Classes at GMC: The Civil War and Reconstruction

     By: Matthias R. Baudinet


      As a history major here at Green Mountain College, I am always looking forward to new history classes being offered in the curriculum. Starting the second semester of my third year here at Green Mountain College, I have taken a lot of history courses. Growing up in France and Europe, I have always learned a lot about European, African, and Asian history. Not being too familiar with many aspects of American history, I was extremely excited when I first saw they were offering a class on the American Civil War.

     Almost two months into the course and I can honestly say that this is one of the best classes that I have taken here at Green Mountain College so far. The interest that all of the students have in this period of American history makes every single class one that is truly academic. By that I mean that every class is filled with deep and meaningful questions, discussions, statements, explanations, and debates. As anyone would imagine, the Civil War can be a very sensitive topic to many. With that being said, the professor makes sure to let students understand the importance of the philosophical battle that went on between Northern and Southern ideologies, but he also makes it very clear that as students studying history, we must never judge the past through our own modern day values and beliefs.

      Tom Williams, the professor who teaches the course, is a marvelous American historian that challenges every single student, and that ensures that his classroom is a place where you are always interactive and lively. Specializing in American history, Tom Williams explores every aspect of the American Civil War, and the great part is that you are along for the journey.

     As of now, we are still in the prelude of the war. We started the course in the early 1800s looking at the tensions building between the Democratic and Republican parties, and the gradual separation of North and South. Next week we will begin delving into the heart of the the actual war which I am looking forward to.

     History courses at Green Mountain might be few, but they are among the most challenging and demanding at this school. It not only requires an interest in reading and writing, but also an interest/passion for learning about the past, and more importantly, the people of the past and their everyday lives. History can teach us many things, and one of those things is something that I must do everyday as a historian–be open-minded.


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