Ch 8: American Civil War

About This Chapter

The American Civil War chapter of this US History 1 Study Guide course is the most efficient way to study the war's key battles and turning points. This chapter uses simple and fun videos that are about five minutes long, plus includes lesson quizzes and a chapter exam to ensure you understand the essential concepts associated with the American Civil War.

Who's It For?

Anyone who needs help learning or mastering American Civil War material will benefit from the lessons in this chapter. There is no faster or easier way to learn about the American Civil War. Among those who would benefit are:

  • Students who want to learn a broad topic in a short amount of time
  • Students who are looking for easy ways to identify the most important information on the topic
  • Students who have fallen behind in memorizing events and people associated with the American Civil War
  • Students who prefer multiple ways of learning US history (visual or auditory)
  • Students who have missed class time and need to catch up
  • Students who have limited time to study for an upcoming exam

How It Works:

  • Watch each video in the chapter to review all key topics.
  • Refer to the video transcripts to reinforce your learning.
  • Test your understanding of each lesson with a short quiz.
  • Complete your review with the American Civil War chapter exam.

Why It Works:

  • Study Efficiently: The lessons in this chapter cover only information you need to know.
  • Retain What You Learn: Engaging animations and real-life examples make topics easy to grasp.
  • Be Ready on Test Day: Take the American Civil War chapter exam to make sure you're prepared.
  • Get Extra Support: Ask our subject-matter experts any US history question. They're here to help!
  • Study With Flexibility: Watch videos on any web-ready device.

Students Will Review:

This chapter summarizes the material students need to know about the Civil War for a standard US history course. Topics covered include:

  • Events leading up to the South's secession
  • Northern and Southern advantages at the outbreak of war
  • Outcomes of early Civil War battles
  • The legacy and context of the Emancipation Proclamation
  • Conflicts at Chancellorsville, Gettysburg and Vicksburg
  • General Grant's march toward Richmond
  • Lincoln's assassination
  • Lee's surrender at Appomattox Courthouse

18 Lessons in Chapter 8: American Civil War
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
Lincoln's Election, Southern Secession & the New Confederacy

1. Lincoln's Election, Southern Secession & the New Confederacy

Learn about how Abraham Lincoln's election in the contentious 1860 presidential race set off a domino effect leading to the secession of South Carolina and six other states and the formation of the Confederate States of America.

Civil War Begins: Northern and Southern Advantages Compared

2. Civil War Begins: Northern and Southern Advantages Compared

At the outbreak of the American Civil War, both the North and South believed the conflict would be over quickly. But advantages for both the Confederacy and the Union meant a prolonged war between the states. In this lesson, discover some of the advantages that the North and South had.

The First Battle of Bull Run: Civil War Blood is Shed

3. The First Battle of Bull Run: Civil War Blood is Shed

Three months after the bombardment of Fort Sumter, Northern troops attacked Southern forces near the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia. The first Battle of Bull Run (or Manassas) was the first major engagement of the Civil War and a terrifying defeat for the Union spectators who came to watch.

Key Civil War Battles in 1862: Monitor and Merrimac, Antietam, New Orleans & Shiloh

4. Key Civil War Battles in 1862: Monitor and Merrimac, Antietam, New Orleans & Shiloh

In 1862, the Union put its Anaconda Plan into action, resulting in several critical events: the Peninsular Campaign, the Battle of Hampton Roads between the ironclads Monitor and Virginia (Merrimack), the Battle of Shiloh, the capture of New Orleans, and the Battle of Antietam.

The Emancipation Proclamation: Creation, Context and Legacy

5. The Emancipation Proclamation: Creation, Context and Legacy

On January 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation went into effect. More than three million slaves in the South were freed, but the move was not without its critics, both then and now.

Civil War Turning Points: Chancellorsville, Gettysburg and Vicksburg

6. Civil War Turning Points: Chancellorsville, Gettysburg and Vicksburg

In 1863, three events proved to be turning points for the American Civil War: the Battle of Chancellorsville, the Battle of Gettysburg and the Siege of Vicksburg. Learn about these Civil War turning points in this lesson.

