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The Civil War Era Course Outline Dr. Mark Mraz

Course Description

This course covers all aspects of the Civil War Era which enrich our heritage from the past. Beginning in the Antebellum Period the course of study includes America's domestic, foreign, political and military posture from the Nullification Crisis through Reconstruction. Particular attention will be given to the role of Blacks, Women and local Pennsylvanians in the conflict. Major personalities such as Lincoln, Davis, Ruffin, Lee, Grant, Chestnut, the Grimke Sisters and Stonewall Jackson will also be studied.

Course Objectives:

Student will be able to:

1. Discuss the causes, course and outcome of the American Civil War.

2. Research key figures on the American scene during the period under study.

3. Develop historical thinking skills through the reading and analysis of primary source materials.

4. Understand the historic laws of causation and unintended consequences.

Course Summary Outline

1. The Crisis of Union (15 days)

A. Quarrels arising from the conquest of Mexican territory in the Southwest

B. Presidential election of 1848

C. Push for California statehood

D. Development of the Compromise of 1850

E. Reaction to the Compromise

F. The election of 1852

G. Manifest Destiny on the world scene

H. The Kansas-Nebraska Act

I. Northern reactions to the extension of slavery

J. The "Battle" for Kansas

K. The election of 1856

L. The The election of 1860

M. Secession begins


2. The War for Union (60 days)

A. End of the waiting game

B. The personal agonies of war

C. Balance sheet for the two sides

D. Early battles

E. Initial strategies for war

F. Naval actions

G. West and the Civil War

H. McClellan's Peninsular campaign

I. Second Battle of Bull Run

J. Lee's invasion at Antietam

K. Battle of Fredericksburg

L. Role of Women and Blacks in the war

M. Confederate diplomacy

N. Union politics

O. Confederate politics

P. Wearing down the Confederacy

Q. Defeat of the Confederacy

3. Reconstruction (15 days)

A. Impact of the Civil War

B. Development of a plan of Reconstruction

C. Assassination of Lincoln

D. Andrew Johnson and Reconstruction

1. Southern state reorganization

2. The Radicals

3. Johnson and Congress in battle

4. Congressional Reconstruction

5. Constitutional issues and the Supreme Court

6. The impeachment trial of Johnson

E. Radical rule in the South

F. The measure of corruption and abuse in Radical governments

g. The development of white terror techniques

h. The return of conservative control

i. The Grant years

j. Election of 1876


1. teacher constructioned tests

2. publisher constructioned tests

3. group projects

4. class discussions

5. reading journal

Methods of Instruction

1. teacher-student discussions

2. lectures

3. student reports

4. student internet projects

5. group activities

6. utilization of all available technology

a. pic-tel Equipment

c. C-D s

d. web sites

e. videos

7. debates

8. civil war general computer game

9. power point presentations


94% to 100% = A

86% to 93% = B

77% to 85% = C

70% to 76% = D

below 70% = F


Catton, Bruce. The Civil War. (New York: Hought-Mifflin/American Hertiage, 1985)