What is the course about?
This course will look at American history from 1815 to 1865. Much of the course will focus on how regional divisions developed, how the topic of slavery divided the nation, and how that ultimately culminated in The Civil War. However, we will also look at other political, economic, social, and cultural developments during that half century.
What will we cover?
- The U.S. Civil War
- How slavery evolved during the period from 1815 to 1865
- How the abolitionist movement developed in the United States
- The early industrial era
- Manifest Destiny and westward expansion
- The rise and fall of the Second Party System in politics
- Changing patterns of immigration to the United States.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- Understand how and why the American Civil War developed
- Understand why the North won
- Understand some of the ways, both subtle and overt, that slavery impacted American society.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This is an introductory-level course. No prior knowledge is necessary, only curiosity.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
- The tutor will use a combination of lecture, discussion, and group activities to teach the course.
- You do not need to do work outside of class, but reading materials will be available if you wish to learn more.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
- Be prepared to take notes. It is suggested you bring a pen and paper or a laptop/tablet.
If you would like to read up on this topic in advance of the class, the following books are suggested:
- Daniel Walker Howe - What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848
- James M. McPherson - Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era
[This is the follow up to Howe’s book and covers 1848-1865]
- Walter A. McDougall - Throes of Democracy: The American Civil War Era, 1829-1877.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Have a look at our other American History courses online or in our prospectus.