End of the Civil War: General Grant Begins the March Toward Richmond

7. End of the Civil War: General Grant Begins the March Toward Richmond

President Lincoln took a gamble and named Ulysses S. Grant as General-in-Chief of the Union army. They devised a plan to finally take Richmond and win the war in 1864. In this lesson, learn about General Grant's controversial tactics.

Lincoln's Assassination and Lee's Surrender at Appomattox Courthouse

8. Lincoln's Assassination and Lee's Surrender at Appomattox Courthouse

Two of the most eventful weeks in American history took place between April 1 and April 15, 1865, during which Richmond (the capital of the Confederacy) fell, General Lee surrendered at Appomattox Courthouse and President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated.

Primary Source: The Emancipation Proclamation

9. Primary Source: The Emancipation Proclamation

One of the most famous laws in American history, the Emancipation Proclamation declared that all slaves in the Confederacy would be freed. It did not actually free many slaves, as the Confederacy ignored it and it did not apply to slaves living in Union border states where slavery was still legal.

Primary Source: The Missouri Compromise

10. Primary Source: The Missouri Compromise

During the early 1800s, the United States was split between two fierce, opposing political ideologies: pro-slavery and anti-slavery. Slavery helped to power the agrarian economy of the Southern states, while Northern states abolished the practice of slavery.

Primary Source: 'The Hypocrisy of American Slavery' by Frederick Douglass

11. Primary Source: 'The Hypocrisy of American Slavery' by Frederick Douglass

Arguably the most famous abolitionist in American history, Frederick Douglass himself was a black slave who escaped from bondage in Maryland. His speeches and books helped advocate the antislavery cause.

Primary Source: 'Democrats, Are You Ready?'

12. Primary Source: 'Democrats, Are You Ready?'

The Raleigh Weekly Standard published the article 'Democrats, Are You Ready?' on October 31, 1860, just days before the presidential election. This was by far the most divisive election in American history, directly leading to the Civil War.

Primary Source: Letter from Gen. Robert E. Lee to Confederate President Jefferson Davis, 1863

13. Primary Source: Letter from Gen. Robert E. Lee to Confederate President Jefferson Davis, 1863

After losing the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863, Robert E. Lee wrote President Jefferson Davis a letter outlining his situation. It offers insight into the state of the army, Lee's personal thoughts, and the relationship of the two men.

Primary Source: Richmond Daily Dispatch on August 30, 1864

14. Primary Source: Richmond Daily Dispatch on August 30, 1864

By 1864, the Confederacy was nearing a state of collapse. Not only had the Union inflicted heavy losses in major conflicts like Gettysburg and Antietam, but the Confederate economy and standing of living had nearly bottomed out.

Primary Source: Articles of Agreement Relating to the Surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia

15. Primary Source: Articles of Agreement Relating to the Surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia

The Civil War came to a close when Confederate general Robert E. Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia to Ulysses S. Grant on April 9th, 1865. They signed the treaty of surrender at Appomattox Court House in Virginia.

Primary Source: Passage of the 14th Amendment by the US Senate on June 9, 1866

16. Primary Source: Passage of the 14th Amendment by the US Senate on June 9, 1866

The 14th Amendment, passed in 1866, allowed Confederate states to return to the United States. The former Confederate state legislatures of the South had to pass the amendment in order to again receive representation in Washington D.C.

Primary Source: Journal of the US Senate on June 22, 1866

17. Primary Source: Journal of the US Senate on June 22, 1866

The Fourteenth Amendment was one of the most controversial amendments in American history. It allowed the former Confederate states to rejoin the union, provided that they enfranchise all blacks as citizens and provided them with political rights.

Primary Source: John Brown's Address to the Virginia Court in 1859

18. Primary Source: John Brown's Address to the Virginia Court in 1859

One of the most important figures in the lead-up to the Civil War, John Brown attempted to seize a government armory in 1859. He hoped to provide the weapons to black slaves and start a mass rebellion.

Chapter Practice Exam
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Practice Final Exam
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