The Civil War and Reconstruction Era, 1845-1877

Course Description

This course explores the causes, course, and consequences of the American Civil War, from the 1840s to 1877. The primary goal of the course is to understand the multiple meanings of a transforming event in American history. Those meanings may be defined in many ways: national, sectional, racial, constitutional, individual, social, intellectual, or moral. Four broad themes are closely examined: the crisis of union and disunion in an expanding republic; slavery, race, and emancipation as national problem, personal experience, and social process; the experience of modern, total war for individuals and society; and the political and social challenges of Reconstruction.

Copyright Information

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The Civil War and Reconstruction Era, 1845-1877

Professor David Blight, at Yale University.
4 ratings

Video Lectures & Study Materials

Visit the official course website for more study materials:

# Lecture Play Lecture
1 Introductions: Why Does the Civil War Era Have a Hold on American Historical Imagination? (43:00) Play Video
2 Southern Society: Slavery, King Cotton, and Antebellum (52:00) Play Video
3 A Southern World View: The Old South and Proslavery Ideology (51:00) Play Video
4 A Northern World View: Yankee Society, Antislavery Ideology (51:00) Play Video
5 Telling a Free Story: Fugitive Slaves and the Underground (50:00) Play Video
6 Expansion and Slavery: Legacies of the Mexican War (53:00) Play Video
7 "A Hell of a Storm": The Kansas-Nebraska Act and the Birth (48:00) Play Video
8 Dred Scott, Bleeding Kansas, and the Impending Crisis (52:00) Play Video
9 John Brown's Holy War: Terrorist or Heroic Revolutionary? (52:00) Play Video
10 The Election of 1860 and the Secession Crisis (51:00) Play Video
11 Slavery and State Rights, Economies and Ways of Life: What Caused the Civil War? (50:00) Play Video
12 "And the War Came," 1861: The Sumter Crisis, Comparative Strategies (47:00) Play Video
13 Terrible Swift Sword: The Period of Confederate Ascendency, 1861-1862 (53:00) Play Video
14 Never Call Retreat: Military and Political Turning Points in 1863 (50:28) Play Video
15 Lincoln, Leadership, and Race: Emancipation as Policy (52:00) Play Video
16 Days of Jubilee: The Meanings of Emancipation and Total War (49:00) Play Video
17 Homefronts and Battlefronts: "Hard War" and the Social Impact of the Civil War (51:00) Play Video
18 "War So Terrible": Why the Union Won and the Confederacy Lost at Home and Abroad (51:00) Play Video
19 To Appomattox and Beyond: The End of the War and a Search (51:12) Play Video
20 Wartime Reconstruction: Imagining the Aftermath and a Second American Republic (49:00) Play Video
21 Andrew Johnson and the Radicals: A Contest over the Meaning of Reconstruction (51:00) Play Video
22 Constitutional Crisis and Impeachment of a President (52:00) Play Video
23 Black Reconstruction in the South: The Freedpeople and the Economics of Land and Labor (51:00) Play Video
24 Retreat from Reconstruction: The Grant Era and Paths to "Southern Redemption" (50:00) Play Video
25 The "End" of Reconstruction: Disputed Election of 1876, and the "Compromise of 1877" (52:00) Play Video
26 Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory (51:42) Play Video
27 Legacies of the Civil War (49:16) Play Video


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