You are not currently logged in. Please create an account or log in to view the full course.

The American Civil War, 1861-65

1. Secession

This is the course trailer. Please create an account or log in to view this lecture.

  • Description
  • Cite

About this Lecture


In this module, we think about the immediate background to the secession of South Carolina from the Union on 20 December 1860, focusing in particular on: (i) the implications of the Dred Scott decision (1857), including its undermining of the Missouri Compromise (1820); (ii) the rise of Abraham Lincoln and the Lincoln-Douglas debates (1858); (iii) John Brown's raid on Harpers Ferry (October 1859); (iv) Lincoln's election as President in November 1860; (v) the secession of South Carolina on 20 December 1860; (vi) the fact that the southern states secede individually from the Union; (vii) the fact that some slave states do not secede from the Union, e.g. Kentucky; (viii) the legal and moral justification for secession; and (ix) the question of why the Union decided to go to war over the secession, i.e. why not just leave the southern states to form a separate nation?


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 - Secession [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

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