HTY 464: America at the Crossroads

Instructor: Micah Pawling

Time: MWF 10:00-10:50 AM

Location: North Stevens Hall 235

Course Number: 5969

Course Description: After the 150th anniversary of the Appomattox Court House surrender and the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, American fascination with the Civil War era is at an all-time high. This course examines how the United States, which was less than a century old, lost half of its territory to politics and a different way of life. Students will explore the intersections of national events, specifically the intensified sectional conflict, with the significance of these turbulent decades among specific groups of people, including African-Americans (both slave and free), Native peoples, women, and recent immigrants.  As some people struggled to better their own lives and improve their situations, their challenges often reflected important political issues on a larger scale.  Slavery ended and secession was dead, but the Civil War took over 600,000 lives.  A legal history approach reveals that courts were places steeped in conflict and the legal outcomes shaped the nation. President Abraham Lincoln wanted to preserve the union, but what kind of union would it be?  Students will conduct research into a chosen topic that not only exposes them to the historian’s craft of weighing evidence, but also sharpens their analytical skills and teaches them to think critically about the past.

This course counts toward the Interdisciplinary Legal Studies Minor.

General Education Requirements:  Western Cultural Tradition

Prerequisites: Three credits of History or permission.