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What to name this war? - General Civil War Talk - Civil War Talk - Civil War Interactive Discussion Board
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 Posted: Tue Jul 17th, 2007 01:07 am
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PvtClewell
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The other day, as I walked into our local coffee shop, I was wearing one of my Civil War Institute T-shirts. One of my deep-rooted southern buddies sitting at our table proclaimed, "It's not called the Civil War around here. It's the War of Northern Aggression."

Oh boy. Here we go.

"How can that be?" I asked. "You guys fired the first shot."

Sometimes I feel like the only Yankee in all of Tar Heelia.

Anyway, I guess there are a billion names for this war, some of them inspired by regional sympathies. I was brought up in Pennsylvania and was taught in the public school system that it was 'the Civil War.' I still lean that way. Everybody knows what you're talking about when you say 'Civil War' even if they don't agree it's the proper name for the conflict (in their eyes). I sure don't want to tell people that I attend the Institute for the Late Unpleasantness.

The War Between the States really doesn't work for me — sounds like it could be a battle between New Hampshire and Vermont as much as anything else.

War of the Rebellion, War for Secession, War for Southern Independence, the American War of 1861-65 sound like they could work, but they also seem a bit unwieldy to use in casual company — and they take up too much space on a T-shirt.

Just curious — what works for y'all, and why? (This seems like a good time to take a temporary break from that damn hill.)



 Posted: Tue Jul 17th, 2007 01:18 am
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ole
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Heck, General, I'll call it whatever doesn't offend anyone (except for a few nutcases and I don't mind offending them). As long as we are talking about the same unpleasantness, it doesn't bother me.

But, be warned, if you insist on calling it the War of Northern Aggression, I will insist on calling it the War of the Rebellion. And then we'll have to argue about the proper name of it and we won't get on with learning from each other.

I'm quite content in calling it the innocuous and innacurate names we've all gotten used to: WBTS or USCW. (Yes. I'm familiar with the arguments.)

ole



 Posted: Tue Jul 17th, 2007 01:22 am
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ole
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"It's not called the Civil War around here. It's the War of Northern Aggression."

I'm shocked, shocked, General Clewett. Why didn't you just say something like, "In God's Country, where our habit is to stomp red-neck snakes, we don't delude ourselves as to who won it." (Maybe not use "delude.") That ought to be good for a few laughs.:shock:

ole



 Posted: Tue Jul 17th, 2007 01:27 am
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PvtClewell
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Ole,

I have to be careful what I say. He's bigger than me.



 Posted: Tue Jul 17th, 2007 01:45 am
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javal1
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Funny how I never hear "The War of Southern Agression." Maybe we should just stick to Civil War.



 Posted: Tue Jul 17th, 2007 05:15 am
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ole
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Hear! Hear!

You don't stir my pot and I won't stir yours. That's not the point, anyway.

ole



 Posted: Tue Jul 17th, 2007 01:33 pm
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PvtClewell
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Awww, Ole — I'm a pot stirrer from way back (uh-oh. Maybe I ought to rephrase that).

I'm just trying to generate some discussion here. The name-that-war debate popped up in a 9-page essay in North and South Magazine a few issues ago and I thought it would make some good fun here.

I noticed as I write this, this thread has had 44 views but only six responses. What, nobody else has an opinion on this? I also noticed the board has nearly 500 members, some international, which seems like a huge body of interest, expertise and perspective to me. And yet, we have about 15-20 'regulars' of that 500 who actually contribute to the discussion. Even the hill and Ewell threads, which I thought presented some magnificent and inspired discussion, basically came from the same handful of folks. How much better could those threads have been with another 20 or more different contributors?

I'm a newbie here and I'm not complaining, mind you. Just wondering what it takes to get more responders. Cattle prods? Bribes? Free trips to Gettysburg? It ain't that hard to log in and express a thought.

To me, 500 members means we should have a pool of 500 different perspectives on a topic. I know each individual has certain areas of interest and we all won't respond to every thread, (i.e., when discussion turns to the war in the west, I'm lost) but we should be able to jack the number of contributors up a notch. How do we do that on the Internet?

I'll get off my soapbox now before that guy who's bigger than me gets here.

Last edited on Wed Jul 18th, 2007 01:19 pm by PvtClewell



 Posted: Tue Jul 17th, 2007 02:44 pm
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64thNYDrummer
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Strictly speaking it was not a civil war, A civil war is a war between two factions contending for control of the same government. The House of Lancaster vs. The House of York was a civil war. About a century latter Cromwell vs. the Roylists was a civil war.

Therefore the late unpleasntnes, if one is fussy about definations was not a civil war. Having said that, Shelby Foote convinced me, Probably an interview on C-SPAN, but maybe something he wrote, that Civil War is the least offensive, most neutral name we can use. All other appelations have a bias in one direction or the other.

Please excuse any spelling errors, can't figure out how to use the spell checker on this board, but Grant Could'nt spell either.

