Causes of the Civil War

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For interpreters at Civil War sites, obtaining a solid understanding of the war’s causes is vital to creating accurate presentations for the public. This course focuses on political and social issues that revolved around the topic of slavery from the 1840s through the 1860s.
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About the Course

For interpreters at Civil War sites, obtaining a solid understanding of the war’s causes is vital to creating accurate presentations for the public. This course focuses on political and social issues that revolved around the topic of slavery from the 1840s through the 1860s. Not only will this course recount major events in the decades preceding the war, it will provide you with links to primary and secondary sources and interpretive tips that will help you create public programs about the war.

 

Course Format

This course integrates informational text, interactive practice activities, live discussion forums, Learn More opportunities, and supplemental reference materials. Following the course, you will be assessed by a brief assessment requiring you to demonstrate your understanding of key course concepts. Upon successful completion of the assessment you will be awarded an electronic certificate of completion.

 

Course Schedule

This course is self-paced and integrates self-study allowing you flexibility in the time needed to complete the course. Within each course, you decide the order and progression you’d like to take, allowing you to revisit and review sections in greater depth as needed.

 

Course Chapters

  • Interpreting the Civil War
  • The Long Road to War- 1840s
  • Compromises and Concessions- 1850s
  • An Ever Widening Gulf- 1850s
  • Election and Destruction
  • The Lost Cause
  • Epilogue

Recommended Background

This introductory course is designed for those interested in learning about the social and political issues that led to the Civil War, and does not require a background in interpretation or any specific area.

 

Course Objectives

By the end of the course you will be able to:

  • Communicate that the differences regarding slavery were the main causes of the American Civil War.
  • Identify useful techniques and strategies for discussing the causes and context of the American Civil War with visitors.
  • Recognize the permission and latitude granted to interpreters by efforts such as the 'Rally on the High Ground' initiative.
  • Relate to visitors of varying knowledge levels and backgrounds the causes of the war effectively and respectfully.

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