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21H.116J / STS.029J The Civil War and Reconstruction, Fall 2005

What do I want, John Henry? Warrenton, VA, November 1862.
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.)])

Highlights of this Course

This course features a detailed reading list and outlines of the course lectures.

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"?


Prof. Merritt Roe Smith

Course Meeting Times

Two sessions / week
1.5 hours / session




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