What you will learn
- How generations of historians have explained the road to secession, the causes and conduct of the war, the coming of emancipation, and the struggle to breathe meaning into the promise of freedom for four million emancipated slaves
- Slavery's central role in the southern and national economies
- How the issue of the expansion of slavery came to dominate national politics
- The dramatic change in historians' interpretations of the period in the last two generations
- How the Civil War and Reconstruction turned on issues of continued relevance today
Civil War and Reconstruction, which introduces students to the most pivotal era in American history. The Civil War transformed the nation by eliminating the threat of secession and destroying the institution of slavery. It raised questions that remain central to our understanding of ourselves as a people and a nation – the balance of power between local and national authority, the boundaries of citizenship, and the meanings of freedom and equality. This XSeries will examine the causes of the war, the road to secession, the conduct of the Civil War, the coming of emancipation, and the struggle after the war to breathe meaning into the promise of freedom for four million emancipated slaves. One theme throughout the series is what might be called the politics of history – how the world in which a historian lives affects his or her view of the past, and how historical interpretations reinforce or challenge the social order of the present.
Courses in this program
ColumbiaX's The Civil War and Reconstruction XSeries Program
- 4–6 hours per week, for 20 weeks
Discover how the issue of slavery came to dominate American politics, and how political leaders struggled and failed to resolve the growing crisis in the nation.
- 4–6 hours per week, for 16 weeks
Learn about the political, social, and economic changes in the Union and the Confederacy and the Civil War’s long-term economic and intellectual impact.
- 4–6 hours per week, for 18 weeks
Examine the pivotal but misunderstood era of Reconstruction that followed the Civil War, the first effort in American history to construct an interracial democracy.
- This is a series of 3 courses that comprise Eric Foner’s on campus course. They are best taken in order.
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