Bloody Ground: The Civil War (1861-1865)

(From your professor and textbook authors)

Lincoln and Davis

  1. Compare the views toward emancipation revealed in Lincoln's proclamation and Davis' response. How do their views reflect the historical context of race relations in the mid-nineteenth century?
  2. Summarize Lincoln's policy toward enslaved Americans and the states in rebellion against the Union. Upon what ground did he justify his emancipation policy? How radical do you think Lincoln's policy was at the time? What actual, immediate influence/authority could it have realistically had at the time?
  3. What does Davis' message reveal about his strategy for dealing with Lincoln's proclamation? What is the veiled threat Davis makes regarding the Confederacy's policy respecting Union efforts to enforce emancipation?


  1. How might the 30 year interval between publication of this memoir and the events it purports to describe have shaped Smith's memory of his emancipation? How might an historian corroborate Smith's testimony to form an accurate history of the end of slavery?
  2. What is Smith's view of his master? What image of the master's character do you think he attempted to convey with the anecdote about Hays' "courageous freaks"?
  3. To what extent does Smith's memoir provide evidence of the multitude of opinions about Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation and its impact on various groups of Americans?