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NCHS-5

Civil War and Reconstruction (1850-1877)


1.  The causes of the Civil War

A.  The student understands how the North and South differed and how politics and ideologies led to the Civil War

2.  The course and character of the Civil War and its effects on the American people

A.  The student understands how the resources of the Union and Confederacy affected the course of the war

B.  The student understands the social experience of the war on the battlefield and homefront

3.  How various reconstruction plans succeeded or failed

A.  The student understands the political controversy over Reconstruction

B.  The student understands the Reconstruction programs to transform social relations in the South

C.  The student understands the successes and failures of Reconstruction in the South, North, and West


Resources:

Colonial City: Revolutionary Battleground
Resource Type: E-Seminar

Relevant pages:
New York and the Civil War

Relevant transcripts:
A Free and Independent City
Bitter Rivals
Slavery: A Business Necessity
New York Fights to Protect Its Business
Conclusion: The City Prospers as Never Before

Relevant interactive tools:
The Draft Riots
The Draft Riots

Urban Crisis: Fire and Water
Resource Type: E-Seminar

Relevant texts:
The World Trade Center and the Future of the City

Urban Crisis: Disease, Crime, and Space
Resource Type: E-Seminar

Relevant texts:
Background to the Riots

Relevant transcripts:
Summer of 1863

Abolitionism and Antislavery
Resource Type: E-Seminar

Relevant pages:
Conclusion

The Civil War
Resource Type: E-Seminar

Relevant pages:
Features of the Civil War: North and South Compared
The Road to Emancipation: The Actions of Slaves
Black Soldiers: Service and Citizenship
Black Soldiers: Northern Sentiments
The End of Slavery

Relevant transcripts:
Service had a profound effect on black soldiers and the black community.

Conclusion
Resource Type: Primary Source
In the spring of 1861, Fort Sumter, located in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina, remained in Union hands despite South Carolina's succession. The Confederacy fired on the fort in April and inaugurated the Civil War.

Mississippi's Declaration of Secession
Resource Type: Primary Source
The first state to secede was South Carolina, doing so on December 20, 1860. Before the end of February, all the states of the Deep South (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas) had seceded.

African Americans and the Civil War
Resource Type: Document-Based Question
This rich variety of primary sources allows students to evaluate the role and historical agency of African Americans. When W. E. B. DuBois wrote Black Reconstruction in America (1935), he quoted a contemporary historian who gave no credit to African Americans for the freedom they won. These documents provide evidence of the roles African Americans played in the history of the Civil War and the larger history of their fight for freedom and equality.

Harriet Tubman's Letter to Lincoln
Resource Type: Primary Source
After escaping from slavery in 1849, Harriet Tubman became one of the most prominent abolitionists and a driving force behind the various secret escape routes for slaves. In this quotation from a letter by another great abolitionist, Lydia Maria Child, Tubman seeks to influence President Abraham Lincoln.

Lincoln's Letter to Horace Greeley
Resource Type: Primary Source
President Abraham Lincoln responds on August 22, 1862, to the publisher Horace Greeley, who three days earlier criticized the government for not making emancipation a key war aim. What Greeley did not know and what Lincoln in his letter does not divulge is that a draft of the Emancipation Proclamation was on Lincoln's desk as he wrote this letter to Greeley.

Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation
Resource Type: Primary Source
Read the Emancipation Proclamation to determine whom exactly it set free. Was the Proclamation issued because the war was not going well for the North or because African Americans were demanding that the destruction of slavery become the key aim of the war?

Recruiting Poster
Resource Type: Primary Source
President Abraham Lincoln did not endorse the active recruitment of free African Americans into the Union army until 1863.

African American Soldiers
Resource Type: Primary Source
This was one of many battles in which the new African American troops distinguished themselves.

African American Troops Liberating Slaves
Resource Type: Primary Source
As the African American presence in the Northern war effort increased, so did the chances of freeing slaves from Southern plantations.

