Wednesday, December 15, 2010

What to Call it

One of the many hotly debated issues regarding the Civil War is what to call it. Most people today call it the Civil War, modern day Confederates call it the War of Northern Aggression, other less inflammatory names include War Between the States and the War of Southern Secession. Many writers after the war referred to it as The Late Unpleasantness. Of all these choices, which is correct and which should we use today?

Civil War

Many times when someone calls it the Civil War, someone responds with, “It wasn't a Civil War. There was nothing civil about it!” This is actually an incorrect statement. “Civil” does not refer to the kindness between the combatants, or there would be no civil wars. A civil war is one between factions in the same country. Those who believe that the South had a right to secede, including myself, would take objection to the fact that the war was between parts of the same country.

War of Northern Aggression

A common term among Southerners is the War of Northern Aggression. Supporters of the Union would point out that it was the Confederates who fired on Fort Sumter, their opponents would respond that they shouldn't have been there at all. That is a another argument for another day. But clearly, this name will never be in common use by both sides because it is very one-sided.

War for Southern Independence

The War for Southern Independence or War for Southern Secession is less biased. Everyone would acknowledge that the war began because the Southern states decided that they no longer wished to be a part of the Union. Many would say that the true cause was slavery, but I would disagree (again, a discussion for another day.)

War Between the States

The most appropriate yet unbiased name seems to me to be the War Between the States. The South still considered itself to be states, and the North did as well. The only problem with this name is that it is not in general use, and is much longer than Civil War.” warbetweenthestates150blog.blogspot.com is a very long name to remember! So unfortunately, for the time being we will have to stick with the Civil War.


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