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Author: Scott A. Merriman
Title: Site Reviews
Publication info: Ann Arbor, MI: MPublishing, University of Michigan Library
August 2000

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Source: Site Reviews
Scott A. Merriman

vol. 3, no. 2, August 2000
Article Type: Site Review

Site Reviews

Scott Merriman (Electronic Resource Review Editor),

The American Experience: The Donner Party

The site discusses this PBS program and contains text and some Real Audio clips of an interview with Ric Burns, who wrote, produced, and co-directed the program. Also analyzed here is the larger significance of the Donner Party and America's Westward Movement, including a thumbnail sketch of those who moved West throughout the 19th century. The site provides a map of the Donner Party's route, and a list of further readings. It also contains a teacher's guide, together with classroom activities.

Civil War Center

This is an excellent resource to begin researching the Civil War. The site is fully searchable, and is hosted by LSU, who also sponsors the Civil War Book Review. It has good suggestions on how to conduct research on people of the Civil War era. The site also indexes over 5500 links on the Civil War and is continuing to add them. This effort is adding a section on interdisciplinary perspectives. A statistical and comparative summary of America's major wars and a beginning reading list are both provided here.

Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System

The Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System is a database which aims to provide basic information on most of the servicemen who served in the Union and Confederate armies during the Civil War. Currently, names are available for African-American soldiers and sailors and for some soldiers from Tennessee and Iowa. Details on 364 battles, 1,200 Medal of Honor winners, as well as selected regiments, cemeteries, and prisoners, are currently available. Added before the end of the year will be more regiments, prisoners, cemeteries, and soldiers, and data on national monuments may be added. Links are provided to the web sites of all National Park Service Civil War sites.

Colonial North America, 1492-1763

Often, American history starts with the Pilgrims and focuses merely on the land that became the United States. This site, on the other hand, goes back to the earliest populating of the Americas, and examines various theories on when and how this occurred. It also examines concurrent events in Europe and Africa. After this introduction, the whole of North America is traced from 1492 to 1763, or the end of the Seven Years War. A large list of sources, including the image sources, are included, along with a hyperlinked glossary of terms.

Documenting the American South

Documenting the American South is a full-text collection of over 500 primary source manuscripts and books concerning that region. It is indexed by author, subject and title, and is searchable. Presently, this site focuses on 5 areas: the church in the black community, Confederate imprints, first-person narratives, slave narratives, and Southern literature. The first-person narratives focus on many communities sometimes overlooked, including slaves, freedpersons, and women, and the slave narratives section includes works up to 1920. A good resource for students and teachers at all levels.

The Library of Virginia Digital Library Program

This effort aims to digitize significant Virginia records and provide access to them. Links are supplied here to various local public library projects as well. One can search the catalogs of the Library of Virginia or search the site. The site also presents various resources for teachers, including lesson plans, publications, and primary sources for AP courses. One of the most interesting sections is the Virginia Colonial Records Project, which is fully searchable and provides a bibliography of related resources.

North Carolina Chapter - Trail of Tears Association

This association is working to document the Trail of Tears in North Carolina. However, their site provides far more than mere information about their efforts. It also includes a good deal of background on the Trail of Tears and America's belated decision to acknowledge its misdealings with Native Americans. The site presents information about the Trail of Tears today, an auto route by which one can follow the trail, and a list of related sites.

Red Scare, 1918-1921

This is an image library of primary sources spanning the years from the end of WWI to the middle of 1920. Nearly 300 images and 500 small text files are appended here, including many cartoons and photographs. Images are generally of good quality when enlarged and a help feature along with a feedback section are also provided. A very good place for searching for an image or slide to show a class or to illustrate a talk.

Religion and the Founding of the American Republic

The religious toleration which we enjoy today, for the most part, causes many to forget the religious intensity which swept America in the colonial and early American periods. This site examines the attitudes of many early American settlers, politicians and presidents, and establishes their strong religious feelings. However, neither the Bill of Rights nor the Constitution take a forceful stand promoting religion, and the site explains why this paradox existed. Also explored here is religion in the early republic and how America served as a refuge for those who were persecuted for religious reasons in Europe. The site additionally presents reproductions of a number of engravings.

Supreme Court of the United States

This web site is a good introduction to the current Supreme Court. It provides links to news stories on the justices, recent decisions and speeches. Brief biographies on all current justices are available, along with links to other sites, including history sites and books.

Virtual Jamestown

Virtual Jamestown is a collaborative effort of the University of Virginia, the Virginia Center for Digital History, and Virginia Tech and is supported by the NEH. It is easily navigable with an octagonal navigation tool, similar to that used in the Valley of the Shadow. The searchable site includes runaway slave advertisements, first hand letters and accounts, and labor contracts. There are a large number of maps reproduced here, including the original maps of Jamestown and virtual panoramas.