Make your own free website on Tripod.com
      Matthew Brady made this famous photo of a dead Confederate soldier.  The poor lad appears to have been about 18 years old.  No one knows his name or why he ever ended up fighting in the Civil War.
      This dead Confederate soldier appears to
      be about 18 years old. We do not know why
      he went to war. We don't even know his name.

      Why the Civil War Was Fought

      Fourteen decades have passed since the end of the Civil War, but history buffs continue to debate and puzzle over the mixture of official and unofficial reasons why the bloodiest of America's wars was fought. The three official reasons, that is, the reasons announced by the governments and leaders of both sides, are pretty well known. Obviously the statements of the government leaders at the time make it clear that the war had at least something to do with whether or not slavery would continue on the North American continent. It is also clear that the North and the South officially disagreed about whether one state or a group of states had the right to secede from the federal union. Even the third reason, the inevitable clash between the agricultural economy of the South and the industrial economy of the North, was publically acknowledged by leaders on both sides of the war. There were, however, many unofficial or personal reasons why Americans were killing each other between 1861 and 1865. As diaries, letters and books by both Yankee and Confederate soldiers show, there were fighters on both sides who were mainly interested in protecting their families and their property from the invading armies. It is also known that many soldiers on both sides were simple, nearly illiterate farm boys who enlisted for the fight for no better reason than that they thought being a soldier would be more exciting than walking behind a mule-drawn plow. Others were drawn into the fight because they happened to be students at a military college or because they happened to be professional soldiers or because they had joined a local military unit devoted to drills, parades and fancy uniforms during peacetime and then found themselves called to active duty when a real war started. Towards the end of the war, many of the Yankee soldiers and at least a few Confederates were drafted into their armies. It is even true that thousands of European immigrants to America joined the fighting simply because they were promised early U.S. citizenship in return for their military service. Perhaps the best professional and amateur historians can do explain this war in which hundreds of thousands of Americans slaughtered each other is merely to admit that all wars have complex causes and that all soldiers are not fighting for the same reasons.

      Comment: Like stage one paragraphs, the first and last sentences of the stage two paragraph just above are a topic sentence and a restated topic sentence. Notice that unlike a stage one paragraph which has one precise opinion in the topic sentence, this topic sentence has broken the opinion into two parts -- official and unofficial. (See sentences marked in blue.) Notice, however, the sentences marked in red. Each of those is called a "sub-topic sentence." The first sub-topic sentence deals with half of the idea in the topic sentence, i.e., the official reasons; the second sub-topic sentence deals with the second half of the idea in the topic sentence, i.e., the unofficial reasons for the war.

      Return to Site Guide on front page.

      Here is another example of a Stage Two one-paragraph essay:


      These deBroglie equations are used to calculate
      the momentum of photons. Like much of the math
      in modern physics, these formulas try to take
      into account the mysterious dual nature of light.

      The Mysterious Nature of Light

      In the early 20th Century scientists working on a branch of physics called quantum theory discovered the seemingly contradictory fact that light sometimes acts as if it is made up of particles and sometimes as if it is made up of waves. Explaining the photoelectric effect, for example, caused the scientists to describe a beam of light as a stream of little pieces called photons. When a photon strikes certain metal surfaces, it knocks an electron loose; so, if a flow of photons strikes that same surface, a lot of electrons will be knocked loose. In other words, particles of light can generate an electric current such as the current that powers the automatic door opener on the front doors of Walmart or Target. That photon theory of light was easy enough to understand, but matters became much more confusing when the experimenters learned that the same beam of light which acts like a stream of particles will also sometimes behave like waves. When the scientists passed that beam of light through a prism onto a screen, what they got was a rainbow-like spectrum of colors ranging from violet to red. Particle theory cannot explain such a spectrum, but wave theory can. When light turned out to be a combination of waves of many different frequencies, then the scientists were not surprised to find that there is a spectrum of colors contained in a beam of light. What those scientists discovered back in the last century was, of course, the extremely mysterious double nature of light.

      Comment: Like stage one paragraphs, the first and last sentences of the stage two paragraph just above are a topic sentence and a restated topic sentence. Notice that unlike a stage one paragraph which has one precise opinion in the topic sentence, this topic sentence has broken the opinion into two parts -- particles and waves. (See sentences marked in blue.) Notice, however, the sentences marked in red. Each of those is called a "sub-topic sentence." The first sub-topic sentence deals with half of the idea in the topic sentence, i.e., the particle theory; the second sub-topic sentence deals with the second half of the idea in the topic sentence, i.e., the wave theory.

      Return to Site Guide on front page.

      More Stage Two Paragraphs

      Why I Think Cats Are Smart

      Why the Judge Almost Always Seems Wrong

      Concerning F's and Frying Pans: Some Thoughts on Academic Rudeness

      A Sports Fan's Nightmare

      One Reason Why "They" Think We're Rednecks

      A Mardi Gras Float: "Laissez Les Bontemps Rouler, Bebe!"

      Making the Writing Team: or, How a Writing Teacher Resembles a Football Coach

      What I Remember about Paris

      The Tower of London's Spooky Spot

      Tigers and Fools

      What's Right with Birmingham: A Short Sermon

      Jockeys: Some of the Toughest Guys Alive

      Gladiator Fights and Fishing in Ancient Rome

      Return to Site Guide on front page.