What is the course about?
It was America’s bloodiest clash – pitting friend and family against one another, and resulted in the death of more than 620,000, with millions more injured over the four years (1861 – 1865).
This course will be examining the contested reasons behind the American Civil War – slavery and maintaining the Union – state versus federal control over different issues and aspects of American life. We will be looking at a few of the deadliest battles and personalities of the War (however, this is not a military history course – therefore it will not be going into detailed-depth on any of the battles or personalities to be covered). Along with these aspects of the War, we will be examining the role of women, African slaves and freedmen, and the economics of paying for the war – manpower, weapons, and food. The War will change the landscape of America – politically, economically and socially. Tutor: Gregor Davey.
What will we cover?
- The reasons behind the American Civil War and why they are contested still today by historians
- The key personalities of the War
- The deadliest battles of the War
- The role of women, African slaves and Freedmen in during the War
- Economics of paying for the War effort by both sides – Confederates (Southern States) and the Unionists (Northern States)
- What is happening beyond the battlefields in America? (Western territories, etc.).
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- Identify key arguments / reasons for the Civil War starting
- Outline the economic issues of both sides in the War
- Understand what is achieved/won/loss in America as a result of the War.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This is an `introductory` course and does not assume any previous study or reading although you will need a good grasp of English to keep up with the course. You will gain more from the course, in terms of enjoyment and learning, if you are able and willing to do some supplementary reading. As with most of our history and current affairs courses, an open mind and a willingness to listen to and think about views with which you do not always agree are more important than specific levels of skills.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
A mixture of lecture, Q & A, source work using primary and secondary sources, pair/group and class discussion. A comprehensive bibliography will be given at the beginning of the course. Also (brief ) reading materials will be given at the end of each session. Please note, that supplementary reading is not a course requirement, but you will get more out of the course if you do some extra reading.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
A list of recommended reading material and recommended websites will be provided, but this is optional. Please bring pen and paper.
Recommended readings/books: (optional)
- Jonathan Daniel Wells, A House Divided. The Civil War and Nineteenth Century America, 2012.
- James McPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom, 1988.
- Eric Foner, The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery
- David M. Potter, The Impending Crisis,1848-1861, 1976.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Other American history courses that may be of interest to you can be found on the college website: www.citylit.ac.uk with further details about each course.