HIST-296 Civil War and Reconstruction
Spring for 2016-2017
In the midst of the Civil War, Lucy Buck of Virginia said "We shall never any of us be the same as we have been." The Civil War changed the United States so fundamentally that some have understood it as the culmination of the American Revolution, answering questions that the Founders left ambiguous. To others, the Civil War set whole new revolutions in motion, some of which remain incomplete. In either interpretation, the war overturned institutions, political habits, and the role of government for everyone in the nation. For those who lived in the southern half of the nation, the war abruptly eliminated the basic social structure that defined and ordered every aspect of life, and turned the single greatest source of wealth in the entire nation, slaves, into free men and women. The aftermath of the war presented the problem and the opportunity of doing nothing less than remaking society, and at war’s close some Americans hoped that the Federal government would dedicate itself to doing just that. In the end, Reconstruction left as many unanswered questions as the Founders did in the eighteenth century, and Americans then and since still struggle with the legacies of the Civil War and Reconstruction.
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Spring '17: Taylor B (file download)
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