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HIST313: War and American Society

Unit 4: Brother Against Brother - The American Civil War   In 1861, social and political tensions that had been growing since the founding of the American Republic finally boiled over.  Southern leaders feared that the federal government would attempt to regulate slave owning as a precursor to an outright ban on the practice.  Advocates of states’ rights used Republican Abraham Lincoln’s 1860 election as grounds for secession from the Union.  Just as secession tore the nation apart, it also splintered America’s military forces.  Many southern-born officers returned to their home states to organize military units to defend the new Confederacy against invasion from the North.  The Civil War was a total war that took a heavy toll on civilian populations, particularly in the South.  The war also highlighted the obsolescence of traditional battlefield tactics in the face of modern firearms and artillery.  The northern victory restored the Union, but the post-war occupation of the South raised serious questions about the role of the military as a political tool of the federal government.  In this unit, we will examine the origins of the Civil War and look at the military strategies of the North and South.  We will also examine the consequences of the war for civilian populations in the North and the South, and look at why the war marked an important turning point in the history of the United States.

Unit 4 Time Advisory
This unit should take you approximately 9 ½ hours to complete.

Unit4 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to:

  • Explain how the Civil War fractured American society and represented an important watershed moment in American military history.

  • Reading: Wikibooks: US History: “Civil War” Link: Wikibooks: US History:Civil War” (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Please read the entirety of the website in order to get a sense of the causes, progress and consequences of the American Civil War.  This reading addresses subunits 4.1 through 4.7.4.
     
    Terms of Use: The article above is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0 (HTML).  You can find the original Wikibooks version of this article here (HTML).

4.1 The Politics of War   - Lecture: C-SPAN, American Presidents: “Life Portrait of Abraham Lincoln” Link: C-SPAN, American Presidents: Life Portrait of Abraham Lincoln (Adobe Flash)
 
Instructions: Please watch the entire 3 hour debate to better understand Abraham Lincoln’s actions and policies during the American Civil War.  This program addresses subunits 4.1 through 4.1.4.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Lecture: Google Videos: Massachusetts School of Law’s Books of Our Time: “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln” Link: Google Videos: Massachusetts School of Law’s Books of Our Time: “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln     (Adobe Flash)
     
    Instructions: Please watch the entire 1 hour video discussion to better understand the political context of the American Civil War.  This program addresses subunits 4.1 through 4.1.4.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.    

4.1.1 States' Rights   4.1.2 The Secession Struggle   4.1.3 A Nation Divided   4.1.4 Social Divisions   4.2 An Army Divided   4.2.1 Many U.S. Army Officers Return to the South   4.2.2 Recruiting Efforts on Both Sides   4.2.3 Military Challenges   4.3 Northern Strategies   - Lecture: C-SPAN, American Presidents: “Life Portrait of Ulysses S. Grant” Link: C-SPAN, American Presidents: Life Portrait of Ulysses S. Grant (Adobe Flash)
 
Instructions: Please watch the entire 2 ½ hour debate to better understand Ulysses S. Grant’s actions as military commander during the American Civil War.  This program addresses subunits 4.3 through 4.3.3.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

4.3.1 The Anaconda Plan   4.3.2 Isolate South Economically and Politically   4.3.3 Defeat Southern Armies   4.4 Southern Strategies   - Web Media: PBS, American Experience “Robert E. Lee” Link: PBS, American Experience, Robert E. Lee (Adobe Flash)
 
Instructions: Please watch the entire 70-minute documentary to better understand the Civil War by experiencing it through the eyes of the Confederacy’s most important general, Robert E. Lee.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

4.4.1 Obtain International Recognition   4.4.2 Defend Homeland   4.4.3 Fight a Defensive War   4.4.4 Use Invasions as a Tool to Strike at North   4.5 Carnage on the Battlefield   4.5.1 Traditional Tactics   4.5.2 Modern Weapons   4.5.3 Mass Casualties   4.5.4 Innovations   4.6 Total War   - Lecture: YouTube: Yale University: David Blight’s “The Civil War and Reconstruction Era, 1845-1877”: “Lecture 17: Homefronts and Battlefronts: ‘Hard War’ and the Social Impact of the Civil War” Link: YouTube: Yale University: David Blight’s “The Civil War and Reconstruction Era, 1845-1877”: “Lecture 17: Homefronts and Battlefronts, 1845-1877: 'Hard War' and the Social Impact of the Civil War” (YouTube)
           
Also available in:

[Flash](http://openmedia.yale.edu/projects/media_viewer/video_viewer2.php?window_size=medium&type=flv&title=HIST%20119%20-%20Lecture%2017%20-%20Prof.%20David%20Blight&path=%2Fcourses%2Fspring08%2Fhist119%2Fflash%2Fhist119_17_032508)  

[Quicktime](http://openmedia.yale.edu/projects/media_viewer/video_viewer2.php?window_size=large&type=mov&title=HIST%20119%20-%20Lecture%2017%20-%20Prof.%20David%20Blight&path=%2Fcourses%2Fspring08%2Fhist119%2Fmov%2Fhist119_17_032508.mov)  
 [iTunes U<span style="display: none;"> </span><span
style="display: none;"> </span>](http://deimos3.apple.com/WebObjects/Core.woa/Browse/yale.edu-dz.2821767620?i=1168022318)<span
style="display: none;"> </span><span style="display: none;">
</span>  

[Mp3](http://openmedia.yale.edu/projects/media_viewer/video_viewer2.php?window_size=audio&type=mp3&title=HIST%20119%20-%20Lecture%2017%20-%20Prof.%20David%20Blight&path=%2Fcourses%2Fspring08%2Fhist119%2Fmp3%2Fhist119_17_032508.mp3)  
 [Transcript (HTML)](http://oyc.yale.edu/transcript/558/hist-119)  
    
 Instructions: Please listen to Professor David Blight’s entire
55-minute lecture to get a sense of the war’s impact on American
society.  This lecture addresses subunits 4.6 through 4.6.4.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

4.6.1 Involvement of Civilian Populations   4.6.2 Destruction of Local Economies   4.6.3 The Politics of War   4.6.4 The Draft   4.7 The War’s Aftermath   4.7.1 Social Divisions   4.7.2 Political Divisions   4.7.3 U.S. Army as a Political Tool   4.7.4 Posse Comitatus Act—Restricting the Reach of the Military