Instructor: Lloyd Benson

Office: Furman Hall 213-A (next to the elevator)

Phone: 294-3492
e-mail: Lloyd.Benson@Furman.edu


The academic community only works when all members freely exchange their ideas without taking credit for someone else's work. Academic honesty creates the trust that makes learning possible. When students complete their work with integrity, teachers do not have to adopt elaborate procedures that clog the educational mechanism. When all students in a class are honest, instructors can judge their work fairly and equally. And when all members of the institution strive to work honestly, the value of the diploma and the reputation of the school are enhanced. It is therefore in the interest of every student to promote integrity in the classroom. Make sure to include full citations for any original ideas of others in all written work in this class. Students should discuss course topics with each other at every opportunity, but must not reveal test answers. Sabotaging other student's efforts to complete their research by hiding or monopolizing research materials is an especially serious offense. Copying of lecture notes falls into a gray area of academic honesty. Students should not copy notes without the instructor's prior permission. Internet resources are a particular problem. Unattributed copying or close paraphrasing of any Internet materials is a clear violation of Furman University and course policy.


Message Requirements

There is an on-line message system for this course. For each of the assigned on-line discussions listed in the syllabus you will need to submit at least one substantive written message. Unless yours is one of the first two messages posted for a given topic, in order to get credit you are required to respond substantively to the submissions at least two other contributors. You are encouraged to submit more than one message per topic, especially when responding to another participant. Except where noted in the syllabus these submissions are due before class meeting time.

Helpful Hints

Strive for sophistication. Your initial message about each topic should be at least a paragraph in length. Think before you submit. Once a message is sent it will take heavy supplication to the message-master (me) to fix any mistakes or improprieties. In general the initial message will need to have the following components, though not necessarily in this order:

On-line Manners

Do not steer away from controversy. These discussions have been selected in part because they raise difficult questions with strong emotional implications. If we did not care about them they would be scarcely worth talking about. Being able to argue a passionate point intellectually and analytically is one of the most important skills you can learn at Furman. The only ground rule is that messages should follow the rules of civilized academic discussion. Never submit anything you would not want me, the department chair, or Dr. Shi to read (whether it is fit for your parents I'll leave for you to decide). You may attack any flawed idea but never the person who uttered the statement. Likewise, it is okay to say that you are bothered or offended by something that someone says in a message, but direct your responses to the substance of the comment rather than to the admittedly flawed character of the author. Be alert that irony, sarcasm, and role-playing don't translate well into messages. In short, tact and discretion are essential. So are vigorous dissent and wise verbal defense.

Some Technical Advice

Do not depend on the message system to be available at the last minute. Servers have a nasty habit of crashing about an hour before the final submission deadline. Be patient. The system may take a minute or two to respond to your submissions, depending on how many previous messages there are and how busy the Furman network is. If your message is particularly long or important, it would be wise for you to save a copy of it before sending it off to the message system. Failure to properly back up your work will not normally be considered a legitimate excuse for not submitting your messages on time. Let me know if you have problems.

Discussion of On-Line Documents

In those discussions where our concentration is on the web-based documents, I will expect you to make specific hyperlink references to the on-line text. Many of the on-line documents used in this course have been numbered sequentially by paragraph. To refer to a specific paragraph in a document, type in the complete web address, followed by a pound sign (#) and the paragraph number. For example, to refer to the 12th paragraph of the South Carolina Address to , enter the following into your message. This will create a working link that all future readers of your message can use.

<A HREF="http://www.furman.edu/~benson/docs/decl-sc.htm#p12"> Para 12</A>

Typing in the coding above will produce the following link in your messages: Para 12. I will be glad to assist you with any questions you might have about this process.

Note: computer terms and techniques such as web address, URL, or "cut and paste" are not familiar to everyone. If you are not adept with such concepts, please see me or someone in Information Services immediately for assistance.



Each participant will be expected to turn in several book review essays over the course of the semester. On the principle that both conciseness and completeness are virtues, essays that are much too long or short will be penalized. Essays need to be typewritten and double-spaced, with one inch margins for instructor comments. Papers should be stapled or clipped in the upper left corner. Do not use any special bindings, title pages nor cover sheets. All information used in the paper that is not common knowledge must be documented. Footnotes must be formatted using standard historical style (see below). Parenthesis citations will not be acceptable. No late papers will be accepted without advance permission from the instructor.

Hints and Suggestions

Take a look at Strunk's Elements of Style. Closer to home, and with a good sense of humor, is Dr. Chris Blackwell's Writing Tips Page.

