United States’ Civil War: Causes, course and effects (1840–1877) This section focuses on the United States’ Civil War between the North and the South (1861–1865), which is often perceived as the great watershed in the history of the United States. It transformed the country forever, but the war created a new set of problems: how would the country be reunited? How would the South rebuild its society and economy? How would the four million freed former slaves fit into society?
Slavery: cotton economy and slavery; conditions of enslavement; adaptation and resistance; abolitionist debate—ideological, legal, religious and economic arguments for and against slavery, and their impact
Origins of the Civil War: the Nullification Crisis; states’ rights; sectionalism; slavery; political issues; economic differences between the North and South
Reasons for, and effects of, westward expansion and the sectional debates; the crises of the 1850s; compromise of 1850; political developments, including the Lincoln–Douglas debates and the presidential election of 1860
Union versus Confederate: strengths and weaknesses; economic resources; role and significance of leaders during the Civil War; role of Lincoln; significant military battles/campaigns
Factors affecting the outcome of the Civil War; the role of foreign relations; the Emancipation Proclamation (1863) and participation of African Americans in the Civil War
Reconstruction: presidential and congressional plans; methods of southern resistance; economic, social and political successes and failures
African Americans in the New South: legal issues; the black codes; Jim Crow laws