Friday, June 1, 2007


I have been showing my A.P. History classes the movie "Gods and Generals." I love this movie but it is really long about 4 hours. I didn't show them the whole thing but concentrated on the parts that talked about the thinking of the southern soldiers and their reasons that made them fight. I also showed them some battle scenes including the battle at Fredericksburg. What a debacle. In the movie is quite possibly the greatest speech about battle ever made. Jeff Daniels, playing Joshua L. Chamberlain, of the 20th Maine, a college professor, recites Caesar's speech as he contemplates crossing the Rubicon during the Roman civil wars. I told my students that if this doesn't make the hair stand up on the back of their neck they are dead. The Civil War was an incredible moment in American History. It is a constant source of historical conjecture to contemplate the psychology of this war. I think about it a lot. We all should.


Chanman said...

I too showed my 8th graders the Fredericksburg scene. I think the Rubicon speech might be a little over their heads, so I concentrated more on the scene where the two Irish units fight each other, and the Confederate Irishmen cheer the Irish Brigade as they retreat. Even in class, I can't watch that scene without tearing up.

Law and Order Teacher said...

I agree with your feelings about the Irish scene. That's one of those teachable moments. I explain to them that there many ethnic units in the war. I have relatives in one of the German units. Imagine leaving your country to gain freedom and finding yourself forced to fight in a civil war in your new country. Touching indeed.