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The Civil War and Reconstruction Era, 1845-1877 with Professor David Blight

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About the Course

This course explores the causes, course, and consequences of the American Civil War, from the 1840s to 1877. The primary goal of the course is to understand the multiple meanings of a transforming event in American history. Those meanings may be defined in many ways: national, sectional, racial, constitutional, individual, social, intellectual, or moral. Four broad themes are closely examined: the crisis of union and disunion in an expanding republic; slavery, race, and emancipation as national problem, personal experience, and social process; the experience of modern, total war for individuals and society; and the political and social challenges of Reconstruction. view class sessions >>



Course Structure:

This Yale College course, taught on campus twice per week for 50 minutes, was recorded for Open Yale Courses in Spring 2008.

About Professor David Blight


David W. Blight is the Class of 1954 Professor of American History and Director of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance and Abolition at Yale University. He is the author of numerous books, including A Slave No More: Two Men Who Escaped to Freedom, Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory (for which he received the Bancroft, Abraham Lincoln, and Frederick Douglass prizes), and Beyond the Battlefield: Race, Memory, and the American Civil War. He is also the co-author of the bestselling American history textbook, A People and a Nation.



HIST 119: The Civil War and Reconstruction Era, 1845-1877 (Spring, 2008)

Syllabus

Professor:

David W. Blight, Class of 1954 Professor of American History, Yale University



Description:

This course will explore the causes, course, and consequences of the American Civil War, from the 1840s to 1877. The primary goal of the course is to understand the multiple meanings of a transforming event in American history. Those meanings may be defined in many ways: national, sectional, racial, constitutional, individual, social, intellectual, or moral. We will especially examine four broad themes: the crisis of union and disunion in an expanding republic; slavery, race, and emancipation as national problem, personal experience, and social process; the experience of modern, total war for individuals and society; and the political and social challenges of Reconstruction. The course attempts, in several ways, to understand the interrelationships between regional, national, and African-American history. And finally, we hope to probe the depths of why the Civil War era has a unique hold on the American historical imagination.



Texts:

Bruce Levine, Half Slave and Half Free: The Roots of the Civil War. Hill and Wang.

David Blight, Why the Civil War Came. New York: Oxford University.

Charles R. Dew, Apostles of Disunion: Southern Secession Commissioners and the Causes of the Civil War. University of Virginia Press.

Drew G. Faust, Mothers of Invention: Women of the Slaveholding South in the American Civil War. University of North Carolina Press.

E. L. Doctorow, The March. Random House.

Eric Foner, A Short History of Reconstruction, 1863-1877. Harper & Row.

Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave, ed. by David W. Blight. Bedford Books.

Gary Gallagher, The Confederate War: How Popular Will, Nationalism, and Military Strategy Could Not Stave Off Defeat. Harvard University Press.

James M. McPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom. Oxford University Press.

Louisa May Alcott, Hospital Sketches, ed. by Alice Fahs. Bedford Books.

Michael P. Johnson, ed., Abraham Lincoln, Slavery, and the Civil War. Bedford Books.

Nicholas Lemann, Redemption: The Last Battle of the Civil War. Farrar Strauss Giroux.

William Gienapp, ed., Civil War and Reconstruction: A Documentary Collection. Norton.

We are using two anthologies of documents (Gienapp and Johnson). Teaching Assistants will have discretion in assigning particular documents for each week's sections, and many such documents will be especially important for use in paper assignments. James McPherson's Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era is provided largely as background reading. For further background reading on the post-war period you may want to consult David W. Blight, Race and Reunion: The Civil War In American Memory.



Films:

Films will be scheduled during the course: especially several episodes of the PBS series, "The Civil War." The film, "Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Civil War," will also be assigned. Selections of Civil War era poetry may also be provided at times during the course.



Requirements:

There will be two required papers of 5-6 pages each. Choices of topics and readings will be provided in each of two broad categories or sections of the course: 1) antebellum society and Civil War causation; and, 2) the military, political, and social meanings of the Civil War itself. The challenges, accomplishments, and failures of the Reconstruction era will be a significant part of a scheduled, final examination during finals week.



Grading:

Paper 1: 30%
Paper 2: 30%
Final exam: 30%
Discussion section attendance and participation: 10%



HIST 119: The Civil War and Reconstruction Era, 1845-1877

Class Sessions

Click session titles below to access audio, video, and course materials.

