Instructor: Prof. Christopher Clark
The Civil War (1861-65) was the direst crisis to face the United States since its founding in the American Revolution. The secession of eleven southern states to form the Confederate States of America would, if it had been sustained, have permanently divided the nation. As it was, it took a four-year-long war and the loss of probably more than 750,000 lives to bring the Confederacy to an end.
Using contemporary documents and recent historical works, we’ll explore the war’s origins, events, and outcomes; explain the creation and eventual defeat of the Confederacy, and why the war lasted so long; examine the abolition of slavery and the postwar legacies of Reconstruction, civil rights, and race-based repression; and look at how the war changed the course of U.S. history, affected Americans of all kinds, and has been marked ever since in national memory.