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History 415(G): Civil War and Reconstruction

Oct 26, 2009

In Spring 2010, Dr. Tim Roberts, Assistant Professor of History, will offer History 415(G): Civil War and Reconstruction. The course (STAR 45063) will meet Tuesday and Thursday afternoons at 12:30 p.m.

The American Civil War was the most important event in the world between 1789 and 1917. It saved the United States from the brink of destruction, ended slavery, and confirmed the American empire. It destroyed a way of life for those Americans who supported, or at least lived in, the Confederate States of America. The Civil War liquidated about $40 billion in wealth that some white Americans had invested in black slavery, a financial catastrophe for the slaveholders that was larger than any stock market collapse. And the war made the railroad lawyer Abraham Lincoln a national martyr to civil rights. The war killed 650,000 Americans, more than all other American wars combined through the Vietnam conflict.

Yet its other results are complicated. What did it do to "states' rights"? How about civil rights for minorities? What is its legacy for presidential power during wartime? And what did it mean in local American communities, beneath the national myths it created? We will explore these issues through key secondary and primary sources on the Civil War, through studying its images in American popular culture and memory, and through the class's creation of a website, "The Civil War in Western Illinois," which students will design and fill with original research articles and photographs. Graduate students will become familiar with the essential scholarship on the Civil War and Reconstruction era, in preparation for their comprehensive exams.

For further information on History 415(G), please contact Dr. Roberts.

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