To be clear this is not meant as flame bait. This is a genuine discussion on the technicalities of views and how that relates to looking back now. This came up in a discussion about Confederate graves. Someone made that the comment that they were Americans too and should be honored. To be clear I believe they should indeed be honored and are indeed Americans (5 of my ancestors served in the Confederacy and one died, though no record of his death exists and I know of no grave unfortunately), moving beyond that this is actually a more complicated question that I find is interesting, others may know more about contemporary beliefs too. Some thoughts 1) American is meant to refer to Citizens of the United States of America... This is the context the term is used in and not a more literal term for anyone living in America (North or South). This is not also meant as potential shorthand for citizens of the Confederacy, but as American as in the modern US. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/American I'm only referring to #3 "a citizen of the U.S." 2) If you don't recognize secession then they clearly died as rebelling Americans. 3) If you don't recognize secession but recognize they are people who foreswore their citizenship, does this then make them not Americans? 3) If you recognize secession then they died as citizens of the Confederate States of America and aren't "Americans" from that perspective. Additionally they deliberately died to no longer be an American. Is then calling them an American an insult or ironic contradiction from a contemporary perspective? Again this is meant to be real discussion, not grounds for arguing whether Confederates should or shouldn't be honored... This is about the interesting technicalities. I am also curious if people know contemporary views and statements to shed some light on this. I am admittedly naive of how the Confederates specifically viewed leaving the US and being American. I know many viewed themselves as "true" Americans, with the rest of the Nation breaking away from the intention of the Constitution (no this thread is not intended to debate this either way), though they also clearly formed themselves as the Confederate States of America and using "American" as a term for US Citizens they seemingly clearly swore off that? I find this a fascinating intersection of modern and old... where we know they were all folded back into the US (and legally never left), though these people died trying to break away, is it ironic at all to call them "American" despite that?