The United States survey course that I teach at Messiah College ends in 1865. I barely make it through the Civil War, but I do spend some significant time on politics in the 1850s, the immediate causes of the war, the Emancipation Proclamation, some basic military stuff, and Lincoln’s Second Inaugural.
I often wonder what it must be like for my colleague who teaches the second half of the survey. (I should probably ask him). He has to start with Reconstruction. As Kevin Schultz asks at Teaching United States History: “Can you effectively teach Reconstruction without having taught the Civil War?”
What do you think? Should Reconstruction be taught in the first half of the survey or the second half? If it is taught in the first half it might alleviate the problem of the ever-expanding U.S. survey that Jonathan Rees recently wrote about.