Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
War and Peace: the American South, 1800-1865
Academic Year
Semester 1
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 18 x 50 minute lectures (delivered twice a week)
Seminars / Tutorials 10 x 50 minute weekly seminars 2 tutorials of 10-15 minutes for each student


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Essay 2 - 2,500 words  25%
Semester Assessment Essay 1 - 2,500 words  25%
Semester Exam 3 Hours   Examination  1 x 3hr examination  50%
Supplementary Assessment Supplementary assessment - essay 1  25%
Supplementary Assessment Supplementary assessment - essay 2  25%
Supplementary Exam 3 Hours   Supplementary Examination  50%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

Demonstrate a firm understanding of current approaches to and on-going debates on the history of the American South and the Civil War; demonstrate an enhanced understanding of the American South during the period under review and the internal and external influences at work upon it.

Demonstrate an understanding of the longer term historical questions of continuity and discontinuity in American history.

Demonstrate an ability to use and reflect critically upon a range of relevant primary and secondary material.

Demonstrate an ability to collect and analyse relevant historical evidence to produce appropriate arguments both oral (not assessed) and written.

Demonstrate an ability to work independently.

Demonstrate the skills appropriate to the study of the history of the American South and produce work in a professional manner.


This module is intended to offer an additional Part 2 option to undergraduate students.
The history of the antebellum and Civil War South is central to understandings of modern American history and the contemporary American sociopolitical landscape. Considering the social, political and economic dimensions of nineteenth-century southern society and its increasing ideological polarization from the North, this module will provide students with an in-depth analysis of the origins, course and consequences of the Civil War. Furthermore, it will engage with the broader themes of republicanism, nationalism and historical memory. Students will be required to engage regularly with a diverse selection of primary documentation and to examine modern American processes of war memory. The current sequicentennial of the Civil War (2011-2015) makes this a timely addition to the department’s curriculum.



1. Introduction: The South before 1800
2. Slaveholders and Slavery: The Threat of Insurrection
3. Slaves and Slavery: Communities and Resistance
4. The Plantation Household
5. Antebellum Southern Women
6. Nullification Crisis and States’ Rights
7. Mexican-American War and Territorial Expansion
8. Compromise of 1850 (Fugitive Slave Act of 1850)
9. 1850s Violence: Bleeding Kansas, Harpers Ferry, Caning of Senator Sumner
10. Fort Sumter and the Birth of the Confederate Republic
11. Confederate Women: Mothers of Invention
12. Crisis of Southern Masculinity
13. Fatigue on the Confederate Home Front
14. Limitations of Confederate Nationalism
15. The Emancipation Proclamation and the Southern Response
16. Appomattox: The Fall of the Confederacy
17. The Lost Cause and Historical Memory
18. The Civil War in Twentieth-Century America

1. Introduction: Major Themes in Southern History
2. Race
3. Gender Roles
4. The Transatlantic South
5. Southern Class Politics
6. The Frontlines of Battle
7. Nationalism on the Home Front
8. Confederate Culture
9. How to remember the Old South?: Re-enactments, Monuments and Museums
10. Gone with the Wind: Civil War and Film

Brief description

The memory of the Old South still holds strong in the United States, its omnipresence and poignancy shaping the national psyche into the twenty-first century. This module will investigate the enduring allure of the plantation myth from the turn of the nineteenth century. It will also explore the causes, course and consequences of the Civil War from the southern perspective. The first half of the module will provide a detailed overview of the often romanticized antebellum South plantation society in the decades approaching the Civil War, focusing on the dynamics of race, gender and class disenfranchisement. The second half of the module will examine the unrealized vision of the Confederate republic, analysing its wartime failures, both on the frontlines and the home front. The final sessions will explore representations of the South in contemporary American popular culture.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number n/a
Communication Written communication skills will be developed through the coursework and written examination; skills in oral presentation will be developed in seminars but are not formally assessed..
Improving own Learning and Performance Students will be advised on how to improve research and communication skills through the individual tutorial providing feedback on submitted coursework.
Information Technology Students will be encouraged to locate suitable material on the web and to apply it appropriately to their own work. Students will also be expected to word-process their work and make use of Blackboard. These skills will not be formally assessed.
Personal Development and Career planning Students will develop a range of transferable skills, including time management and communication skills, which may help them identify their personal strengths as they consider potential career paths.
Problem solving Identify problems and factors which might influence potential solutions; develop creative thinking approaches to problem solving; evaluate advantages and disadvantages of potential solutions.
Research skills Students will develop their research skills by reading a range of texts and evaluating their usefulness in preparation for the coursework and the written examination.
Subject Specific Skills Students will develop an awareness of appropriate sources and historical literature associated with study of the nineteenth-century American South.
Team work Students will be expected to play an active part in group activities (e.g. short group presentations in seminars) and to learn to evaluate their own contribution to such activities.


This module is at CQFW Level 6