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Online Class: American Civil War

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  • 12
  • 25
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  • 13
    average time
  • 1.3
  • 1,072
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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.


  • Completely Online
  • Self-Paced
  • Printable Lessons
  • Full HD Video
  • 6 Months to Complete
  • 24/7 Availability
  • Start Anytime
  • PC & Mac Compatible
  • Android & iOS Friendly
  • Accredited CEUs
Universal Class is an IACET Accredited Provider

Course Lessons

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Lesson 1. Civil War Terminology and Course Structure

This introductory lesson will equip students with tools that will make learning about the Civil War more effective. We will go over topics such as civil war terminology, technology, battle names, strategies, and outcomes. 45 Total Points
  • Lesson 1 Video A
  • Lesson 1 Video B : Introduction Lecture
  • Review Practice Worksheet: TechnologyintheCivilWar.doc
  • Review Article: Timeline regarding issues leading to the Civil War
  • Take Poll: American History
  • Complete Assignment: Introductions
  • Complete Assignment: The Telegraph and the Civil War

Lesson 2. Setting The Stage: America's Path to Civil War

In this lesson we will go over the actual causes of the Civil War such as the controversies surrounding Federalism and states rights, debates over expansionism, effects of modernization, the status of the economy, and the feelings of sectionalism. 35 Total Points
  • Lesson 2 Video A
  • Lesson 2 Video B : Causes of the Civil War Lecture
  • Review 2 Articles: Secession of South Carolina; Civil War Inventions
  • Complete Assignment: Causes of the Civil War
  • Complete: Lesson 2 Exam

Lesson 3. The War Begins

The war begins and both side finalize their divisions by appointing a president, forming an army, and fighting the first battle. 35 Total Points
  • Lesson 3 Video A
  • Lesson 3 Video B : Lesson 3 Discussion
  • Review 2 Practice Worksheets
  • Review 2 Articles: Crittenden Compromise; Fort Sumter: The Civil War Begins
  • Complete Assignment: First Battles
  • Complete: Lesson 3 Exam

Lesson 4. The War Goes West

Early battle successes for the Confederacy as the initial battles in 1861 over control of the state of Missouri. Battle of Wilson' Creek, Battle of Hemp Bale, Battle of Ball's Bluff and many other battles that took place during this first year. 35 Total Points
  • Lesson 4 Video A
  • Lesson 4 Video B : Lesson 4 Discussion
  • Review 3 Articles: Battle of Wilson's Creek; Battle of Ball's Bluff; Civil War Battles of 1861
  • Complete Assignment: Battles of 1861
  • Complete: Lesson 4 Exam

Lesson 5. Escalation of Battles, 1862

The strategies that required control of the border states continues into 1862. This lesson will review the major and bloody battles of this year, such as the capture of Ft. Henry, Ft. Donelsone, Battle of Pea Ridge (Elkhorn Tavern), Shiloh, and others. 25 Total Points
  • Lesson 5 Video A
  • Lesson 5 Video B : Lesson 5 Discussion
  • Review 3 Articles: Pea Ridge Elkhorn Tavern Civil War Arkansas; Fort Donelson; Battle of Seven Pines / Fair Oaks
  • Complete Assignment: Battles of 1862

Lesson 6. Battles of 1862, Continued

The Battles continue into 1862 and the remarkable strategies of Confederate General Robert E. Lee shape the outcomes of many bloody battles. Battles of Bull Run (Manassas), Battle of Harpers Ferry, Battle of Antietam ( Sharpsburg), Fredericksburg, and oth 35 Total Points
  • Lesson 6 Video A
  • Lesson 6 Video B : Emancipation Proclamation Lecture
  • Lesson 6 Video C : Lesson 6 Discussion
  • Review Article: Battle of Harpers Ferry
  • Complete Assignment: The Emancipation Proclamation
  • Complete: Lesson 5 Exam

Lesson 7. The Decisive Battles of 1863-64, Battle of Chancellorsville

There were many, many battles fought in the next two years of the War Between the States. Of those battles, three are the most prominent and decisive, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, and Vicksburg. The Battle of Chancellorsville will encompass this lesson. 25 Total Points
  • Lesson 7 Video A
  • Lesson 7 Video B : Chancellorsville Discussion
  • Review Article: The Battle of Chancellorsville
  • Complete Assignment: Battle of Chancellorsville

