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The American South: To Live and Die in Dixie

Sign up for this course to learn the glorious and shocking story of the traditional American South, and the contributions of its greatest heroes and villains.

Total classes: 14

Prerequisite: None

Suggested grade level: 9th to 12th grade (Adjustments can be made to assignments in order to accommodate middle school students.)

Suggested credit: One full semester American History


The South has largely represented a peculiar and independent spirit within the American heritage, and its history and influence is often misunderstood. This course examines the South in literature, politics, economics and military, while also analyzing the efforts made to influence its historical legacy. With respect to Literature, students will be introduced to some of the pro-slavery texts of the South such as John C. Calhoun’s Disquisition on Government, George Fitzhugh’s Cannibal’s All!, and John P. Kennedy’s Swallow Barn. Politically, the series of events leading to secession, war, Reconstruction, and redemption will be carefully discussed, as well as the social pressures upon which these movements relied. Militarily, the factors and battles crucial to the Confederacy’s demise will be carefully scrutinized. Finally, keen attention will be given to the rise of the Lost Cause and its efforts to shape the Confederate legacy.


Weeks 1-2: The founding of Southern traditions in the Colonial and Revolutionary Era
Weeks 3-4: Silver Age politicians and “the river of dark dreams”
Weeks 5-7: The Crisis of Southern apologists
Weeks 8-10: The Rise and fall of the Confederacy
Weeks 11-12: The Reconstruction and the Lost Cause
Weeks 13-14: Redemption, monuments, and Jim Crow

Materials and Homework

Course Materials: The Confederate Experience Reader, John D. Fowler, ISBN-10: 0415978793 or ISBN-13: 978-0415978798 (https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0415978793/chrisgooverth-20 or bookfinder.com)

Homework: Expect to have between 20 to 30 pages of reading from the textbook, some of which will be in preparation for class discussion. Two to three hours of homework a week in reading and studying is expected.

NOTE: Middle School students taking this class will not be required to do the reading

Also, students will have one to two short (5-10 minute), ungraded review quizzes based on classroom lectures and discussions.

Important Dates

Class Dates: Wednesdays, January 10 to April 24, 2024. No class Feb. 14 or Mar. 27.

Starting Time: 4:00 PM Eastern (3:00 Central; 2:00 Mountain; 1:00 Pacific)

Duration per class: 55 minutes

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