Buchanan, James. Mr. Buchanan's Administration on the Eve of the Rebellion. New York: D. Appleton and, 1866. Print. President Buchanan's memoir of himself told in a seemingly arrogant and hilarious third person, referring to himself as "Mr. Buchanan" or "President Buchanan" actually is a helpful source showing what Buchanan felt on "the eve of rebellion". It is a primary source, as Buchanan talks about the decisions he made and how a majority of the things he wanted to do to prevent war were disallowed by an unhelpful congress. Buchanan has a huge reason to distort, as, undoubtedly, part of the reason of the book's existence is to help his reputation and to try and shine a better light upon himself. However, though this distortion is present, Buchanan nonetheless gives deeper insight into his own thinking of the start of the civil war, something only he could do. Buchanan's reputation as the 'president who started the civil war' is honestly pretty hurtful to the reputability of this source but as stated earlier, a perspective from him, written by him, is still incredibly helpful and important.
Detzer, David. Allegiance: Fort Sumter, Charleston, and the Beginning of the Civil War. New York: Harcourt, 2001. Print. Tells a detailed narrative story of the beginning of the Civil War, following Major Robert Anderson and other important politicians and leaders as they try and diffuse the tense situation in Charleston until it explodes in violence at Fort Sumter. Accentuates importance of Major Anderson, claiming he "almost single-handedly forestalled the beginning of the war...". Argues this with actions Anderson took before moving to Fort Sumter, such as desperately asking Washington for reinforcements which he believed would suppress possible rebellions and unnecessary bloodshed. This is a secondary source, drawing from hundreds of primary sources and other secondary sources listed in its notes. David Detzer, the author, has little to no reason to distort information. Gene Smith, an accomplished historian, writes a foreword introducing the book and complimenting Detzer's work. Detzer has an untarnished past as an author and historian, releasing several other books on the Civil War all praised and without criticism of lies.
Doubleday, Abner. From Moultrie to Sumter. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print. Found in Robert Johnson's Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, he has compiled primary sources of eyewitnesses of important battles and events of the Civil War. Notably, I used the report Abner Doubleday wrote of his experience of moving from fort Moultrie to Sumter, second in command under Major Robert Anderson, entitled fittingly "From Moultrie to Sumter". It was useful to see a Northern perspective of the events. As Robert Johnson has simply compiled the writings, I'll be focusing on Doubleday as the writer. Doubleday does have a reason distort as he could glorify himself and the north but his distortion is limited to him describing their surrender at Sumter quite heroically as, "With banners flying, and with drums beating "Yankee Doodle," we marched on board the transport". Despite this, these kinds of distortions are reasonable as they are just showing the northern perspective of the battle. All the events in Doubleday's recollection of events are accurate. Doubleday's reputation is fine, save being a bit arrogant at times.
"Dramatic Newspaper Coverage of the Battle of Fort Sumter: The Attack That Began the Civil War." NewsInHistory.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Mar. 2013. . This website compiles several newspaper articles of different states reacting to news of Fort Sumter being attacked by the south. Some are greatly excited while others are terrified of the incoming war. The articles are all primary sources taken from the time of the events. They are useful as to see differing feelings toward the beginning of the civil war at the time. Each of the editors of the newspaper all have a reason to distort, that being simply that they either sympathize with the south needing to retake what was theirs at Sumter or sympathizing with the north being victimized by the south attacking their fort. The reputation of the authors all could vary.
Evans, Clement A. Confederate Military History: A Library of Confederate States History. Atlanta, GA: Confederate Pub., 1899. 17 Feb. 02. Web. 16 Mar. 2013. . A full history of the Civil War told by a confederate general, detailing each state's individual experience in the war, along with battles and major events that occurred in that state. Could be considered both a primary and secondary source, as Evans were in some of the battles that he writes about. This source was useful since I could see a Southern perspective of the events. Evans would have a reason to distort as he could glorify the south and himself in his retelling of the war but in the particular part I read of the South Carolina volume, "The War Begins!", which tells of events leading to the battle of Fort Sumter, Evans seems to remain impartial and tells the story to the best of his ability. Evans' chronology of the events leading to Sumter are all accurate.
