This class has been a wonderful experience for me as a history student. The online community that this class established was great and the inclusion of the chat feature in the video conferences eventually led me to feel as if I knew the other students better than all the other classmates I have had while going to Truman.
The research that Jonas and I performed was quite enlightening as we were learning about a piece of Missouri history that neither one of us had heard of before. The fact that the McDonald Territory secession is such a little known piece of history really motivated us to tell the story. Our research included newspaper articles, letters, pictures and personal writings found at Truman State, Jefferson City, and mainly the McDonald County Historical Society.
We fulfilled just about every aspect of our project contract and I am pleased with the end result of our website. The format of the website is quite intuitive as we have set up the homepage to guide visitors through the different pages. Each of the tabs at the top of the page divide into sub pages that go further into detail on the events of the secession. From these pages, visitors will see links to the next page at the bottom, as well as a right hand menu of all of the pages and sub pages so that they can check out the other pieces of the website at their own pace. Many of our pages include pictures and documents that give visitors a feeling of what the secessionist movement would have felt like.
The most interesting aspect of this secession is the fact that the motivations for the movement were quite obscure. It’s not every day that a county secedes because a highway is rerouted and they are left off of a map. The main motivation for McDonald County was to gain recognition and repair their tourism industry, and they did just that. So while the secession was not a successful secession in the fact that they did not remain independent, it was successful because they were put back on the map and Jefferson City has not messed with the highways in the county since then.
Again, I’d like to emphasize just how much I enjoyed this class. It has been one of the most enjoyable history classes that I have taken, and it wasn’t even taught by Truman, which I find kind of funny. I found every part of this class intriguing, from the readings at the beginning of the semester, to the research me and Jonas performed, to the online community that was established as a result of the class. Thank you for accepting me into the class and I hope that the website that Jonas and I created helps people to better understand Missouri history and how secession is not always how we imagine it.