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What Caused the Civil War? An Online Professional Development Seminar for North Carolina Teachers Made possible by a grant from the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation.

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Presentation on theme: "What Caused the Civil War? An Online Professional Development Seminar for North Carolina Teachers Made possible by a grant from the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation."— Presentation transcript:

1 What Caused the Civil War? An Online Professional Development Seminar for North Carolina Teachers Made possible by a grant from the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation

2 Competency Goal 3 Crisis, Civil War, and Reconstruction (1848-1877) - The learner will analyze the issues that led to the Civil War, the effects of the war, and the impact of Reconstruction on the nation. Objectives 3.01 Trace the economic, social, and political events from the Mexican War to the outbreak of the Civil War. 3.02 Analyze and assess the causes of the Civil War. 3.03 Identify political and military turning points of the Civil War and assess their significance to the outcome of the conflict. 3.04 Analyze the political, economic, and social impact of Reconstruction on the nation and identify the reasons why Reconstruction came to an end. 3.05 Evaluate the degree to which the Civil War and Reconstruction proved to be a test of the supremacy of the national government.

3 GOALS  To deepen understanding of the complex mix of circumstances that led to the Civil War  To provide fresh materials and ideas to strengthen teaching (Feel free to plunder the seminar Power Point.)

4 FRAMING QUESTIONS  What is most important for our students to understand about the causes of the Civil War? What are the greatest obstacles to that understanding?  What do we mean when we speak of a “cause” of the Civil War?  How do we give slavery its due in bringing on the Civil War while paying adequate attention to other aspects of the conflict, including the diversity in both the North and the South?  American men voted in ways that brought on the Civil War. How do we explain their thinking?

5 Edward Ayers Trustee, National Humanities Center President, the University of Richmond 2003 Carnegie Foundation National Professor of the Year Member, American Academy of Arts and Sciences The Promise of the New South: Life After Reconstruction (1993) In the Presence of Mine Enemies: Civil War in the Heart of America Bancroft Prize and Beveridge Prize (2003) What Caused the Civil War: Reflections on the South and Southern History (2006) The Valley of the Shadow: Two Communities in the American Civil War Award-winning Website

6 WHAT CAUSED THE CIVIL WAR? Less about conveying information More about working through texts and the challenge of teaching this complex topic

7 WHAT CAUSED THE CIVIL WAR? Seminar Strategy To disassemble the complex events that preceded the Civil War, analyzing them carefully, viewing them in their immediate context, and judging their consequences. We will keep things concrete and focus on what people actually said and did.

8 KEY DECISIONS IN 1860 AND 1861  the election of 1860  the secession of the first seven states  the decisions surrounding Fort Sumter in April 1861  the secession of four border states and the decision of four others to stay within the United States. Slavery played a different role in each one.

9 Edward Ayers, “What Caused the Civil War?” The debate and anger that fed into what became the Civil War contained “modern” elements that would not have existed before the middle of the nineteenth century: a struggle over a hypothetical railroad, a novel written by an obscure woman, an act of symbolic terrorism, a media war over a distant territory.

10 Frederick Douglass, “What to a Slave is the Fourth of July?,” July 5, 1852 What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelly to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciations of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade, and solemnity, are, to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy - a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices, more shocking and bloody, than are the people of these United States, at this very hour.

11 Abraham Lincoln, Cooper Union Address, February 27, 1860 Your purpose, then, plainly stated, is that you will destroy the Government, unless you be allowed to construe and enforce the Constitution as you please, on all points in dispute between you and us. You will rule or ruin in all events.

12 Alexander H. Stephens, Cornerstone Speech, March 21, 1861 Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner- stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery—subordination to the superior race—is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth.

13 From Voting America United States Politics, 1840-2008

14 From Voting America United States Politics, 1840-2008

15 From Voting America United States Politics, 1840-2008

16 From Voting America United States Politics, 1840-2008

17 From Voting America United States Politics, 1840-2008

18 From Voting America United States Politics, 1840-2008

19 From Voting America United States Politics, 1840-2008

20 John Hughes of Virginia on Secession, April 17, 1861 Notwithstanding all this, I was willing to compromise, still to adjust our difficulties, still to meet them in a spirit of brotherly love... [Yet] while we showed to Abraham Lincoln that there was a majority of this Convention who were determined to preserve this Union; while we were engaged in this good work of seeking to effect an adjustment, Lincoln... adds insult to injury; he makes a requisition upon Gov. Letcher for Virginia’s quota of troops to make war upon the Southern States. When that is the case, after having done all that, as an honorable man, I think I can do... to adjust these difficulties—I feel compelled to give my vote in favor of action— decisive and immediate action.... [A] declaration of war upon our people... [compels a] vote in favor of the ordinance of Secession.

21 Alexander H. H. Stuart, Open-Ended Unionism Sir, fanaticism is a great evil, and I would avoid contact with it as I would a plague; but business relations, private interests, social ties, the ties of brotherhood, the ties of intermarriage and communication, in every form and shape in which they can take place, must, to a great extent, counterbalance this odious fanaticism; and in severing those political ties, I would seek to withdraw these States from their allegiance from the Federal government—I would seek to induce them to become part and parcel of our new government. I would seek to have a tier of friendly States between the slaveholding States and the States of the extreme North and North-west.


23 WHAT CAUSED THE CIVIL WAR? In sum, the Civil War arrived as a perfect storm. Slavery had long divided the nation, fueling party division, religious animosity, and distrust of institutions; slavery had also driven the economy of the entire nation, uniting the country more than dividing it economically. The South, by the standards of the nineteenth century, was a quite modern nation, confident that it could hold its own in the world. White Southerners had persuaded themselves that slavery was not only profitable but also morally just. The North was even more sure that it had found the formula for peace and progress in the unfettered growth of ambition, especially for white men, and was determined to regain control of the political machinery of the nation it thought had been taken away unjustly. These societies were on a collision course; some kind of conflict was likely before too many more years had passed. But a particular combination of events between late 1859 and early 1861, unforeseen and unpredictable, both political and military, caused the collision to come just when it did. The Civil War was caused in multiple ways at multiple levels—just like a storm.

24 USE THE FORUM  To post your primary document application guides.  To continue the discussion.  To post fresh approaches and discussion questions that work.  To report on the effectiveness of the seminar text in your classes.

25 Final Slide. Thank You

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