Lesson 8. The Decisive Battles of 1863-64, Battle of Gettysburg

There were many, many battles fought in the next two years of the War Between the States. Of those battles, three are the most prominent and decisive were Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, and Vicksburg. The Battle of Gettysburg will encompass this lesson. 65 Total Points
  • Lesson 8 Video A
  • Lesson 8 Video B : Lesson 8 Discussion
  • Review 3 Articles: Battle of Gettysburg; J. E. B. Stuart; James Longstreet
  • Review Video: Part 1 of 8 of Tour of Battle of Gettysburg
  • Complete Assignment: Battle of Gettysburg
  • Complete Assignment: Aftermath of Battle
  • Complete Assignment: Was the Battle of Gettysburg the most important battle in American History?

Lesson 9. The Decisive Battles of 1863-64, Battle of Vicksburg

There were many, many battles fought in the next two years of the War Between the States. Of those battles, three are the most prominent and decisive: Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, and Vicksburg. The Battle of Vicksburg will encompass this lesson. 64 Total Points
  • Lesson 9 Video A
  • Lesson 9 Video B : Vicksburg Discussion
  • Lesson 9 Video C : Lesson 9 Discussion
  • Review Practice Worksheet: WilliamTecumsehSherman.doc
  • Complete Assignment: Battle of Vicksburg
  • Complete Assignment: Was Vicksburg the Key?
  • Complete: Lesson 6 Exam

Lesson 10. The End of the War

The War between the States comes to a close in 1865 with the Battle of Appomattox Courthouse in Virginia. This lesson will also describe the solemn surrender of General Robert E. Lee to Ulysses Grant, the abrupt assassination of President Lincoln. 45 Total Points
  • Lesson 10 Video A
  • Lesson 10 Video B : Lesson 10 Discussion
  • Review Practice Worksheet: TheSurrender.doc
  • Review 2 Articles: The Surrender Correspondence at Appomattox; End of the Civil War
  • Complete Assignment: Final Battle
  • Complete Assignment: What if America's Civil War was also fought over religion?

Lesson 11. Notable Figures of the American Civil War

Notable people in the Union and the Confederacy. 35 Total Points
  • Lesson 11 Video A
  • Lesson 11 Video B : Lesson 11 Discussion
  • Review 6 Articles: Braxton Bragg; Jefferson Davis; Thomas J. Jackson; George Armstrong Custer; General Philip H. Sheridan; Dorothea Dix
  • Complete Assignment: People in the American Civil War
  • Complete: Lesson 7 Exam

Lesson 12. Summary of the Civil War

A count of war casualties, additional resources, and a final review exam. 48 Total Points
  • Take Poll: More American History?
  • Take Survey: Course Survey
  • Take Survey: Program Evaluation Follow-up Survey (End of Course)
  • Complete Assignment: Technology in the Civil War
  • Complete: The Final Exam
Total Course Points

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.

Additional Course Information

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Course Title: American Civil War
Course Number: 7550437
Languages: English - United States, Canada and other English speaking countries
Course Type: General Education (Self-Paced, Online Class)
CEU Value: 1.3 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
Course Review: Read Editorial Review
Course Fee: $50.00 (no CEU Certification) || with Online CEU Certification: $75.00

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Student Testimonials

  • "I liked how the instructor always was on the ball getting to the grades and passing me on to the next lesson in a timely manner." -- Velada M.
  • "The entire course was both interesting and informative. I now have a better understanding of the battles and the participants in the battles of the Civil War. However it is a very sad chapter in the history of our nation and so utterly unnecessary. The deaths of the soldiers was just overwhelming to me....The instructor has compiled a very informative condensation of the Civil War. He is very propmpt in grading the assignments and the tests. This has been an enlightening experience for me and I am sorry to have the course end. I am hoping that [you] will offer more courses in US history. I would now like to continue on with the reconstruction of the South following the war." -- Sara H.

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