Mara Hall
800.352.4649 ext. 1864
712.274.8733 ext. 1864
mara.hall@witcc.edu
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CIVIL WAR

A HOUSE DIVIDED: THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR AND RECONSTRUCTION

MONDAYS, MARCH 18, 25, APRIL 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, MAY 6; NOON TO 2 P.M.
Location: Advanced Sciences Building, Room L416/417, Entrance 11, Parking Lot 3
Fee: No charge / Max: 50
Lifelong Learning membership required
Course #19/FY-CPDV-3011-01 

(Note: Each class will be a complete story, but each will fit together for the story of the path from the mid-century to the dawn of the new age.) 

The Coming Crisis: 1850 to 1860 

1850 was a high moment in America. Texas, California, and all points in between are now part of the Union. Finding gold in California seemed to confirm that God’s grace was certainly smiling on America. Wagon trains began snaking through the tall grass of the Plains boasting “California or Bust,” and more immigrants were flowing into the east coast than ever before. The problems of new territories reopened he fight over slavery’s expansion and trouble followed in Kansas and Missouri. Abraham Lincoln’s election without a single Southern electoral vote foreshadowed trouble, which was far worse than anyone could have conceived. 
Monday, March 18; Noon to 2 P.M. 

The Break with the Union and the Early War: 1860-1861

Southern fire eaters dashed Lincoln’s hope to prevent an open break with the South. The attack on Fort Sumter forced everyone to make choices, including Robert E. Lee, a national hero of the Mexican War, who was offered command of the United States Army. We will peer over Lincoln’s shoulder as he worked to develop his own strategy for the early war and began to meet some of the people of the time: the frustrating George McClellan, whom Lincoln appointed to lead his arriving recruits into the Army; William Seward, Lincoln’s astute but sometimes difficult Secretary of State. Did Seward convince Great Britain and other European powers to stay out of this “domestic affair”?
Monday, March 25; Noon to 2 P.M.

1862: Frustrations on the Battlefields, Tensions on the Homefront 

Though only 100 miles separated Washington and Richmond, Federal forces made no headway in the east, largely thanks to poorer quality generals on the northern side. Lincoln’s prodding produced miracles until the arrival of Robert E. Lee, and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson pushed the Federal army out of Virginia. We will also see the large battles, beginning at Shiloh, and the first signs of a new type of war under Ulysses S. Grant. The results sent shock waves through the home fronts on both sides.
Monday, April 1; Noon to 2 P.M. 

From 1862-1863: The South Invades, the North Retaliates

When Lee decided to take the war to the North, the resulting battle at Antietam changed the war forever. After a stalemate victory forced Lee to retreat, Lincoln finally embraced freeing the slaves in the occupied areas. Still, the Southern threat was not diminished. Lee’s army humbled and humiliated Joe Hooker at Chancellorsville, and Lee took the Army of Northern Virginia into Union territory. The result was a mutually deadly meeting at Gettysburg.
Monday, April 8; Noon to 2 P.M.  

1863-1864: The Tide Turns

Gettysburg may be considered a Union victory, but Lee’s army lived to fight another day when the Union refused to pursue. In the West, Grant cracked the lynchpin at Vicksburg and routed successive Southern armies from the Mississippi to Tennessee. We’ll also meet other generals as Grant invaded Virginia, Thomas took Tennessee, and Sherman threatened Atlanta. But the presidential election loomed large as McClellan, the general Lincoln sent home, vied for the presidency on a peace platform.
Monday, April 15; Noon to 2 P.M.|

1865 - 1868: Ashes, Victory, Shrouds, and Reconstruction?

Grant’s constant pressure forced Lee to abandon Richmond to its fate and the fires. Everything changed when a small group decided to remove the top leadership of the federal government in a final desperate series of assassination attempts. The Confederate president Jefferson Davis fled to avoid capture but pushed Lee to embrace a gorilla-style war. Lee instead surrendered at Appomattox on April 19, 1865, to send a message of his own to other Confederate armies. It was time to lay down arms. There was no real hope left. Supplies were all but gone, and reinforcements did not exist. After the battles stopped, the question loomed – how does the country move forward? Congress and the new president did not agree. Did Johnson carry on Lincoln’s policies or lose the peace? The eventual result was the first impeachment of a president, but valuable time was lost.
Monday, April 22; Noon to 2 P.M.

1868 – 1876: Reconstruction and Beyond

Henry Clay failed to convince the Senate to remove Johnson from the presidency but stopped Johnson’s efforts to block a more stringent reconstruction. Congress pushed forward new amendments to the Constitution to overcome the Black Codes passed to prevent the integration of former slaves into society. By 1869, facing continued resistance, the newly elected President Grant did not flinch and sent troops to occupy the South. Almost five years after the war, Northerners were looking to move on with their lives. Industry made tracks toward prosperity, while in the West, the Plains wars with the Native Americans continued. All the while, the railroads rolled until scandals and recession rocked everyone’s world.
Monday, April 29; Noon to 2 P.M.

1877-1893: Recession, Revival, and Reunion?

The contested election of 1876 meant changes for everyone. The rise of the Ku Klux Klan and their war of intimidation rolled back the protections of the former slaves and gave rise to the Jim Crow laws that held back progress for decades. This set in progress the great black migration to the northern cities. At the same time, immigrants sailed into eastern seaports. This great influx of people provided the manpower required by the expanding factories that churned out steel and food for the country and the world.

It was a time of change in America. As the veterans of the Civil War aged and started to leave the stage, a profound change in how the war was viewed by current and future generations began to take hold.
Monday, May 6; Noon to 2 P.M.

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