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The American Civil War, 1861-65

3. Emancipation

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About this Lecture


In this module, we think about the impact of the American Civil War on slavery, particularly in relation to the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed some (but not all) enslaved peoples in the South. In particular, we focus on: (i) the extent to which slavery is destabilised immediately with the outbreak of war; (ii) the range of different individuals and groups that had a view on emancipation; (iii) the problem represented by states such as Kentucky which were slave states but fighting on the side of the Union; (iv) the extent to which the continuation of the two-party system in the north helped or hindered the Union war effort and the movement towards emancipation; (v) the extent to which people in the north supported emancipation – either in and of itself, or as a necessary means to winning the war and preserving the Union; (vi) the extent to which the Emancipation Act represents the beginning of the struggle for freedom for African-Americans, rather than its fulfilment; (vii) the fact that the Emancipation Act did not free all enslaved peoples in America; and (viii) the idea of emancipation as a political issue as well as moral one.


In this course, Professor Susan-Mary Grant (Newcastle University) explores the American Civil War (1861-65). In the first module, we think about the immediate background to the secession of South Carolina from the United States in December 1860, including the impact of the Dred Scott case and the rise of Abraham Lincoln. In the second module, we explore the idea that the American Civil War was a second American Revolution, before turning in the third module to look more closely at the issue of slavery and emancipation. In the fourth and five modules, we consider the course of the war from the perspective of the Union and the Confederacy, respectively, before turning in the sixth module to think how the historiography relating to the American Civil War has changed since the 1960s, as well as thinking about the war's legacy to this day.


Professor Susan-Mary Grant is Professor of American History at Newcastle University. She is the author of North Over South: Northern Nationalism and American Identity in the Antebellum Era (2000), The War for a Nation: The American Civil War (2006) and editor of Legacy of Disunion: The Enduring Significance of the American Civil War (2003) and Themes of the American Civil War: The War Between the States (2010).

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Grant, S. (2021, March 12). The American Civil War, 1861-65 - Emancipation [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Grant, S. "The American Civil War, 1861-65 – Emancipation." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 12 Mar 2021,