“The Civil War is the thing that makes America different. It was our most tremendous experience, and it’s not quite like anything that ever happened to anyone else … The story of the war needs retelling because it helped to shape the future of the human race.” Bruce Catton, historian
The Civil War is possibly the most studied, discussed, and popular part of American history. Many of you have background knowledge of the subject, which will only help in class. If we are to truly understand United States history and the development of our society today, the institution of slavery, the resulting Civil War and the reconstruction of the nation must play a central role in our study. It is essential to understand the impact that slavery had and still has on America’s story as the central cause of a great division among the states. We will look at the political fracture that led to secession, examine the progression of the war itself and its effect at home and on the battlefield, and evaluate the success and failure of the period of rebuilding the nation. Throughout the unit, we will repeatedly reflect on the legacy and memory of the war. It is important that you keep up with your assignments and homework so our class periods will be spent productively and enjoyably!
How do we begin? By examining how slavery came to North America and remained in the United States after the Constitution was ratified. Use “Slavery Comes to America” from ABC-CLIO and this short reading guide to review and preview “The Peculiar Institution”.