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HIST 3670 Syllabus

Course Syllabus

HIST 3670 - Civil War and Reconstruction (1850-1877)

3 Credit Hours

Course Information

Course Description:

This course is a study of the causes, motivations, results and memories of the American Civil War. It is a reading-intensive course that offers students the ability to interact with primary sources, as well as some of the best historical works on the Civil War. While there are numerous topics and discussions covered in this course, the class is divided into four modules:  Module 1 – Slave Nation: Antebellum America; Module 2 – War: Motivations and Experiences; Module 3 – Reconstruction: Bottom Rail on Top?; Module 4 – Memory: Remembrances of the War.

Course Outcomes:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will:

  • Have a greater knowledge and understanding of the American Civil War: its causes, concerns, results, and memory
  • Developed and improved their skills in using primary sources to create evidence-based arguments
  • Improved writing and critical thinking abilities
Prerequisites & Co-requisites:


Course Topics:
  • Antebellum America
  • Secession
  • The Civil War itself
  • Reconstruction
  • Historical Memory
  • Race and Racial Ideologies
  • Gender
  • Civil War/Race/Memory in contemporary America
Specific Course Requirements:

Textbooks, Supplementary Materials, Hardware and Software Requirements

Required Textbooks:

Please visit the Virtual Bookstore to obtain textbook information for this course. Move your cursor over the "Books" link in the navigation bar and select "Textbooks & Course Materials." Select your Program, Term, Department, and Course; then select "Submit."

Supplementary Materials:
Hardware and Software Requirements:

Minimum hardware requirements can be found here.

Minimum software requirements can be found here.

Common applications you might need:

Web Resources:

Purdue OWL Online Writing Lab (for APA, MLA, or Chicago style)

The Writing Center Online Writer's Handbook

Student Resources:
  • Technical support information can be found on the TN eCampus Help Desk page.
  • Smarthinking virtual tutoring is available FREE of charge. to access Smarthinking, visit the course homepage and select Smarthinking under Course Resources. You also view sample sessions to see what Smarthinking offers and how it works.
  • Information on other student issues or concerns can be located on the TN eCampus Student Resources page.

Instructor Information

Please see "Instructor Information" in the Getting Started Module for instructor contact information, virtual office hours, and other communication information. You can expect to receive a response from the instructor within 24-48 hours unless notified of extenuating circumstances.

Participation, Assessments, & Grading

Testing Procedures:

There is only one test in this course. It is the Midterm exam. You will have one week to complete this essay based exam, and thus no proctor is needed. However, because it is essay-based, it is expected that you will do more than just repeat back information. You will need to construct true essays with a thesis that answers the question asked, body paragraphs that use evidence (and cite it properly), and contain a conclusion that restates the thesis. You must turn in this exam as a Word or PDF file, use 12 point Times New Roman font. You should also be using Chicago style formatting. Exact dates for this can be found on the course schedule.

Grading Procedures:

Grading procedures for the different types of assignments can be found

Course Expectation Email @ 25 pts25 Points
10 Discussions @ 30 pts300 Points
2 Book Reviews @ 75 pts150 Points
1 Mini-Paper @ 75 pts75 Points
1 Midterm @ 200 pts200 Points
Capstone paper @ 250 pts250 Points
Total Points1000 Total Course Points


Grading Scale:
900-1000 PointsA
800-899 PointsB
700-799 PointsC
600-699 PointsD
under 600 PointsF


Assignments and Projects:

Discussion Boards:

Each week, you have to post at least three times on the discussion boards. The first of these has to be an original post that answers the discussion question using evidence from that week's materials. This is due each Wednesday by 11:59pm. The next two posts must be in reply to other classmates and they can be posted at any time during the week, but must be complete by 5pm each Friday. These are the minimum requirements to get any credit for the week. 

Book Reviews:

In the historical profession, book reviews are not based simply on the strength of the pose, plot, and characters. Instead, historians evaluate the strength of the author's argument, how well that author used sources, and whether the book proved its point. This means that only 1/4 to 1/3 of the book review is a summary of the book. Most of the book review examines those other elements. In the "Helpful Handouts" module, you'll find more help on how to write a successful book review. As a start, though, your review will need to follow Chicago style formatting with 12 point font. More detailed requirements are found in the handouts.


This course's mini-paper answers a single question from second module. In doing so, though, you still have to find a way to produce a well-argued essay in a small amount of space (specifically 3-4 pages of 12 point Times New Roman, double-spaced font that follows Chicago style). Most people can eventually find their way to making a point if they have enough room to meander. However, this mini-paper forces you to write well and concisely. More on this assignment is in Module 2.

Capstone Paper

For the capstone paper, you will need to use at least 7 sources (including at least 2 from the first half of the course and one of the books from the list below) to answer the following question in a 6-9 page paper using double-spaced, 12pt, Times New Roman font with one-inch margins following Chicago formatting:

“In what ways have different groups and audiences understood the American Civil War? From a historical point of view, what themes and ideas should 21st Century Americans understand about the American Civil War?”

