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American Heroes and Villains

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Course Description

Just as there have been famous and infamous personalities that have arisen on the world stage throughout the ages, America has had its share of notable personalities--ranging from the very good to the very, very bad.  While not always at the forefront of people's minds, it would seem unlikely that America would be what it is today without its "good guys" and, yes, even its "bad guys."

So what makes a person a national hero or villain?  What set of circumstances in a person's life and in the history of a nation need to coalesce in order to bring a person from obscurity to the level of fame or infamy where they are recognized by name?  Why is George Washington famous?  Why is Charles Manson?  How about Jesse James or Linus Pauling?  What makes each of them unique to such an extent that they are now household names?

This course will provide a brief biographical overview of many of America's most notable heroes and villains, along with an analysis of why each one is well-known in our history.  Furthermore, it will provide criteria for better understanding why and how each of these persons became who they are in our collective lives.

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  • 6 Months to Complete
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  • Start Anytime
  • PC & Mac Compatible
  • Android & iOS Friendly
  • Accredited CEUs
Universal Class is an IACET Accredited Provider

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Course Lessons

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Lesson 1. An Introduction to America's Heroes and Villains

This lesson will establish the basic learning parameters for the course. 34 Total Points
  • Lesson 1 Video
  • Review 2 Articles: Top 100 Comic Book Villains; 50 Greatest Literature Villains
  • Take Poll: Heros and Villains
  • Complete: Lesson 1 Assignment
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 1: An Introduction to America’s Heroes and Villains

Lesson 2. Early America

We will concern ourselves here with the period of history after Europeans first discovered the New World beginning, of course, in 1492 AD. 35 Total Points
  • Lesson 2 Video
  • Review 2 Articles: Christopher Columbus; John Cabot
  • Complete: Lesson 2 Assignment
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 2: Early America

Lesson 3. Colonial America

Once the European powers decided that the New World was more valuable as a resource in and of itself, they slowed their search for a route to Asia and began to establish colonies in the lands that they had discovered. 35 Total Points
  • Lesson 3 Video
  • Review Article: Bartholomew Roberts
  • Complete: Lesson 3 Assignment
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 3: Colonial America

Lesson 4. Revolutionary America, Part I

The Revolutionary Period of American history is the point in history where America begins to gain an identity of its own. 35 Total Points
  • Lesson 4 Video
  • Review 2 Articles: Benedict Arnold; Benjamin Franklin
  • Complete: Lesson 4 Assignment
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 4: Revolutionary America, Part I

Lesson 5. Revolutionary America, Part II

This lesson continues the overview of American heroes and villains from the Revolutionary War period that lasted from 1763 to 1783 AD. 34 Total Points
  • Lesson 5 Video
  • Review 2 Articles: John Adams; The Execution of Nathan Hale
  • Complete: Lesson 5 Assignment
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 5: Revolutionary America, Part II

Lesson 6. The Young Republic

Following the Revolutionary War, America was still searching for its identity as a nation and trying to stabilize after a lengthy military conflict with the British Empire. 35 Total Points
  • Lesson 6 Video
  • Review Article: Thomas Jefferson
  • Take Poll: Historical Era
  • Complete: Lesson 6 Assignment
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 6: The Young Republic

Lesson 7. Expansion and Reform Era

As the country fended off the British again in the War of 1812, it became apparent that no further threats would be coming from Europe in the ensuing years. 35 Total Points
  • Lesson 7 Video
  • Review 2 Articles: John Brown; Nat Turner
  • Complete: Lesson 7 Assignment
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 7: Expansion and Reform Era

Lesson 8. Civil War and Reconstruction

As the years wore on the country seemed on an inescapable path toward Civil War, and it was. 34 Total Points
  • Lesson 8 Video
  • Review Article: William T. Sherman
  • Complete: Lesson 8 Assignment
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 8: Civil War and Reconstruction