1. Introductions: Why Does the Civil War Era Have a Hold on American Historical Imagination?
2. Southern Society: Slavery, King Cotton, and Antebellum America's "Peculiar" Region
3. A Southern World View: the Old South and Proslavery Ideology
4. A Northern World View: Yankee Society, Antislavery Ideology and the Abolition Movement
5. Telling a Free Story: Fugitive Slaves and the Underground Railroad in Myth and Reality
6. Expansion and Slavery: Legacies of the Mexican War and the Compromise of 1850
7. "A Hell of a Storm": The Kansas-Nebraska Act and the Birth of the Republican Party, 1854-55
8. Dred Scott, Bleeding Kansas, and the Impending Crisis of the Union, 1855-58
9. John Brown's Holy War: Terrorist or Heroic Revolutionary?
10. The Election of 1860 and the Secession Crisis
11. Slavery and State Rights, Economies and Ways of Life: What Caused the Civil War?
12. "And the War Came," 1861: The Sumter Crisis, Comparative Strategies
13. Terrible Swift Sword: The Period of Confederate Ascendency, 1861-1862
14. Never Call Retreat: Military and Political Turning Points in 1863
15. Lincoln, Leadership, and Race: Emancipation as Policy
16. Days of Jubilee: The Meanings of Emancipation and Total War
17. Homefronts and Battlefronts: "Hard War" and the Social Impact of the Civil War
18. "War So Terrible": Why the Union Won and the Confederacy Lost at Home and Abroad
19. To Appomattox and Beyond: The End of the War and a Search for Meanings
20. Wartime Reconstruction: Imagining the Aftermath and a Second American Republic
21. Andrew Johnson and the Radicals: A Contest over the Meaning of Reconstruction
22. Constitutional Crisis and Impeachment of a President
23. Black Reconstruction in the South: The Freedpeople and the Economics of Land and Labor
24. Retreat from Reconstruction: the Grant Era and Paths to "Southern Redemption"
25. The "End" of Reconstruction: Disputed Election of 1876, and the "Compromise of 1877"
26. Race and Reunion: the Civil War in American Memory
27. Legacies of the Civil War
Final Exam


HIST 119: The Civil War and Reconstruction Era, 1845-1877 (Spring,2008)

Downloads

Course Pages:

The file below contains all of the course pages from this course andmay be downloaded for offline use. The file is offered in .zip format;you must have access to a suitable decompression application to unzipthe contents before use. After decompressing the file, please click"start.html" to launch.

[ download all course pages ] - size 1.5 MB - filetype application/zip



Course Media:

Audio and video files for this course may be downloaded in two ways: iTunes U or the links below for individual files.

To download all tracks from iTunes U, click the "Get Tracks" button on any course page in the iTunes U interface. If the download is interrupted, click "Resume" to continue the download process. You must have Apple's iTunes software installed on your computer to download from iTunes U.

 

To download individual media files from the course, please click the links in the Class Sessions section below. Apple QuickTime 7.2 or higher is required to view the videos, while the mp3 files will play in any mp3-compatible device/player.

 
 1. Introductions: Why Does the Civil War Era...[ high bandwidth ]   [ medium bandwidth ][ mp3 ]
 2. Southern Society: Slavery, King Cotton...[ high bandwidth ]   [ medium bandwidth ][ mp3 ]
 3. A Southern World View: the Old South...[ high bandwidth ]   [ medium bandwidth ][ mp3 ]
 4. A Northern World View: Yankee Society...[ high bandwidth ]   [ medium bandwidth ][ mp3 ]
 5. Telling a Free Story: Fugitive Slaves...[ high bandwidth ]   [ medium bandwidth ][ mp3 ]
 6. Expansion and Slavery: Legacies...[ high bandwidth ]   [ medium bandwidth ][ mp3 ]
 7. "A Hell of a Storm": The Kansas-Nebraska...[ high bandwidth ]   [ medium bandwidth ][ mp3 ]
 8. Dred Scott, Bleeding Kansas...[ high bandwidth ]   [ medium bandwidth ][ mp3 ]
 9. John Brown's Holy War: Terrorist or Heroic...[ high bandwidth ]   [ medium bandwidth ][ mp3 ]
 10. The Election of 1860 and the Secession Crisis[ high bandwidth ]   [ medium bandwidth ][ mp3 ]
 11. Slavery and State Rights, Economies...[ high bandwidth ]   [ medium bandwidth ][ mp3 ]
 12. "And the War Came," 1861: The Sumter...[ high bandwidth ]   [ medium bandwidth ][ mp3 ]
 13. Terrible Swift Sword: The Period...[ high bandwidth ]   [ medium bandwidth ][ mp3 ]
 14. Never Call Retreat: Military and Political...[ high bandwidth ]   [ medium bandwidth ][ mp3 ]
 15. Lincoln, Leadership, and Race...[ high bandwidth ]   [ medium bandwidth ][ mp3 ]
 16. Days of Jubilee: The Meanings...[ high bandwidth ]   [ medium bandwidth ][ mp3 ]
 17. Homefronts and Battlefronts: "Hard War"...[ high bandwidth ]   [ medium bandwidth ][ mp3 ]
 18. "War So Terrible": Why the Union Won...[ high bandwidth ]   [ medium bandwidth ][ mp3 ]
 19. To Appomattox and Beyond: The End...[ high bandwidth ]   [ medium bandwidth ][ mp3 ]
 20. Wartime Reconstruction: Imagining...[ high bandwidth ]   [ medium bandwidth ][ mp3 ]
 21. Andrew Johnson and the Radicals...[ high bandwidth ]   [ medium bandwidth ][ mp3 ]
 22. Constitutional Crisis and Impeachment...[ high bandwidth ]   [ medium bandwidth ][ mp3 ]
 23. Black Reconstruction in the South...[ high bandwidth ]   [ medium bandwidth ][ mp3 ]
 24. Retreat from Reconstruction: the Grant Era...[ high bandwidth ]   [ medium bandwidth ][ mp3 ]
 25. The "End" of Reconstruction: Disputed...[ high bandwidth ]   [ medium bandwidth ][ mp3 ]
 26. Race and Reunion: the Civil War...[ high bandwidth ]   [ medium bandwidth ][ mp3 ]
 27. Legacies of the Civil War[ high bandwidth ]   [ medium bandwidth ][ mp3 ]

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Anonymous, 2015-10-15 14:34:31
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