The Civil War was without question the costliest American conflict we have ever fought with over 700,000 deaths. Though a great tragedy in lives lost it led to liberty for millions of African slaves, and transformed the culture and history of America in a way that was only superseded by the American Revolution. Only the contributions of George Washington in the founding of America rank above the contributions of Abraham Lincoln in saving it. In many ways the Civil War was a fulcrum point in American history, and the stakes were the very survival of republican government itself. In the immortal words of Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg on November 19th, 1863, “that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
The objective of this survey course is to give students an overview of our Civil War history including the major causes, events and people who were involved.
A recommended reading list and handout will be provided, and there will be a question and answer session after the lecture.