This course will survey the origins, prosecution, aftermath, and memory of the American Civil War. While the course will primarily consider why the war came, why the war was fought, and how it ended, it will place just as much emphasis on the home front and conflicts that occurred away from the primary theater. We will consider major conflicts, battles, and events while always keeping in mind how the war affected the lives of ordinary Americans. Political, economic, military, social, cultural, and religious developments will all play a role in the story, and we will pay special attention to the role that race, class, and gender played before, during, and after the conflict. Finally, the course will investigate the contested meanings of the Civil War and how it was remembered after the fact by white Northerners, white Southerners, and African Americans. 


This course will investigate the history of social justice and social reform in the United States from 1790 to 1980.  We will read widely from secondary sources about the origination of social reform in the Early Republic, its progression throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and its changing focus on social justice in the mid to late twentieth century. 


The focus will be on a variety of reforms and a variety of perspectives, both progressive and reactionary. The course will also consider the effect of these reforms on the various people they were trying to help, and the ways in which people from different backgrounds (whether based on race, gender, sexual orientation, or class) approached reform. Rather than a comprehensive examination of all types of reform, the class is meant to highlight important moments and changes in social reform and social justice. 


Since it is intended for history majors and minors, the culmination of the course will be an original research paper that examines some aspect of social reform or social justice in the United States, and that significantly engages both primary and secondary sources.