Part 1: Coming of War

Click HERE for a transcript of this video

The objective in Part 1 is to help classroom teachers find new and better ways to humanize the coming of war narrative.  The conflict over slavery may well have been “irrepressible,” but nobody should teach this dramatic subject in ways that drain the dramatic elements of human choice out of the equation or make the Civil War seem inevitable.  Moreover, by rendering complicating constitutional subjects such as the Dred Scott Case or the fugitive slave law in more human terms, teachers can actually help students find deeper insights into the underlying causes of the war.

Featured Image —Dred Scott’s Family

Featured Document — John Brown at Court (1859)

Handouts–Slavery Through Dred Scott // UGRR Timeline

Further reading —Dred Scott Decision  // UGRR and Coming of War // Harpers Ferry Raid

Guest GLI Lecture: Catherine Clinton on Harriet Tubman (33 mins.)

Featured Student Video:  Old Carlisle Courthouse (10 mins.)

Civil War Through American Art:

Eastman Johnson, "Negro Life in the South" (1859)

Eastman Johnson, “Negro Life in the South” (1859)


Images as Gateways:  What are you seeing?

VanderVelde Freedom Suit Image

Courtesy of Lea VanderVelde


House Divided Project

Course Professor
Matthew Pinsker:
Dickinson College
Carlisle, PA 17013

Course Producer
Lance Warren:
Gilder Lehrman Institute
New York, NY 10036