"Fort Sumter." The Battle of Fort Sumter Summary & Facts. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Mar. 2013. . civilwar.org is a website that provides basic yet informative background knowledge on events of the Civil War, this section being on Fort Sumter. A video on this page also discusses events leading up to the battle, such as South Carolina's secession. Site includes images of the fort, articles on the battle and videos on events leading to the war. Uses primary sources such as pictures but articles are secondary. There are several authors that run the site and most likely each contributed some to the site. There is no reason for distortion as it is a nonprofit website that only discusses the facts, no opinions. It's facts all seem trustworthy and while there is no info of reputation on the site manager, it all looks quite professional.
"James Buchanan." History.com. A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 24 Mar. 2013. . This source taken from the History Channel's website is a secondary source giving background knowledge on our 15th President, James Buchanan. The author of this article is unknown however since the History Channel has been known for its credibility and is a popular and widely used source for basic information, it can be assumed the information is accurate and trustworthy. Other sources confirm that the information is accurate and the History Channel has been accurate in the past.
Latner, Richard B. "Crisis at Fort Sumter." Crisis at Fort Sumter. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Apr. 2013. . This website, published by Tulane University, provides a very thorough explanation and commentary of the events during, at and pertaining to the bombardment of Fort Sumter. It is a secondary source but it pulls from multitudes of other secondary and primary sources, as listed in its bibliography of over a hundred. It is a secondary source since Latner, a civil war history professor at Tulane, wrote the articles. Latner has little reason to distort his information and it all seems legitimate, comparing with other sources. This website also won MERLOT Classics and Editors’ Choice Awards in 2004, giving Latner a prestigious reputation.
"Music and the Brain." Music and the Brain. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Apr. 2013. .
South Carolina. Constitutional Convention. Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina From the Federal Union, and the Ordinance of Secession. By Christopher Memminger. Charleston: Evans & Cogswell, 1860. Print. While being a mouthful of a title, South Carolina has bundled its reasons for leaving the Union into a short document much like the Declaration of Independence. It is a primary source that mainly discusses the Union's constant violation of the Constitution, why secession is allowed by the constitution, how the Union has been trying to abolish slavery with its new president, Lincoln, and why the Constitution prohibits the government from doing so yet ignoring that fact. The document then ends with South Carolina officially seceding from the Union. Although this document is most likely distorted to shine South Carolina in a better light, it does seem that all of the arguments it makes are valid. These distortions can be generally accepted as it is such a historically important document.
Swanberg, W. A. First Blood; The Story of Fort Sumter. New York: Scribner, 1957. Print. First Blood is a secondary source written by W.A. Swanberg in which he details the story of Sumter told from many different point of views. From Anderson's, Buchanan's, Doubleday's, and several others. It is a secondary source since Swanberg draws from primary sources to tell his story. Swanberg is a well known American Biographer and has little reason to distort the information. All the information given by Swanberg seem accurate and trustworthy. Swanberg has written several successful biographies in the past and has a fine reputation as a historian.
"Vol. 1, Chap. 1-8." The War of the Rebellion ; a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies... Washington: Government Printing Office, 1894. N. pag. Print. Written by the United States of America's war department, it contains reports of both Union and Confederate. It is a primary source since it collects reports from the time. I am specifically using it for some quotes on the situations at Fort Sumter and Fort Pickens. There are many authors in the making of this compilation so it is difficult to see if any specific authors distorted information or had a bad reputation. Other sources are mostly based off of this one so it can be assumed that this government document is legitimate and reliable.
Weatherman, Donald. "James Buchanan on Slavery and Secession." Presidential Studies Quarterly 15.4 (1985): 796-805. Print. The Presidential Studies Quarterly is a scholarly journal that details various studies on different presidents. It is a secondary source since it is a jpurnal, though it does draw from primary sources. I used the article on James Buchanan, our 15th president and his views on slavery and secession. Though Weatherman does not have any particular reason to distort, the way he presents his information on Buchanan seems that he attempts to show the president in a favorable light. This could just be because Buchanan is portrayed badly by other historians and Weatherman is trying to make an argument against that. All the information Weatherman presents is accurate comparable to other sources. Donald V. Weatherman is the president of Lyon college in Arkansas who was a professor of political sciences. He has no reputation as an inaccurate historian.