Treat your paper as an original commentary, synthesis, and analysis of the most important issues. It is a good idea to concisely place the book you are reviewing into its historical and historiographical context. In other words, make sophisticated connections between these three works and other intellectual and social trends of the age. You should pay close attention to the author's theories and theses. The historian's questions of causation, timing and reaction should also be emphasized. Carefully include a few key examples and details to render the account concrete. Keep quotes to a minimum. You should strive to have both descriptive and evaluative statements in every paragraph. You should make every effort to think outside the intellectual framework offered by the writer. Consider counter-arguments and alternative explanations. You should come to a vigorous and explicit conclusion about the overall merit and significance of the work. A superior essay will have a cogent, consistent and original thesis holding it together. You are warned not to re-tell the book's structure and organization. Focus comments instead on the implications of each work for the others and the era. Finally, avoid stylistic criticisms such as "it was well-written and enjoyable," or "it was boring and too long."

Below I have listed a few of my personal peccadilloes about style and grammar. You are advised to double-check your papers for such things and remove them, lest red ink flow like water.

Style Guide for Footnotes or Endnotes.

Improperly documented papers will be returned to their authors for revision, along with a dirty look from the instructor. You may use either footnotes or endnotes. (MS-Word users should be forewarned that Word's default footnote and endnote settings are non-standard for academic work. Be sure you understand how to set them properly before starting your projects.) Notes are to be numbered sequentially in arabic numbers from the beginning to the end of the document. You are encouraged to combine multiple references into a single note at the end of a paragraph, except when citing a direct quote. For other examples of proper footnoting, look at the Journal of Southern History, the Journal of American History, or the American Historical Review.

Sample Footnoted Paragraph

Example excerpted and heavily adapted from Peter S. Onuf and Drew R. Cayton, The Midwest and the Nation, (Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1990), 7-14.

Clustered settlements would be more easily defended against external enemies and internal disorder, and the rapid development of churches, schools, courts, and other local institutions would facilitate the passage to self-government.1

Assuming this process of social development, the authors of the Northwest Ordinance provided for the gradual substitution of home rule for government by appointed officials. 2

[...]Berkhofer agrees that the western ordinances reflect a policy consensus but is more influenced by the emerging "republican synthesis" in early American historiography in his reconstruction of their premises. Berkhofer's seminal essay on Jefferson and the 1784 ordinance delineates the western problem in now familiar republican terms, showing that concerns about sustaining public virtue... shaped the evolution of policy. 3

[...]Peter Onuf concludes that "The resulting uncertainty jeopardized territorial rights... If boundaries were not fixed in advance, the other compact promises would be meaningless: Congress could change a territories boundaries whenever it threatened to grow large enough to claim membership in the Union." 4 Confusion about State boundaries in the Northwest reflected the geographical ignorance of the Ordinance's authors. [...] Michigan's application for admission in 1835 was rejected because the new state claimed the Ordinance line for its southern boundary. Ohio, meanwhile, sought to establish its jurisdiction north of that line in the region around Toledo. 5

Sample Footnotes (with Comments)

The Footnote Proper:Explanation:
1Peter S. Onuf, Statehood and Union: A History of the Northwest Ordinance, (Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1987), 2-6. Single book, first citation, note at paragraph end.
2Ibid., 7-12.Same source, cited in the very next footnote.
3Robert F. Berkhofer, "Jefferson, the Ordinance of 1784, and the Origins of the American Territorial System," William and Mary Quarterly, 3d ser., XXIX (1972), 231-62. A single journal article.
4Onuf, Statehood and Union, 108. Direct quote cited in middle of paragraph; also a subsequent but non- sequential reference to a previously-cited book, using a shortened version of the title.
5Todd B. Galloway, "The Ohio-Michigan Boundary Line Dispute," Ohio Archeological and Historical Quarterly IV (Spring 1895), 473-84; Carl Wittke, "The Ohio-Michigan Boundary Dispute Re-Examined, Ohio Historical Quarterly XLV (June 1936), 299-319; Onuf, Statehood and Union, 94-108. Multiple book and article references in a single citation, separated by semi-colons.
6Inventory of Smith Estate, Greenville County, Will Book A (1786-1833), 76. Reference to public document, including relevant dates and page numbers.



A one page research proposal and preliminary bibliography will be due in week three, and a research paper of 2500-3000 words based on your own selection and transcription of original sources will be due at the end of the semester. Footnoting standards, stylistic quidelines, and requirements for an innovative organizing thesis will be the same as for book review essays. Participants will be expected to make use of the computerized 1850s document database or an appropriate substitute in some aspect of their own research. Instruction in the use of the database will be provided and no prior computer experience beyond familiarity with Netscape, minimal typing ability and an e-mail account is required. Note: this is a term-length project that you should begin work on as soon as possible.


Review Essays40 %
On-line Discussions15
Class Discussion20
Research Paper25

Last modified: 3/18/1999