A Man Knows a Man
Resource Type: Primary Source
Military service, especially in battle, was often seen as a rite of passage that turned boys into men. Physical scarring or maiming served as the visible symbol of manhood tested and earned through combat.

The Thirteenth Amendment
Resource Type: Primary Source
The Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is one of the legacies of the Civil War.

Moot Court: Central Park on Trial
Resource Type: Classroom Simulation
This simulation, a moot court, engages students in social and moral reform. By exploring how nineteeth-century social and political elites dispossessed various groups such as African Americans in order to build Central Park, students will understand how the present-day problems of gentrification and urban renewal have their roots in nineteeth-century reform.

General Benjamin Butler to General Winfield Scott
Resource Type: Primary Source
Two Union generals discuss emancipation.

The Second Confiscation Act
Resource Type: Primary Source
The U.S. Congress passsed legislation to inhibit treason against the Union.

The Secession Crisis
Resource Type: Document-Based Question
This selection of primary sources allows students to interpret the Civil War as an ideological battle, pitting abolitionists against slavery's apologists, and Northerners against Southerners. Students will understand why most of the Southern states chose secession over union.

Slavery a Positive Good
Resource Type: Primary Source
John C. Calhoun was vice president of the United States (1825-32) and U.S. senator from South Carolina for most of the period from 1832 to 1850.

The Civil War and the Expansion of Slavery
Resource Type: Document-Based Question
This DBQ focuses on the decade of crisis, the 1850s, during which the question of the expansion of slavery tore the country apart. The documents selected include the classic evidence that can be used to prove that the expansion of slavery was the most important cause of the Civil War, 1861–65.

Calhoun on the Compromise of 1850
Resource Type: Primary Source
John C. Calhoun became the South's most powerful advocate as senator from South Carolina for most of the period from 1832 to 1850.

Bleeding Kansas
Resource Type: Primary Source
In the summer of 1856, advocates of Free States flocked to Kansas in anticipation of the popular sovereignty vote.

A House Divided
Resource Type: Primary Source
Abraham Lincoln accepts the Republican Party's nomination for U.S. senator from Illinois. Lincoln ran against Stephen A. Douglas, the proponent of popular sovereignty.

National Democratic Party Platform of 1860
Resource Type: Primary Source
In 1860, the Democratic Party split along sectional lines, leaving the Southern Democrats as the dominant party of the South. In the 1860 presidential election, the Southern Democrats won every state of the Deep South, the first states to secede.

Crittenden's Proposed Amendment
Resource Type: Primary Source
Abraham Lincoln has been elected President and the threat of secession hangs over the Union. What is Crittenden's plan?

Response to the Crittenden Amendment
Resource Type: Primary Source
This editorial responds to Crittenden's proposal to amend the Constitution.

Mississippi's Declaration of Secession
Resource Type: Primary Source
The first state to secede was South Carolina, doing so on December 20, 1860. Before the end of February, all the states of the Deep South (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas) had seceded.

Why Did the South (Excluding the Border States) Secede?
Resource Type: Point-Counterpoint
The cause of the Civil War is hotly debated and contested by historians. Some disagree with Eric Foner's thesis and assign to slavery a lesser role in causing the Civil War. Two interpretations that predate Foner are worth mentioning: the economic one, put forth by Charles and Mary Beard; and the political one, proposed by Avery Craven and James G. Randall, which maintains that the war was caused by a "blundering generation" of 1850s leaders, who missed the opportunity to compromise.

Decisions of Slaves to Leave the Plantation: Should I Stay or Should I Go?
Resource Type: Classroom Simulation
In this simulation students will examine the very complex decision that slaves faced regarding whether to leave the plantations in the early years of the Civil War and whether to join the Union forces. Students will understand how a single decision gravely affected the lives of slaves, their families, the outcome of the war, and even the period of Reconstruction.

