Videos: The Civil War

In part one of this two-part look at the US Civil War, we look into the causes of the war, and the motivations of the individuals who went to war. The overarching causes and the individual motivations were not always the same, you see. John also looks into why the North won, and whether that outcome was inevitable. The North's industrial and population advantages are examined, as are the problems of the Confederacy, including its need to build a nation at the same time it was fighting a war. As usual, we don't get much into the actual battle by battle breakdown. He does talk a little about the overarching strategy that won the war, and Grant's plan to just overwhelm the South with numbers. Grant took a lot of losses in the latter days of the war, but in the end, it did lead to the surrender of the South. If you want to learn more about the Civil War, we recommend these books:

  • Battle Cry of Freedom by James McPherson
  • The Civil War by Shelby Foote


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In part two, the video teaches you how the Civil War played a large part in making the United States the country that it is today. The video covers some of the key ways in which Abraham Lincoln influenced the outcome of the war, and how the lack of foreign intervention also helped the Union win the war. The video also covers the technology that made the Civil War different than previous wars. New weapons helped to influence the outcomes of battles, but photography influenced how the public at large perceived the war. In addition, the video gets into the long term effects of the war, including the federalization and unification of the United States. All this plus homesteading, land grant universities, railroads, federal currency, and taxes.

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