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Historical Profile: General Philip Sheridan

Prepared by Jack Urso, Technology Integrationist for the Virtual Learning Training Center.

Task: Review the information below about a local historical figure and answer the study questions.

Objective: Students will be able to explain the historical contribution of General Philip Sheridan..

In front of the state capitol building on State Street in Albany, NY, one can find a statue of Civil War General Philip Sheridan who lived from 1831-1888 (click on the photos for larger images).

Read about Gen. Sheridan in the short biographies below.

While the articles above do contain some similar information, each also contains information not mentioned in the other articles. When doing historical research it is important to read from many different sources in order to get the complete facts.

Study questions:

1) Do all the articles agree on Sheridan's place of birth?

2) Does Albany have a good claim for being the place of Sheridan's birth? If so, why? If not, why not?

3) In your opinion, what did Sheridan do that made the citizens of Albany want to build a statue of him in front of the state capitol?

4) Sheridan not only fought in the Civil War, but also against the Great Plains Indians after the war. What are the names of some of the tribes of Native Americans Sheridan fought?

Read an article about Gen. Sheridan's connection with a notorious racial epitaph at the link here. You only need to read between footnote 20 and footnote 29 to find the information needed to answer the study questions below, not the entire article (footnote numbers appear between brackets like this [20]).

Short answer essay questions:

5) Do you believe, based on the evidence presented in the article, that Sheridan actually said the racial epitaph many people credit him with? Why or why not? Explain your answer.

6) Based upon what you read today about Sheridan do you believe that the state capitol building is an appropriate place for a statue of him? In your opinion, is he someone of whom the City of Albany should have built a statue of? Refer to the above readings for reasons to support and explain your answer.