Is there an "official name" for the Civil War?

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CSA Today

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The most accurate name probably would be "The War of Northern Aggression," but to those who are less informed that will seem as ludicrous as calling it "Treason in Defense of Slavery" or "Slavery Slavery Slavery Slavery" would to any educated person who is being honest.

Despite being just as inaccurate, the term "Civil War" and variations thereof (American Civil War, United States Civil War) are certainly the most common and instantly recognizable names, but I know better and have largely removed it's use from my vocabulary when discussing the conflict.

I personally prefer "The War Between the States," as it is both reasonably accurate and palatable to most folks on all sides, and I almost never call it anything else.
The War Between the States is popular in the South, my only problem with that usage is that it might, like The Civil War, imply in some minds that it was a war between states in the old union.
 
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Skip Magyar

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As someone from Britain I have heard it called the US Civil War before. (Probably to differentiate it from all the other Civil War's. But you are also correct that I cannot recall someone from the US calling it that).

As a result it is probably not so much a 'political correctness' thing but a facet of wikitree being international.

[Also be aware this is a contentious subject you are bringing up as some people have very firm opinions on what it should be named.

Thanks for your response. I have an off topic question that perhaps you can help me with. My 5th great-grandfather, Joseph Lashley, and his brother came to America in 1755 as British foot soldiers. They served under Gen. Edward Braddock in his military expedition which attempted to capture the French Fort Duquesne (modern-day downtown Pittsburgh) during the French and Indian War.
Joseph stayed in America while his brother returned to England.
I'm trying to find the Regiment they served in and any records that might still exist. I vaguely recall seeing a reference to the 43rd or 44th Foot but I could be wrong. Can you point me in the direction of any sources that might help?
Thanks and I hope this doesn't break some rule. I'm still new here.
Skip
 

CSA Today

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First Big European Bar Brawl might be better as the entire world wasn't at war...…..

My favorite of all time is the War of the Roses...….I always envision two groups of 60"s hippie flower children facing off with peace and love chants...…...
I read somewhere that after the Battle of Towton in 1461, the ground was so covered with white fledged arrows that they resembled fields of white flowers sticking in the snow-covered field. The white rose Yorkists won the battle so I reckon it was an apt description.
 
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Pat Answer

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Isn’t that the name of a strategy game? I haven’t played but I hear it’s fun!
I haven't played it either but yes it is. There is also now "The US Civil War" as of 2015. As "The Civil War", "The American Civil War", "War Between the States", and even "The Late Unpleasantness" have been taken, I imagine game designers are running out of titles...
 

Joshism

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The most accurate name probably would be "The War of Northern Aggression," but to those who are less informed that will seem as ludicrous as calling it "Treason in Defense of Slavery" or "Slavery Slavery Slavery Slavery" would to any educated person who is being honest.
Given that no respectable scholar uses the term "War of Northern Aggression" just who do you consider well informed?

Also, a number of threads on this forum will demonstrate clearly the term was popularized single-handedly by Southerners in the 1950s in opposition to Civil Rights.
 

Rusk County Avengers

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As far as official names, "The War of the Rebellion" is probably closest to officialdom, but probably the least used. Any good a proper name for any war, anywhere is a name that aptly describes what happened, and the "War of the Rebellion" is a good descriptive term to Americans on the war. But while I use the **** out of the terms, "American Civil War" or the "Civil War" if we get down to it, that's not the best of names for it either, as a civil war is a war between two or more factions for control of a single country, and what we had in the 1860's wasn't that at all, it was one section trying to break away from the rest of the country. A good comparison for what happened to other events would be that the war has more in common with the Bosnia, and Croatia breaking away from Yugoslavia, than say the Spanish Civil War, or Russian Civil War for that matter.

I think the most accurate terms for what happened is "War for Southern Independence" and a term brought about by a certain series of alternate history novels into more common knowledge is the term "War of Secession". "War Between the States" is a horrible term, and "The War of Northern Aggression" is a likewise abysmal term for what happened.

I know some will disagree with me, (I think I know who would be first), but I have no interest in an argument. Also I don't think for a minute "Civil War" will be going out of style as the main term anytime soon.
 
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GwilymT

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The War of the Rebellion is the most accurate name. At the end of the day, the Confederate enterprise was nothing more than a failed rebellion against the government of the United States. No such country as “The Confederate States of America” was ever recognized outside of the area which the rebels controlled. While certainly larger in scope and territory, the rebellion of the southern states was not legally nor materially different than the Whiskey Rebellion or Shay’s Rebellion. In all cases rebels proclaimed themselves in charge, took territory, fought the government, and lost. No matter how much some of those among us may wish things were different, that fact remains.

It is also a fact that in its official correspondence, both during and for several years after the war, the government referred to it as the War of the Rebellion. This should cement the issue as to what is the “official” name, if any.
 

GwilymT

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The most accurate name probably would be "The War of Northern Aggression," but to those who are less informed that will seem as ludicrous as calling it "Treason in Defense of Slavery" or "Slavery Slavery Slavery Slavery" would to any educated person who is being honest.

Despite being just as inaccurate, the term "Civil War" and variations thereof (American Civil War, United States Civil War) are certainly the most common and instantly recognizable names, but I know better and have largely removed it's use from my vocabulary when discussing the conflict.