The Secession Crisis
Resource Type: Document-Based Question
This selection of primary sources allows students to interpret the Civil War as an ideological battle, pitting abolitionists against slavery's apologists, and Northerners against Southerners. Students will understand why most of the Southern states chose secession over union.

Illustrations of the Pro-Slavery Argument
Resource Type: Primary Source
These illustrations support the institution of slavery. Why?

The Civil War and the Expansion of Slavery
Resource Type: Document-Based Question
This DBQ focuses on the decade of crisis, the 1850s, during which the question of the expansion of slavery tore the country apart. The documents selected include the classic evidence that can be used to prove that the expansion of slavery was the most important cause of the Civil War, 1861–65.

Calhoun on the Compromise of 1850
Resource Type: Primary Source
John C. Calhoun became the South's most powerful advocate as senator from South Carolina for most of the period from 1832 to 1850.

Expansion of Slavery into the Territories
Resource Type: Point-Counterpoint
Eric Foner argues that the debate over whether the territories (particularly land acquired from the Louisiana Purchase (1803) and through the Mexican-American War (1846–48)) would be carved into slave or free states was the key political issue of the 1850s and the major source of conflict between northern and southern states. A teacher compares the interpretation of William Gienapp with Foner's view.

Recruiting Poster
Resource Type: Primary Source
President Abraham Lincoln did not endorse the active recruitment of free African Americans into the Union army until 1863.

Decisions of Slaves to Leave the Plantation: Should I Stay or Should I Go?
Resource Type: Classroom Simulation
In this simulation students will examine the very complex decision that slaves faced regarding whether to leave the plantations in the early years of the Civil War and whether to join the Union forces. Students will understand how a single decision gravely affected the lives of slaves, their families, the outcome of the war, and even the period of Reconstruction.

The Emancipation Proclamation
Resource Type: Point-Counterpoint
Eric Foner considers the Emancipation Proclamation to have been the turning point of the Civil War (1861–65), of the history of slavery, and for President Abraham Lincoln (1809–65) himself. Primarily through the work of Ira Berlin and others, historians have learned a great deal about the behavior of slaves before and after the Emancipation Proclamation. What emerged from this investigation is what Foner calls a new synthesis "that sees slavery as the most crucial problem of antebellum American life and the fundamental cause of the Civil War, and the myriad consequences of emancipation as the central themes of the war and Reconstruction."

The Role of African Americans in the Civil War
Resource Type: Point-Counterpoint
Although there has been no major attack on the view that African Americans played a decisive role in winning the Civil War, it is also true that, with the exception of W.E.B. Du Bois in Black Reconstruction, there were no historians writing prior to 1960, who would have agreed with Foner's interpretation on the decisive role played by African Americans. A teacher explores how, prior to the rise of the civil-rights movement in the mid-1950s, professional historians simply had been uninterested in the behavior of African Americans, either as slaves or as soldiers.

African American Soldiers
Resource Type: Primary Source
This was one of many battles in which the new African American troops distinguished themselves.

African American Troops Liberating Slaves
Resource Type: Primary Source
As the African American presence in the Northern war effort increased, so did the chances of freeing slaves from Southern plantations.

A Man Knows a Man
Resource Type: Primary Source
Military service, especially in battle, was often seen as a rite of passage that turned boys into men. Physical scarring or maiming served as the visible symbol of manhood tested and earned through combat.

The Role of African Americans in the Civil War
Resource Type: Point-Counterpoint
Although there has been no major attack on the view that African Americans played a decisive role in winning the Civil War, it is also true that, with the exception of W.E.B. Du Bois in Black Reconstruction, there were no historians writing prior to 1960, who would have agreed with Foner's interpretation on the decisive role played by African Americans. A teacher explores how, prior to the rise of the civil-rights movement in the mid-1950s, professional historians simply had been uninterested in the behavior of African Americans, either as slaves or as soldiers.

The Draft Riots
Resource Type: Primary Source
Recruiting station for the Union Army, in City Hall Park (1864).


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