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HIST 119: The Civil War and Reconstruction Era, 1845-1877

Education

Professor David Blight. Open Yale Courses. The causes, course, and consequences of the American Civil War, from the 1840s to 1877. License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA

Popular episodes

Lecture 27 - Legacies of the Civil War

Aug 25 • 00:00


Professor Blight finishes his lecture series with a discussion of the legacies of the Civil War. Since the nineteenth century, Blight suggests, there have been three predominant strains of Civil War memory, which Blight defines as reconciliationist, white supremacist, and emancipationist. The war has retained a political currency throughout the years, and the ability to co...

Lecture 26 - Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory

Aug 25 • 00:00


Having dealt with the role of violence and the Supreme Court in bringing about the end of Reconstruction in his last lecture, Professor Blight now turns to the role of national electoral politics, focusing in particular on the off-year Congressional election of 1874 and the Presidential election of 1876. 1874 saw the return of the Democrats to majority status in the Senate...

Lecture 25 - The "End" of Reconstruction: Disputed Election of 1876, and the "Compromise of 1877"

Aug 25 • 00:00


This lecture focuses on the role of white southern terrorist violence in brining about the end of Reconstruction. Professor Blight begins with an account the Colfax Massacre. Colfax, Louisiana was the sight of the largest mass murder in U.S. history, when a white mob killed dozens of African Americans in the April of 1873. Two Supreme Court decisions would do in the judici...

Lecture 24 - Retreat from Reconstruction: The Grant Era and Paths to "Southern Redemption"

Aug 25 • 00:00


This lecture opens with a discussion of the myriad moments at which historians have declared an "end" to Reconstruction, before shifting to the myth and reality of "Carpetbag rule" in the Reconstruction South. Popularized by Lost Cause apologists and biased historians, this myth suggests that the southern governments of the Reconstruction era were dominated by unscrupulous...

Lecture 23 - Black Reconstruction in the South: The Freedpeople and the Economics of Land and Labor

Aug 25 • 00:00


Professor Blight begins this lecture in Washington, where the passage of the first Reconstruction Act by Congressional Republicans radically altered the direction of Reconstruction. The Act invalidated the reconstituted Southern legislatures, establishing five military districts in the South and insisting upon black suffrage as a condition to readmission. The eventful year...

Lecture 22 - Constitutional Crisis and Impeachment of a President

Aug 25 • 00:00


Professor Blight continues his discussion of the political history of Reconstruction. The central figure in the early phase of Reconstruction was President Andrew Johnson. Under Johnson's stewardship, southern whites held constitutional conventions throughout 1865, drafting new constitutions that outlawed slavery but changed little else. When the Republican-dominated U.S. ...

Lecture 21 - Andrew Johnson and the Radicals: A Contest over the Meaning of Reconstruction

Aug 25 • 00:00


In this lecture, Professor Blight begins his engagement with Reconstruction. Reconstruction, Blight suggests, might best be understood as an extended referendum on the meaning of the Civil War. Even before the war's end, various constituencies in the North attempted to control the shape of the post-war Reconstruction of the South. In late 1863, President Abraham Lincoln of...

Lecture 20 - Wartime Reconstruction: Imagining the Aftermath and a Second American Republic

Aug 25 • 00:00


This lecture begins with a central, if often overlooked, turning point in the Civil War--the re-election of Abraham Lincoln in 1864. Although the concerted efforts of northern Peace Democrats and a palpable war weariness among the electorate made Lincoln's victory uncertain, timely Union victories in Atlanta and Mobile in September of 1864 secured Lincoln's re-election in ...

Lecture 19 - To Appomattox and Beyond: The End of the War and a Search for Meanings

Aug 25 • 00:00


Professor Blight uses Herman Melville's poem "On the Slain Collegians" to introduce the horrifying slaughter of 1864. The architect of the strategy that would eventually lead to Union victory, but at a staggering human cost, was Ulysses S. Grant, brought East to assume control of all Union armies in 1864. Professor Blight narrates the campaigns of 1864, including the Battl...

Lecture 18 - "War So Terrible": Why the Union Won and the Confederacy Lost at Home and Abroad

Aug 25 • 00:00


This lecture probes the reasons for confederate defeat and union victory. Professor Blight begins with an elucidation of the loss-of-will thesis, which suggests that it was a lack of conviction on the home front that assured confederate defeat, before offering another of other popular explanations for northern victory: industrial capacity, political leadership, military le...

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