I personally prefer "The War Between the States," as it is both reasonably accurate and palatable to most folks on all sides, and I almost never call it anything else.
Wow... you said slavery almost as many times as Mississippi’s Declaration of Causes...:rofl:
 

cash

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Neither Chile nor Uruguay incorporate the word, "America" in the name of their country. Mexico has, as in their name, the United States of Mexico, employed the word Mexico in theirs, hence Mexican for things and people of that country. The USA does employ the name, America, as part of the official name of the country, hence the legitimate use of the term, "American" for people and things from the USA. I think the term, American Civil War, is pretty much widely understood outside of the USA as the one between the Union and the Confederacy between 1861 and 1865 and no other one.
Back to basic geography with you. Uruguay and Chile are in South America, making them American countries. Mexico is an American country as well.
 
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kevikens

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Back to basic geography with you. Uruguay and Chile are in South America, making them American countries. Mexico is an American country as well.
They are "American" in the geographic sense in the same way that Tunisia and Kenya are African countries and China and Japan are Asian countries. The USA has incorporated the name, America, as part of its official name and in that meaning it is American in the political sense as well as the geographic sense of the word. The American dollar, American passports, American citizenship, the American Civil War, the American Revolution, the American consulate. All are commonly understood to be those of the USA, not those of any other country of the Western Hemisphere.
 

cash

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They are "American" in the geographic sense in the same way that Tunisia and Kenya are African countries and China and Japan are Asian countries.
And when someone talks about "the Asian Civil War," which war do they mean?



The USA has incorporated the name, America, as part of its official name and in that meaning it is American in the political sense as well as the geographic sense of the word. The American dollar, American passports, American citizenship, the American Civil War, the American Revolution, the American consulate. All are commonly understood to be those of the USA, not those of any other country of the Western Hemisphere.
Commonly understood here. A database that seeks to have worldwide applicability would see it differently.
 
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JAGwinn

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  • Iran crisis of 1946, 1945–1946.
  • Greek Civil War, 1946–1949.
  • Paraguayan Civil War, 1947.
  • Romanian anti-communist resistance movement, 1947–1962.
  • Civil War in Mandatory Palestine, 1947–1948.
  • Costa Rican Civil War, 1948.
  • Yeosu–Suncheon rebellion, 1948.
  • Jeju uprising, 1948.
I can see where United States would be used to differentiate location. American could be understood as Central, North or South America.
However, Wikipedia refers to it as American Civil War.
 

Joshism

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NPS refers to it as The Civil War.

Of course, NPS is itself a regionally-biased name. The National Park Service is the official name, not the United States National Park Service or the American National Park Service.

But if was looking at a database on a genealogy website for past NPS employees I would expect to find it listed as something like "United States, National Parks Employees" to keep it in the same formatting as other US databases and because other countries have National Parks too.
 
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JonnyReb_In_MI

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Given that no respectable scholar uses the term "War of Northern Aggression" just who do you consider well informed?
I think you misunderstand, so I will rephrase... While it is completely accurate to call it 'The War of Northern Aggression' (or even 'The War for Southern Subjugation'), I don't use that term, nor do I expect others (including those I would consider "respectable scholars") to do so, because the less-informed general public will roll their eyes at it, just as any person who is both well educated on the subject and being honest would roll their eyes at the use of the terms "Treason in Defense of Slavery" or "Slavery Slavery Slavery Slavery."

As for who I consider to be well-informed... I would say that there are too many to name, and that list would include many on this forum who would usually disagree with me. As for who is being honest about what they know or understands the wealth of information they know... that would be another question, and probably for another topic.

Also, a number of threads on this forum will demonstrate clearly the term was popularized single-handedly by Southerners in the 1950s in opposition to Civil Rights.
Whether or not that is true (and it may or may not be), it doesn't matter a lick to me. The term "The War of Northern Aggression" is accurate regardless of it's origin.
 

Andersonh1

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But while I use the **** out of the terms, "American Civil War" or the "Civil War" if we get down to it, that's not the best of names for it either, as a civil war is a war between two or more factions for control of a single country, and what we had in the 1860's wasn't that at all, it was one section trying to break away from the rest of the country.
Exactly. Which is one reason I favor "the War for Southern Independence". It's more accurate than "Civil War", even if it doesn't encapsulate every aspect of the war.
 
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CSA Today

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I think you misunderstand, so I will rephrase... While it is completely accurate to call it 'The War of Northern Aggression' (or even 'The War for Southern Subjugation'), I don't use that term, nor do I expect others (including those I would consider "respectable scholars") to do so, because the less-informed general public will roll their eyes at it, just as any person who is both well educated on the subject and being honest would roll their eyes at the use of the terms "Treason in Defense of Slavery" or "Slavery Slavery Slavery Slavery."

As for who I consider to be well-informed... I would say that there are too many to name, and that list would include many on this forum who would usually disagree with me. As for who is being honest about what they know or understands the wealth of information they know... that would be another question, and probably for another topic.



Whether or not that is true (and it may or may not be), it doesn't matter a lick to me. The term "The War of Northern Aggression" is accurate regardless of it's origin.
Southern perspectives of the war wasn't that of Northerners so it should be understood what to call it differed.
 
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