Reminder: Your Final Essay is due Wed., Dec. 20.



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The Civil War

Our required readings for the semester are over but I want to leave you with some concluding thoughts. Due to slavery, the U.S. began to break apart in the 1850s. John Brown is hanged in 1859 for trying to start a slave rebellion in the South but the war really begins with the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860. Quickly, most of the southern states secede, knowing that this will be the end of a way of life, created on the backs of millions of unpaid, brutalized African American people. The Civil War officially begins in March of 1861, pitting the North (the Union) against the South (the Confederacy). After four years of grotesque battles (over 500,000 dead), the North wins and America (in the 13th Amendment) abolishes slavery forever.

In April of 1865, as the war is about to end, Abraham Lincoln is assassinated by a southern actor named John Wilkes Booth. In Lincoln’s place, we get a new racist President Andrew Johnson who sets in motion the Jim Crow laws of the 1870s and 1880s. This story is, however, is beyond the scope of this class, though the legacy of slavery and racism remains (as the 1619 Project importantly argues).

If you have time, I recommend reading a famous short speech Lincoln gave during the middle of the Civil War, in which he says the North must keep fighting to ensure a “rebirth of freedom.”

 “Gettysburg Address”

I also recommend three spectacular films that help us understand the Civil War:

1) Glory 2) Harriet and 4) Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln.

Lastly, for WONDERFUL holiday entertainment, PLEASE WATCH the fabulous Little Women written by Louisa May Alcott and directed by Greta Gerwig, who also directed the recent blockbuster film “Barbie.”  View film trailer Here.

Have a wonderful break all!