Travel with me to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania . HIST 35001: Gettysburg, Three Days that Changed America. This exciting 3-credit Travel Study course is being offered through the Social Sciences Department and the Office of Continuing Education here at PNC. Join us and you can relive the past……
IMAGINE…..For three hot days in July, 1863, more than 150,000 men came together at a small Pennsylvania crossroads to decide the fate of the nation. Would there even BE a nation, or would the country dissolve into two opposing governments. For more than two years the opposing armies had tested each other, but now a veteran army under Virginia’s General Robert E. Lee was invading Pennsylvania. The United States Army was in retreat, its commander relieved almost on the eve of the next battle. A long string of United States defeats gave Southerners hope that one more victory on Northern soil would force an end to the conflict. The South would be independent!
After three days of brutal combat, a third of those who fought had been killed, wounded, captured, or were missing. The Southern army had been turned back, and as it retired back to Virginia its hopes for a decisive victory and Southern independence began to fade. Three days made all of the difference in the war. Never again would Lee be able to launch a major invasion of the North. After almost two more years of grinding bloodshed, the South finally gave up, the Union was preserved. Gettysburg played a crucial role in the outcome of America’s most costly war.
In November of 1863 President Abraham Lincoln journeyed to Gettysburg to help dedicate a new national cemetery where the fighting had taken place. His brief speech, lasting only some two minutes or less, defined the purpose of the war like no other political statement of the conflict. The war would determine if America would be one nation or two, whether it would embrace slavery or reject it, whether it would continue to be an agricultural nation or place it future in the hands of industry. The Civil War effects our lives even today: the federal income tax began to help pay for the war; three constitutional amendments resulted from the war defining citizenship and equal protection for all citizens; land grant colleges began because of the war and without land grant colleges there would be no Purdue University; the role of women in the professions and business greatly expanded; the war stimulated the westward movement; the new state of West Virginia came into being; absentee ballots were invented; “greenbacks” were printed for the first time; the United States became a single nation rather than a collection of loosely aligned states.
And all of this occurred in large part because of what happened around an obscure little rural town called Gettysburg.
I hope you will consider joining us for this historic experience offered during Summer Semester. Please contact the Office of Continuing Education for this year’s dates, fee structure and more information.