Lesson 9. The Wild West and the Second Industrial Revolution

Following the Civil War and the Reconstruction period of American history, a new wave of industrialization swept across the land. 55 Total Points
  • Lesson 9 Video
  • Review 3 Articles: Wild Bill Hickok; Mark Twain; Henry Ford Anti-Semitic
  • Complete: Lesson 9 Assignment
  • Complete Assignment: Henry Ford Racist?
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 9: The Wild West and the Second Industrial Revolution

Lesson 10. World War I

With Europe erupting into a full scale war, the United States reluctantly joined the fray toward the end of the Great War or World War I, as it later came to be called. 35 Total Points
  • Lesson 10 Video
  • Review 2 Articles: Al Capone; Ernest Hemingway
  • Complete: Lesson 10 Assignment
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 10: World War I

Lesson 11. World War II and Korea

World War II was a difficult time in America. Fighting a major war in two theatres (Europe and the Pacific), Americans were desperate for heroes, and villains who they could blame all the fighting on. 34 Total Points
  • Lesson 11 Video
  • Review 2 Articles: J. Edgar Hoover; George S. Patton
  • Complete: Lesson 11 Assignment
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 11: World War II and Korea

Lesson 12. Post War to the End of the Century, Part I

Following the conclusion of World War II, America underwent the longest peace time boom of any nation on Earth. 35 Total Points
  • Lesson 12 Video
  • Review Article: SI's 10 Facts about Miracle on Ice
  • Complete: Lesson 12 Assignment
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 12: Post War to the End of the Century, Part I

Lesson 13. Post War to the End of the Century, Part II

This lesson is a continuation of the heroes and villains from the end of World War II to the end of the twentieth century. 35 Total Points
  • Lesson 13 Video
  • Review 2 Articles: Ted Bundy; Neil Armstrong
  • Complete: Lesson 13 Assignment
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 13: Post War to the End of the Century, Part II

Lesson 14. The New Millennium

The New Millennium brings with it a number of challenges that have never been faced before in human history. 33 Total Points
  • Lesson 14 Video
  • Review Article: Bernie Madoff
  • Take Poll: Hero
  • Take Poll: Villain
  • Take Survey: Program Evaluation Follow-up Survey (End of Course)
  • Complete: Lesson 14 Assignment
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 14: The New Millennium
Total Course Points

Additional Course Information

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Document Your CEUs on Your Resume
Course Title: American Heroes and Villains
Course Number: 8900124
Languages: English - United States, Canada and other English speaking countries
Course Type: General Education
CEU Value: 0.8 IACET CEUs (Continuing Education Units)
CE Accreditation: Universal Class, Inc. has been accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).
Grading Policy: Earn a final grade of 70% or higher to receive an online/downloadable CEU Certification documenting CEUs earned.
Assessment Method: Lesson assignments and review exams
Instructor: C. Michael McKenna
Syllabus: View Syllabus
Duration: Continuous: Enroll anytime!
Course Fee: $50.00 (no CEU Certification) || with CEU Certification: $75.00

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Learning Outcomes

By successfully completing this course, students will be able to:
  • Define what it means to be considered an American hero or villain.
  • Know American heroes and villains in early America.
  • Know American heroes and villains in the Expansion and Reform Era.
  • Know American heroes and villains in the Civil War and Reconstruction.
  • Know American heroes and villains in The Wild West and the Second Industrial Revolution.
  • Know American heroes and villains in World War I, World War II and the Korean War
  • Know American heroes and villains in Post War to the End of the Century
  • Post War to the End of the Century, Part I, and
  • Demonstrate mastery of lesson content at levels of 70% or higher.

Student Testimonials

  • "This was a FANTASTIC course! I learned so much that I didn't even know I was interested in. The best part was being able to pick which hero or villain you could write about. In figuring out which one to write about, I learned a tremendous amount about the other people in the assignments." -- Donna N.
  • "Instructor McKenna was well equipped to handle questions I had" -- Randall M.
  • "Mac was an excellent instructor, very interactive. I hope to run into him again." -- L T.

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