Week 4 Lesson Readings Chapter 13: A Nation Torn Apart: The Civil War, 1861—1865 Chapter 14: Now That We Are Free: Reconstruction and the New South, 1863—1890 Chapter 15: Conflict and Conquest: The Transformation of the West, 1860–1900 Introduction Civil War and Reconstruction Welcome to Week 4 of American History . This week's work is guided by COs 2 and 8. By the end of the week, you will be able to identify the events that led to the Civil War. You will also be able to describe the strengths and weaknesses of both the North and the South as the war began, and discuss the events that led to the utter defeat of the South and the end of the war.Lincoln’s plan for reconciliation ended with his assassination in 1865, and Andrew Johnson, the man who stumbled into the presidency, was not able to guide the nation forcefully.While there were some major accomplishments during Reconstruction – including two constitutional amendments and the nation’s first civil rights bill – the efforts of Southern Democrats to gain power in the South doomed Reconstruction. The final nail in the coffin came with the disputed election of Rutherford B. Hayes as President in 1876. The Civil War continues to fascinate both historians and ordinary Americans alike. Ken Burns pioneering documentary, The Civil War , attracted thousands of viewers when it first aired in 2002. Films like Glory and Gettysburg shed new light on the war.Based on the letters of Colonel Robert G. Shaw, the former depicts the exploits of the first all-black regiment authorized after the Emancipation
Proclamation. The latter focuses on the Battle of Gettysburg from the perspective of both the Union and the Confederacy. Some basic questions we will address this week: What were the events that propelled the United States into a civil war in 1861? Why and how did the Southern states secede from the Union, and what was President Lincoln’s response? What were the strengths and advantages for each side at the beginning of the Civil War? What events finally led to the utter defeat of the South and the End of the war? What were the key events of Reconstruction and why did it ultimately fail? As Schultz notes, “The Civil War left the nation irrevocably different than it had been in 1861… And the American government had been transformed into a powerful, centralized force no longer divided between freedom and slavery” (Schultz, 2009, p.252). Lesson Civil War and Reconstruction Introduction Slavery was the overriding issue in the country between 1812 and the 1850s. While the North developed its own culture, built on railroads and new communications technology, the South depended almost entirely on cotton, which was dependent on slaves. But there were some Americans who, for religious or secular reasons, fought for abolition. Their story marks one of the great social movements in American history.
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