The Civil War and Reconstruction - 1850-1861: A Nation Divided - Columbia UniversityedX
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A House Divided: The Road to Civil War, 1850-1861 begins by examining how generations of historians have explained the crisis of the Union. After discussing the institution of slavery and its central role in the southern and national economies, it turns to an account of the political and social history of the 1850s. It traces how the issue of the expansion of slavery came to dominate national politics, and how political leaders struggled, unsuccessfully, to resolve the growing crisis. We will examine the impact of key events such as Bleeding Kansas, the Dred Scott decision, the Lincoln-Douglas debates, and John Brown’s raid on Harper’s Ferry, and end with the dissolution of the Union in the winter of 1860-61. This course is part of the X Series, Civil War and Reconstruction, which introduces students to the most pivotal era in American history. The Civil War transformed the nation by eliminating the threat of secession and destroying the institution of slavery. It raised questions that remain central to our understanding of ourselves as a people and a nation – the balance of power between local and national authority, the boundaries of citizenship, and the meanings of freedom and equality. This X Series will examine the causes of the war, the road to secession, the conduct of the Civil War, the coming of emancipation, and the struggle after the war to breathe meaning into the promise of freedom for four million emancipated slaves.
What you'll learn
What you'll learn
- An overview of the political and social history of the 1850s
- How generations of historians have explained the crisis of the Union
- Slavery’s central role in the southern and national economies
- How the issue of the expansion of slavery came to dominate national politics
- Reasons for Lincoln’s rise to national prominence
- How political leaders struggled, unsuccessfully, to resolve the growing crisis in the nation. Key events in history, such as:
- Bleeding Kansas
- The Dred Scott decision
- The Lincoln-Douglas debates
- John Brown’s raid on Harper’s Ferry
- Dissolution of the Union in the winter of 1860-61
Eric Foner Eric Foner, DeWitt Clinton Professor of History at Columbia University, is one of the most prominent historians in the United States. He is one of only two persons to serve as president of the three major professional organizations: the American Historical Association, Organization of American Historians, and Society of American Historians. His most recent book, Gateway To Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad, is available wherever books are sold. Professor Foner is the author or editor of over twenty books. His publications have concentrated on the intersections of intellectual, political and social history and the history of American race relations. His most recent book, Gateway to Freedom, was released in the beginning of 2015.