HIST 245: American Civil War & Reconstruction

Class Program
Degree Code
Social Science
Credits 5 Lecture Hours 55
This course examines the institutions, events, and personalities that made the Civil War an “irrepressible conflict,” and the difficult reconstruction period that followed. The onset of the Civil War was rooted in the national controversy over slavery. For this reason a detailed look at southern slavery, northern industrialism and sectional politics and secession will precede study of the military history of the war itself and the political reconstruction.
Course Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the course, students should be able to demonstrate the following knowledge or skills:

  1. Understand the significance of the Civil War in the lives of contemporaries.
  2. Explain the importance of that conflict as a watershed in American history.
  3. Effectively argue the constitutional issues related to states’ rights and federalism.
  4. Write and speak about the personalities and issues involved in secession, the Civil War, and the Reconstruction Era.
Course Content Outline
  1. Southern slavery
    1. Its origins in British mercantile policy.
    2. Why the South was ideal for plantation agriculture
    3. Early questions about slavery in the Constitutional Convention
    4. Expansion due to the rapid increase in cotton sales
    5. How the South became a “conscious minority”
  2. Northern Industrialization
    1. Why the North was ideal for industry
    2. The rise of free-soil sentiment
    3. How the North came to take an antislavery position
  3. The “wedges of separation”
    1. Clay’s compromises
    2. Anti-slavery and pro-slavery politics through the 1850s
    3. Lincoln’s election
    4. Secession and the Confederacy
  4. The War
    1. Lincoln’s call to arms
    2. The war in the east
    3. The war in the west
    4. The life of the soldier
    5. The home front
    6. Appomattox and the aftermath
  5. Reconstruction
    1. Presidential Reconstruction
    2. Congressional Reconstruction
Department Guidelines

PO4 should be assessed: Students will be able to recognize or articulate personal/interpersonal aspects of, or connections between, diverse cultural, social, or political contexts.

PO5 should be assessed: Students will be able to solve problems by gathering, interpreting, combining and/or applying information from multiple sources.