1 x 2-hour lecture weekly
1 x 1-hour tutorial weekly
4.5 units of Second Level HIST topics
Enrolment not permitted
AMST3003 has been successfully completed
Assumed knowledge
As a third-level topic in the American Studies major sequence, this topic assumes a familiarity with the kind of knowledge, conceptual understanding and skills that would normally be acquired by the completion of at last 9 units of second-level topics from the American Studies major or History sequence.
Course context
Associated majors: American Studies; History
Topic description
This topic examines a defining event in the history of the United States: the American Civil War. It will examine the causes, events and issues that put the United States on the path towards Civil War. Particular attention will be paid to slavery, and the debates surrounding slavery, including its expansion into the newly acquired territories of the United States. The major events of the War itself will be discussed, as well as its impact on a range of groups, including women, Native Americans, immigrants and African-Americans. The aftermath and consequences of the War and the period following it will also be considered in terms of examining the broader consequences of the War on American history. Finally, we will briefly examine the place of the Civil War in American memory and popular culture.
Educational aims
This topic aims to:
  1. Explore the place of slavery in the United States and analyse the sectional differences between the North and the South.
  2. Examine the political and social pressures that existed in nineteenth century American society and consider the context in which the Civil War took place.
  3. Set out the main features and the nature of the Civil War.
  4. Consider the aftermath of the War, specifically focusing on the issue of race relations and the Reconstruction era.
  5. Analyse the place of the Civil War in American history and culture.
  6. Consolidate students' ability to analyse and assess different types of sources.
  7. Provide a learning context in which students hone their collaboration skills in a mutually respectful atmosphere.
  8. Further develop students written and communication skills.
Expected learning outcomes
Students successfully completing the topic should be able to:
  1. Identify the factors that led to the Civil War and outline, in broad terms, the military conduct of the war and explain the course that the conflict took.
  2. Demonstrate an awareness of the impact that the Civil War had on American society.
  3. Demonstrate a high level of competence in the skills of comprehension, oral presentation, and scholarly writing.
  4. Critically analyse and assess a range of sources relevant to the topic.
  5. Apply their knowledge by constructing and developing a coherent argument in written assessment.