Module Introduction

Pre-Civil War

Module Introduction

This module addresses the events and issues that led to the Civil War. For forty years, attempts were made to resolve conflicts between North and South, with Henry Clay as the major architect of these compromises. Despite Clay’s efforts, however, the compromises failed to address the deeper issues separating North and South, and did not provide permanent solutions to the debate over slavery. Abraham Lincoln hoped to keep the country together, but his election as president in 1860 ended up being the fatal blow to the country’s unity.

As you read this module, try to identify the point of no return regarding the coming of the Civil War – at what point was it too late to prevent? Consider this module in the context of current events as well; even though the country’s current division is based on political differences and not regional differences. What lessons can we learn from the mistakes that led to the Civil War that can help us avoid further division? 1

Learning Outcomes

This module addresses the following Course Learning Outcomes listed in the Syllabus for this course:

  • Students will be able to articulate an understanding of the individual in society.
  • Students will be able to think critically about institutions, cultures, and behaviors in their local and/or national environment.
  • Students will understand the social, political, and economic development of the United States.
  • Students will develop a historical context for understanding current issues and events.
  • Students will integrate U.S. history into global history. 1

Module Objectives

Upon completion of this module, the student will be able to:

  • Discuss the prevention or inevitability of the American Civil War.
  • Assess the causes of the Civil War in addition to the debate over slavery. 1

Readings and Resources

  • Module 6 Learning Unit