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The Civil War and Reconstruction Era, 1845-1877 - Audio

By David Blight

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(HIST 119) This course explores the causes, course, and consequences of the American Civil War, from the 1840s to 1877. The primary goal of the course is to understand the multiple meanings of a transforming event in American history. Those meanings may be defined in many ways: national, sectional, racial, constitutional, individual, social, intellectual, or moral. Four broad themes are closely examined: the crisis of union and disunion in an expanding republic; slavery, race, and emancipation as national problem, personal experience, and social process; the experience of modern, total war for individuals and society; and the political and social challenges of Reconstruction. This course was recorded in Spring 2008.

Customer Reviews

Fantastic course

I agree wholeheartedly with the review by Junebugg64. I will listen again and again. Really interesting to compare southern political strategy then to now, in 2022. So many similarities. Thank you for making this available
I would love to get the reading list and syllabus!


I have listened to these lectures numerous times. I have not heard, read or seen anything that provides the same level of detail, analysis, or insight into the Civil War. Dr. Bright is an amazing lecturer and writer. His lectures have brought me to tears on numerous occasions. Simply the best!

The best contemporary Civil War historian.

This is the best modern treatment of the war. He may be such a great educator because of his years in high school teaching; working with students that didn’t want to be there. Whatever the reason; I haven’t found as exciting a presentation since James McPherson’s Battle Cry of Freedom