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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.


American civil warThis 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.

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Course Lessons

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Lesson 11. Notable Figures of the American Civil War

    Notable people in the Union and the Confederacy.
  • Lesson 12. Summary of the Civil War

    A count of war casualties, additional resources, and a final review exam.
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Online CEU Certificate
1.3 CEUs
13 Contact Hours
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Course Title: American Civil War 101
Course Number: 7550437
Languages: English - United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and other English speaking countries
Course Type: General Education
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 CEU Certification: $75.00

Learning Outcomes

By successfully completing this course, students will be able to:
  • Summarize 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.
The Telegraph and the Civil WarAssignment40
Causes of the Civil WarAssignment25
Lesson 2 ExamExam10
First BattlesAssignment25
Lesson 3 ExamExam10
Battles of 1861Assignment25
Lesson 4 ExamExam10
Battles of 1862Assignment25
The Emancipation ProclamationAssignment25
Lesson 5 ExamExam10
Battle of ChancellorsvilleAssignment25
Battle of GettysburgAssignment25
Aftermath of BattleAssignment20
Was the Battle of Gettysburg the most important battle in American History?Assignment20
Battle of VicksburgAssignment25
Was Vicksburg the Key?Assignment30
Lesson 6 ExamExam9
Final BattleAssignment25
What if America's Civil War was also fought over religion?Assignment20
People in the American Civil WarAssignment25
Lesson 7 ExamExam10
Technology in the Civil WarAssignment20
The Final ExamExam28
Total Points:492

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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