felix Gilbert Gordon A. Craig, eds. Makers of Modern Strategy from Machiavelli to the Nuclear Age. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1986.  TTU U162 .M25 1986


            Resch, John P., ed. Americans at War: Society, Culture, and the Homefront, 4 Vols. New York: Macmillan Reference, 2005. TTU Ref E181 .A453 2005


            Schulzinger, Robert D., ed. A Companion to American Foreign Relations. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2003.  TTU  E183.7 .C658 2003eb [available as an electronic book]




Useful Web Sites for the Course:


            The Society for Military History



Military History



            United States History



            Preparing to Write a Research Paper



            Libraries and Archives



            Selecting Sources for Military History Research Papers