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Course Syllabus: American Civil War

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Course Description

One of the most divisive and important events in American history, the Civil War (also called the War Between the States) pitted countrymen against countrymen in the new and developing republic of the United States of America.  Among the many issues at stake were the role of central government, state's rights, slavery, and the fate of the Union itself, which had borne our fledgling nation through the American Revolutionary war and the War of 1812.


Grim, brutal, and utterly personal, the Civil War claimed more American lives than any other war fought before or since the founding of the United States.  No other war contains such philosophical and emotional impact, since the issues and concerns that were on the hearts and minds of the politicians, statesmen, combatants, and ordinary citizens of the late nineteenth century can still be seen in evidence even in modern times.  No modern politician can ignore or discount the attitudes and mindsets the were forged in the Civil War and expect a measure of success--for many of those attitudes for both the North and the South still thrive in American society, culture, and debate.


This course attempts to briefly summarize and present the major events and battles related to the War Between the States in chronological order.  In addition, this course will set forth the major political issues and philosophies that set the stage for the Civil War, sustained the conflict, and continue to linger on to this day in the hearts and minds of most Americans.  Finally, a list of the major figures related to the Civil War will be presented to highlight each notable person's contributions to the struggle itself and to the overall development of our nation.

Course Requirements

This course will not require you to have previous experience in any particular area but you should have a high school reading level. No books will be required.

Course Goals

In this course students will:


-learn the many causes that led up to this war

-learn about the strategies and major battles of 1861 
-learn about the strategies and major battles of 1862
-learn about the turning point battles that shaped the outcome of the war in 1863-64
-learn about the final battle, surrender, and aftermath of this war
-learn about several noteworthy individuals during this war


Course Materials

All course material will be provided in the lessons and (+60)netlinks. There are no required materials to purchase before taking the class.

Grading Policy

Each lesson will include a lesson review quiz along with an assignment. Students will successfully complete this course by mastering all learning outcomes with 70% or higher overall grade.

Course Structure

  1. Lesson 1: Civil War Terminology & Course Structure
  2. Lesson 2: Setting The Stage: America's Path to Civil War
  3. Lesson 3: The War Begins
  4. Lesson 4: The War Goes West
  5. Lesson 5: 1862- Escalation of Battles
  6. Lesson 6: Battles of 1862 Continued
  7. Lesson 7: The Decisive Battles of 1863-64: Battle of Chancellorsville
  8. Lesson 8: The Decisive Battles of 1863-64: Battle of Gettysburg
  9. Lesson 9: The Decisive Battles of 1863-64: Battle of Vicksburg
  10. Lesson 10: The End of the War
  11. Lesson 11: Notable Figures of the American Civil War
  12. Summary of the Civil War

Recommended Books

There are no Required books for this course but here are a couple of Recommended titles for further study in this area:
1.The American Civil War: A Hands-on History (Paperback)  Booklink to: The American Civil War: A Hands-on History
2.  Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era (Oxford History of the United States) (Paperback)  Booklink to: Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era
3.  Battles of the American Civil War -Vital G (Vital Guide) (Paperback)
Booklink to: Battles of the American Civil War -Vital G (Vital Guide)

Learning Outcomes

By successfully completing this course, students will be able to:
  • Know the major events and battles related to the American Civil War.
  • Identify the major political issues and philosophies that set the stage for the Civil War.
  • Describe the major issues that still exist today as a result of the Civil War.
  • Identify and describe the major figures of the Civil War, and
  • Demonstrate mastery of lesson content at levels of 70% or higher.

Assessment Guide

Assessment Points
Before we begin this study.25
The Telegraph and the Civil War40
Causes of the Civil War25
Lesson 2 Exam10
First Battles25
Lesson 3 Exam10
Battles of 186125
Lesson 4 Exam10
Battles of 186225
The Emancipation Proclamation25
Lesson 5 Exam10
Battle of Chancellorsville25
Battle of Gettysburg25
Aftermath of Battle20
Was the Battle of Gettysburg the most important battle in American History?20
Battle of Vicksburg25
Was Vicksburg the Key?30
Lesson 6 Exam9
Final Battle25
What if America's Civil War was also fought over religion?20
People in the American Civil War25
Lesson 7 Exam10
Technology in the Civil War20
The Final Exam28
Total Points:517

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