Dennis Conklin



 Posted: Tue Jul 17th, 2007 02:54 pm
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calcav
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In my line of work I am occasionaly confronted by visitors who indignantly point out that our sign out front is wrong. "It was not a Civil War" I am told and we should fix the sign. I smile and nod noncomittaly. The Park Service has a Visitors' Bill of Rights and a few of those rights are; Visitors have the right to retain and express their own values and to be treated with courtesy and consideration. So with that in mind I never challenge anyone when they say that it was the War of Northern Aggresion and we are located within an occupied country. Now if said person asks me if I agree it should be called anything but the Civil War I have a little story for them. I tell them that I had only one Southern relative that fought in the war; General John Brown Gordon (okay, so maybe I'm stretching it a bit but we are both from the same Clan Gordon of Scotland) who was chosen by General Robert E. Lee to surrender the Army of Northern Virginia in the formal surrender ceremony at Appomatox. After the war General Gordon wrote his memoirs which he titled "Reminiscences of the Civil War". If John B. Gordon called it a Civil War, who am I to argue with him?

Tom



 Posted: Tue Jul 17th, 2007 02:54 pm
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David White
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64th:

I hear that all the time from the Neo-Confederates, "who like to say all we wanted to be was left alone."  However, the dictionary says a Civil War is a fight between two factions in the same country, nothing about control of the government.  Civil War should work for everyone.



 Posted: Tue Jul 17th, 2007 03:40 pm
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PvtClewell
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Ding! Ding! Ding! Jackpot. Now we're rollin'. Thanks for contributing, guys. Hope we get more.

I think David nailed this one. In my view, the Confederacy was never a de facto, internationally recognized government beyond its own eyes, so to me the dictionary definition of 'civil war' applies — a fight between two factions in the same country.

64th: Our roundtable had the opportunity to hear Shelby Foote speak a few years ago at Lenoir-Rhyne College in Hickory, N.C. He was absolutely spellbinding. His accent was delicious, like melting chocolate slowly wrapped around every deliberate word he spoke. It was the fastest 90 minutes of my life.



 Posted: Tue Jul 17th, 2007 03:47 pm
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ole
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Well that made me dust off my dictionary. Doggone if it doesn't say exactly what David said it does. Strictly speaking, 64th is also correct--different factions in the same country usually fight over control.

The "late unpleasantness" is too cumbersome. I'll stick with CW -- y'all know what war I'm talking about, even if it is technically a misnomer.

ole



 Posted: Wed Jul 18th, 2007 12:13 am
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CleburneFan
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From a grammatical standpoint the expression "War Between the States" bothers me.  Written that way, it means a war between two states. It should be  the "War Among the States" because so many states were involved. Even some states such as Tennessee and North Carolina had both areas of Unionists as well as areas of Confederate loyalty within the same state. Florida send regiments to both the Union side and the Confederate side.

In such states, one could almost call it the War Within the States. But we really don't need my suggestions for additional variations on the name of the "War of 1861 to 1865. "

For myself I prefer the Civil War because it is simple and easy to remember. But if one thinks about it, many other wars in history have commonly used names that could be argued do not truly reflect the facts of the situation or the combatants.

 

 

 

Last edited on Wed Jul 18th, 2007 12:14 am by CleburneFan



 Posted: Wed Jul 18th, 2007 12:26 am
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javal1
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Well, I have no doubt that the Civil War is here to stay by that name. I think if for some reason we had to come up with a new name, which was both non-insulting to either side and accurate, I guess I would suggest "The War of Secession". Don't know that that would P.O. either side....



 Posted: Wed Jul 18th, 2007 12:48 am
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CleburneFan
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javal1 wrote: Well, I have no doubt that the Civil War is here to stay by that name. I think if for some reason we had to come up with a new name, which was both non-insulting to either side and accurate, I guess I would suggest "The War of Secession". Don't know that that would P.O. either side....
I like your name, "War of Secession". It certainly is as good or better than many other variations of the War That Lasted from 1861 to 1865.



 Posted: Wed Jul 18th, 2007 01:06 am
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ole
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I'll declare grammitical war. I'll give Fan that it implies a war between two states. But the obverse -- war among the states -- is off the wall. Between the states may also impy lots of states, with some on one side and some on the other. Therefore, it can be grammatically correct, if not exactly precise.

:shock:So shoot me. It was an idle thought in an idle moment.

ole



 Posted: Wed Jul 18th, 2007 01:07 am
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PvtClewell
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Javal1wrote:
"Well, I have no doubt that the Civil War is here to stay by that name. I think if for some reason we had to come up with a new name, which was both non-insulting to either side and accurate, I guess I would suggest "The War of Secession". Don't know that that would P.O. either side...."

Lawyers could find a way to get you P.O'd. Just wait until somebody files a lawsuit and you have to call this 'The War for Secession Interactive Discussion Board.'

Last edited on Wed Jul 18th, 2007 01:10 am by PvtClewell



 Posted: Wed Jul 18th, 2007 01:10 am
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ole
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Nah. "War of Secession" just doesn't have that zing. How about "The War Secessionists Started"? Or the "War to Kick Secessionist Butt"? They don't have that zing either, but are certain to PO someone.

ole



 Posted: Wed Jul 18th, 2007 01:14 am
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PvtClewell
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Good Lord, Ole, I'm rolling on the floor laughing and I can't get up.

Yeah, that's my next T-shirt: 'The War to Kick Seccesionist Butt Institute.'



 Posted: Wed Jul 18th, 2007 01:33 am
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ole
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Glad you liked that, General. I seem to be in a peckish mood this evening and feel the need to twit something.

ole



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