Self-Guided American Civil War Study Syllabus




Week 1

1. Welcome to this self-guided online FREE course on the American Civil War

A Conflicted Nation

2. The Founders and Slavery

John C. Calhoun, "Slavery as a Positive Good"

3. The Ideological Origins of Secession

Jefferson Davis, "Farewell Speech to the US Senate"
Daniel Webster, Second Reply to Hayne, January 1830
John C. Calhoun, Southern Address, 1849

4. Expansion and Sectionalism

Territorial Maps, 1775-1920

Week 3

The Gathering Storm

5. Guest Lecture by Poet Lucille Clifton

Lucille Clifton, On "at the cemetery, walnut grove plantation, South Carolina, 1989,"
Hilary Holladay, "Black Names in White Space: Lucille Clifton's South," The Southern Literary Journal,
Linda Brent, Narrative of a Slave Girl
Frederick Douglass, "Independence Day Speech"

6. Crises of the 1850s

Harriet Beecher Stowe's, Uncle Tom's Cabin Chapter 9: "In Which it Appears That a Senator is But a Man"
Nicholas Brimblecomb, Uncles Tom's Cabin in Ruins! Letter VIII: "The Fugitive Slave Law"

7. Lincoln and Davis

Abraham Lincoln, "A House Divided Speech," 1858
The Lincoln-Douglas Debates, 1858
Election of 1856 and 1860 (map - you need to select the date of the election you wish to see.)
Henry David Thoreau, "A Plea for Captain Brown," 1859

Week 4

Secession and War

8. Secession and Fort Sumter

Prelimenary Events
Jefferson Davis, "Farewell Speech to the US Senate"
South Carolina, Articles of Secession, 1860
Abraham Lincoln, First Inaugural
Alexander Stephens, Cornerstone Speech, March 21, 1861
Journal of the Public and Secret Proceedings of the Convention of the People of Georgia, 1861
Robert Toombs, Speech to the Georgia Legislature, November 13, 1860
John Preston, Commissioner from South Carolina to the Convention of Virginia, February 19, 1861
Secession: Considered as a Right in the States (Mississippi)
Crisis at Fort Sumter
War Preparations in the North
The Confederate Government at Montgomery

9. What They Fought For

Sullivan Ballou Letter
The Valley of the Shadow: The War Years, Spring 1861- Spring 1865

10. The Diplomacy of War

Week 5


11. War

Alexander Graham's Photographs from Antietam

Week 6

Emancipation to Gettysburg

History of Civil War Medicine
Medical Care
Civil War Nurses

12. Emancipation

Harriet Jacobs, Life Among the Contrabands
The Emancipation Proclamation
Colored Troops

13. Gettysburg

Robert E. Lee, General Orders, No. 73
Haskell's (Dartmouth 1854) Account of the Battle of Gettysburg
The United States Military Academy Maps
Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address, 1863
Abraham Lincoln, Proclamation of Amnesty, 1863

Suggested Movie: Glory

Week 7

The Impact of War

14. The Northern Home Front

The Civil War Home Front

15. The Confederacy

Jefferson Davis, Speech at Jackson, Mississippi, 1862
The Southern Homefront, 1861-1865

Week 8

Destructive War

16. Grant and Sherman

Abraham Lincoln, Second Inaugural, 1865
William T. Sherman, Orders to the Mayor and City Council of Atlanta
William T. Sherman, Special Field Orders, No. 120

17. War's End

Major General John B. Gordon, Appomattox

22. Lincoln's Assassination

Assassination of Abraham Lincoln

Week 9


18. The Politics of Reunion

The Impeachment of Andrew Johnson

19. The Freedmen

Louisa Jacobs, "Letter from Savannah," March 1866
"From the Freedman's Record" September 1866

20.Lynching statistics

Week 10

The Significance of the War and the Lost Cause

21. The Lost Cause

James McPherson, Jefferson Lecture, March 27, 2000, National Endowment for the Humanities
The League of the South