Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Civil War and Reconstruction (HIST 119)

6. Expansion and Slavery: Legacies of the Mexican War and the Compromise of 1850
The Civil War and Reconstruction (HIST 119)

In this lecture, Professor Blight discusses some of the conflicts, controversies, and compromises that led up to the Civil War. After analyzing Frederick Douglass's 1852 Fourth of July speech and the inherent conflict between American slavery and American freedom, the lecture moves into a lengthy discussion of the war with Mexico in the 1840s. Professor Blight explains why northerners and southerners made "such a fuss" over the issue of slavery's expansion into the western territories. The lecture ends with the crisis over California's admission to statehood and the Compromise of 1850.


7. "A Hell of a Storm": The Kansas-Nebraska Act and the Birth of the Republican Party, 1854-55
The Civil War and Reconstruction (HIST 119)

Professor Blight narrates some of the important political crises of the 1850s. The lecture begins with an account of the Compromise of 1850, the swan song of the great congressional triumvirate--Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, and John C. Calhoun. The lecture then describes northern opposition to the Fugitive Slave Act passed as part of the Compromise, and the publication of Harriet Beecher Stowe's classic Uncle Tom's Cabin in 1852. Professor Blight then introduces the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, the most pivotal political event of the decade, and the catalyst for the birth of the Republican party.


8. Dred Scott, Bleeding Kansas, and the Impending Crisis of the Union, 1855-58
The Civil War and Reconstruction (HIST 119)

Professor Blight continues his march through the political events of the 1850s. Blight continues his description of the aftermath of the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, describing the guerilla war that reigned in the territory of Kansas for much of 1856. The lecture continues, describing the caning of Senator Charles Sumner on the floor of the US Senate and the birth of the Republican party. The lecture concludes with the near-victory of Republican candidate John C. Fremont in the presidential election of 1856, and the passage of the Dred Scott decision in 1857.


9. John Brown's Holy War: Terrorist or Heroic Revolutionary?
The Civil War and Reconstruction (HIST 119)

Professor Blight narrates the momentous events of 1857, 1858, and 1859. The lecture opens with an analysis of the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858. Next, Blight analyzes the Dred Scott decision and discusses what it meant for northerners--particularly African Americans--to live in "the land of the Dred Scott decision." The lecture then shifts to John Brown. Professor Blight begins by discussing the way that John Brown has been remembered in art and literature, and then offers a summary of Brown's life, closing with his raid on Harpers Ferry in October of 1859.


10. The Election of 1860 and the Secession Crisis
The Civil War and Reconstruction (HIST 119)

This lecture picks off where the previous one left off, with a discussion of the legacies of John Brown. The most important thing about John Brown's raid, Professor Blight argues, was not the event itself, but the way Americans engaged with it after the fact. Next, Professor Blight discusses the election of 1860, a four-way battle won by the Republican candidate, Abraham Lincoln. In the wake of Lincoln's election, the seven states of the deep South, led by South Carolina, seceded. The lecture closes with an analysis of some of the rationales underlying southern secession.


11. Slavery and State Rights, Economies and Ways of Life: What Caused the Civil War?
The Civil War and Reconstruction (HIST 119)

Professor Blight begins this lecture with an attempt to answer the question "why did the South secede in 1861?" Blight offers five possible answers to this question: preservation of slavery, "the fear thesis," southern nationalism, the "agrarian thesis," and the "honor thesis." After laying out the roots of secession, Blight focuses on the historical profession, suggesting some of the ways in which historians have attempted to explain the coming of the Civil War. Blight begins with James Ford Rhodes, a highly influential amateur historian in the late 19th century, and then introduces Charles and Mary Beard, whose economic interpretations of the Civil War had their heyday in the 1920s and 1930s.


12. "And the War Came," 1861: The Sumter Crisis, Comparative Strategies
The Civil War and Reconstruction (HIST 119)

After finishing with his survey of the manner in which historians have explained the coming of the Civil War, Professor Blight focuses on Fort Sumter. After months of political maneuvering, the Civil War began when Confederates fired on Fort Sumter, in the harbor outside Charleston, SC. The declaration of hostilities prompted four more states--Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Arkansas--to secede. Professor Blight closes the lecture with a brief discussion of some of the forces that motivated Americans--North and South--to go to war.


13. Terrible Swift Sword: The Period of Confederate Ascendency, 1861-1862
he Civil War and Reconstruction (HIST 119)

Professor Blight discusses the expectations, advantages, and disadvantages with which North and South entered the Civil War. Both sides, he argues, expected and desired a short, contained conflict. The northern advantages enumerated in this lecture include industrial capability, governmental stability, and a strong navy. Confederate advantages included geography and the ability to fight a defensive war. Professor Blight concludes the lecture with the Battle of Bull Run, the first major engagement of the war.


14. Never Call Retreat: Military and Political Turning Points in 1863
The Civil War and Reconstruction (HIST 119)

Professor Blight lectures on the military history of the early part of the war. Beginning with events in the West, Blight describes the Union victories at Fort Donelson and Fort Henry, introduces Union General Ulysses S. Grant, and narrates the horrific battle of Shiloh, fought in April of 1862. Moving back East, the lecture describes the Union General George McClellan's abortive 1862 Peninsula campaign, which introduced the world to Confederate General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson. The lecture concludes with Confederate General Robert E. Lee's decision to take the battle to the North.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Share It

HOME

HOME
Click here to return to the US Slave Home Page