As you write your paper, please be sure to base your ideas on what we’ve read and back it up with evidence – and then use footnotes to cite those sources.

Ed Blum - Reforging the White Republic
David Blight - Race and Reunion
Jim Downs - Sick from Freedom
Mark Grimsley - Hard Hand of War

Because I am giving you the question for the paper that you are writing at the end of the semester, I do expect that you will be thinking about it throughout the semester. Feel free to email me with any questions.

Class Participation:

Class discussions is the primary mode of class participation. Thus, it is vitally important that you actively participate on this discussion boards.

Late Policy:

The instructor may or may not accept late work. If accepted, there will be, at minimum, a 10% penalty per week late assessed.

Course Ground Rules

The following two statements (1., 2.) were derived from the TBR System-wide Student Rules document, released January 2012:


Read the document in its entirety here.

1. Standards of Conduct:

  • Students are required to adhere to the same professional, legal and ethical standards of conduct online as on campus. In addition, students should conform to generally accepted standards of "netiquette" while sending e-mail, posting comments to the discussion board, and while participating in other means of communicating online. Specifically, students should refrain from inappropriate and/or offensive language, comments and actions.

2. Review the TN eCampus Academic Integrity/Academic Honesty Policy:

  • In their academic activities, students are expected to maintain high standards of honesty and integrity. Academic dishonesty is prohibited.

Such conduct includes, but is not limited to:

  • an attempt by one or more students to use unauthorized information in the taking of an exam
  • to submit as one's own work, themes, reports, drawings, laboratory notes, computer programs, or other products prepared by another person,
  • or to knowingly assist another student in obtaining or using unauthorized materials.

Plagiarism, cheating, and other forms of academic dishonesty are prohibited.

Students guilty of academic misconduct, either directly or indirectly through participation or assistance, are subject to disciplinary action through the regular procedures of the student’s home institution.  Refer to the student handbook provided by your home institution to review the student conduct policy.

In addition to other possible disciplinary sanctions that may be imposed, the instructor has the authority to assign an "F" or zero for an activity or to assign an "F" for the course.

Other Course Rules:

Students are expected to:

  • Participate in all aspects of the course
  • Communicate with other students
  • Learn how to navigate in Brightspace
  • Keep abreast of course announcements
  • Use the assigned course management (Brightspace) email address rather than a personal email address
  • Address technical problems immediately:
  • Observe course netiquette at all times.

Guidelines for Communications


  • Always include a subject line.
  • Remember without facial expressions some comments may be taken the wrong way. Be careful in wording your emails. Use of emoticons might be helpful in some cases.
  • Use standard fonts.
  • Do not send large attachments without permission.
  • Special formatting such as centering, audio messages, tables, html, etc. should be avoided unless necessary to complete an assignment or other communication.
  • Respect the privacy of other class members


  • Review the discussion threads thoroughly before entering the discussion. Be a lurker then a discussant.
  • Try to maintain threads by using the "Reply" button rather starting a new topic.
  • Do not make insulting or inflammatory statements to other members of the discussion group. Be respectful of other’s ideas.
  • Be patient and read the comments of other group members thoroughly before entering your remarks.
  • Be cooperative with group leaders in completing assigned tasks.
  • Be positive and constructive in group discussions.
  • Respond in a thoughtful and timely manner.


The Tennessee Virtual Library is available to all students enrolled in TN eCampus programs and courses. Links to library materials (such as electronic journals, databases, interlibrary loans, digital reserves, dictionaries, encyclopedias, maps, and librarian support) and Internet resources needed by learners to complete online assignments and as background reading will be included within the course modules. To access the Virtual Library, go to the course homepage and select the Virtual Library link under Course Resources.

Students with Disabilities

Qualified students with disabilities will be provided reasonable and necessary academic accommodations if determined eligible by the appropriate disability services staff at their home institution. Prior to granting disability accommodations in this course, the instructor must receive written verification of a student's eligibility for specific accommodations from the disability services staff at the home institution. It is the student's responsibility to initiate contact with their home institution's disability services staff and to follow the established procedures for having the accommodation notice sent to the instructor.

Syllabus Changes

The instructor reserves the right to make changes as necessary to this syllabus. If changes are necessitated during the term of the course, the instructor will immediately notify students of such changes both by individual email communication and posting both notification and nature of change(s) on the course bulletin board.


The information contained in this syllabus is for general information purposes only. While we endeavor to keep this information up-to-date and accurate, there may be some discrepancies between this syllabus and the one found in your online course. The syllabus of record is the one found in your online course. Please make sure you read the syllabus in your course at the beginning of the semester. Questions regarding course content should be directed to your instructor.

Last Revised on July 12, 2021