21H.116J / STS.029J The Civil War and Reconstruction

As taught in: Fall 2005

A photograph of civil war soldiers sitting in a camp.

Warrenton, VA, November 1862 / Alex. Gardner, photographer. (Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division [reproduction number, LC-USZ62-98249 (b&w film copy neg.)])




Prof. Merritt Roe Smith

Course Features

Course Highlights

Course Description

Although attention will be devoted to the causes and long-term consequences of the Civil War, this class will focus primarily on the war years (1861-1865) with special emphasis on the military and technological aspects of the conflict. Four questions, long debated by historians, will receive close scrutiny:

  1. What caused the war?
  2. Why did the North win the war?
  3. Could the South have won?
  4. To what extent is the Civil War America's "defining moment"?