2007-2008 & 2008-2009
This course served as an introduction to the era of the Civil War. Students learned about the social, political, economic, and cultural history of antebellum America through the period of Reconstruction. Topics included: the role of slavery in the coming of the Civil War; changes in party politics; antislavery activism; gender and reform movements; Lincoln’s life and wartime leadership; Union and Confederate military strategy and execution; African American wartime service and sacrifice; the Reconstruction Amendments; and the evolution of white supremacy across the nineteenth century.
The course’s core text was James McPherson’s Battle Cry of Freedom. Supplemental texts included: Frederick Douglass’ Narrative; William Gienapp’s Abraham Lincoln and Civil War America: A Biography; and Jane Dailey’s Before Jim Crow.
Films included: Cold Mountain; Glory; Gettysburg; and Gangs of New York.