edX: The Civil War and Reconstruction - 1850-1861: A House Divided

 with  Eric Foner

A House Divided: The Road to Civil War, 1850-1861 begins by examining how generations of historians have explained the crisis of the Union. After discussing the institution of slavery and its central role in the southern and national economies, it turns to an account of the political and social history of the 1850s. It traces how the issue of the expansion of slavery came to dominate national politics, and how political leaders struggled, unsuccessfully, to resolve the growing crisis. We will examine the impact of key events such as Bleeding Kansas, the Dred Scott decision, the Lincoln-Douglas debates, and John Brown’s raid on Harper’s Ferry, and end with the dissolution of the Union in the winter of 1860-61.

This course is part of the X Series, Civil War and Reconstruction, which introduces students to the most pivotal era in American history. The Civil War transformed the nation by eliminating the threat of secession and destroying the institution of slavery. It raised questions that remain central to our understanding of ourselves as a people and a nation – the balance of power between local and national authority, the boundaries of citizenship, and the meanings of freedom and equality. This X Series will examine the causes of the war, the road to secession, the conduct of the Civil War, the coming of emancipation, and the struggle after the war to breathe meaning into the promise of freedom for four million emancipated slaves. One theme throughout the series is what might be called the politics of history – how the world in which a historian lives affects his or her view of the past, and how historical interpretations reinforce or challenge the social order of the present.

Image courtesy of Library of Congress

5 Student
Cost Free Online Course
Pace Self Paced
Subject History
Institution Columbia University
Provider edX
Language English
Certificates $50 Certificate Available
Hours 6-8 hours a week
Calendar 10 weeks long

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Reviews for edX's The Civil War and Reconstruction - 1850-1861: A House Divided
4.8 Based on 5 reviews

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5.0 2 years ago
Valorie Hamachek completed this course.
This is the first of 3 modules about the Civil War. It is a wonderful course. You will learn so much about our country, the politics of the time, the plight of the slaves and how racism came about after the war (that is Module 3, though). I highly recommend all 3 modules.
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4.0 2 years ago
Suzan Hann completed this course.
Very good course. Professor Foner keeps your interest throughout. A lot happened during that time period, and he touches base with a bit of history each year.
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5.0 3 years ago
Bob completed this course and found the course difficulty to be medium.
FANTASTIC !!! Fabulously presented by a renowned historian in an educational yet "down to earth" fashion. Please see my full review in HIST1.3x
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5.0 3 years ago
Michael Zhixin Ye completed this course.
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5.0 2 years ago
by Doris Smith completed this course.
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