What did your family call The War?

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Texas Johnny

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Growing up in the South, the war was always referred to as the War Between the States at home and at school, never the Civil War. I first heard the term Civil War as a kid during the Civil War Centennial. My favorite description of the war was from the 1960s TV show, The Beverly Hillbillies, when the character Granny referred to the war as, "When the North invaded America!"
 

byron ed

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The victors are allowed to call it what they want since the question of the right of secession was settled by force of arms...That is the verdict of history...
So many times we've heard this, perhaps around 1995 or so the first time for most of us. It sounded about right, even clever. But by now, shoot, hindsight and thinking has gotten in the way.

The Confederates were definitely not the victors in the ACW, yet Confederate apologists have been allowed to "call it" a moral victory for decades. We're just not a fascist country that disallows dissension. Apologist thinking had darn near revived the Confederacy, intact with slavery, by a couple decades after the war. Two decades more and apologist thinking was darn near the prevailing attitude of a fifth of all whites in America South and North. The Lost Cause had virtually founded itself on "calling it," not asking to be allowed.

In any event there never was a verdict issued on who's allowed to "call it" or not regarding the Civil War. The South has had its textbooks and the North has had its texbooks.

But think about this: Anymore the big cities of the South are no more "Southern" in attitude than the big cities of the North, or Amsterdam, Netherlands for that matter (we know this is so, don't even go there). And we know that anything can be reliably fact-checked in short order. So nobody's allowed to "call it" anymore, if they ever were.
 
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R Black

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My family settled in Hawkins & Grainger County TN before the American Revolution. The were part of the Over the Mountain Men that turned the tide against Ferguson at the Battle of Kings Mountain. By the time of the Civil War we had been in TN for one-hundred years. My family called The Civil War the "Beginning of our Exodus".

Being from East Tennessee Confederates were not welcome back home after the war. Largely because of the exploits of Parson/Gov. Brownlow. So the exodus as I understand it was TN to MO, MO to GA, GA to TX. The dustbowl sent the family west again TX to AZ and AZ to CA.

It wasn't until 1982 (I was 18), my mother found a reunion of our relatives that stayed in TN (for us it was brother against brother). There an elderly man tells a story of the two brothers that fought against each other in the Civil War and how one never returned. He then pointed to my mother and I and he said, "After 117 years, our family has finally come home"!

There were tears and hugs and I then went about my life and never saw anyone again. I have since tried filling in all the gaps. After 154 since the Beginning of our Exodus I am in California and seriously thinking of continuing our exodus...but I'm running out of places to runaway to!
 
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Growing up in the South, the war was always referred to as the War Between the States at home and at school, never the Civil War. I first heard the term Civil War as a kid during the Civil War Centennial. My favorite description of the war was from the 1960s TV show, The Beverly Hillbillies, when the character Granny referred to the war as, "When the North invaded America!"
:bounce:
That was one the funniest shows from the 1960's.

When Granny thought General Grant was invading Beverly Hills is a classic episode.

beverly hillbillies general grant
 
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RoadDog

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My family is from North Carolina. My grandparents referred to it as either the War Between the States or, my grandfather on my mother's side called it the War of Northern Aggression.

My wife is from Chicago, and he just called her **** Yankee. She thought that was funny.

Ha Ha. RoadDog
 

A. Roy

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I was born here in Raleigh, N.C., in 1951, and grew up here. When I was in 7th grade in 1963, our social studies program was North Carolina history, which included study of the Civil War. My 8th-grade teacher was a Civil War buff, so she also covered the topic. I remember my teachers pretty consistently using the term "Civil War."

However, I just took a look at the textbook we used in 7th-grade NC History, and this is the opening page for the chapter on the Civil War:

IMG_20191121_101613.jpg


This text was written by Hugh T. Lefler, UNC history professor, and I had forgotten about his use of this term. To be fair, in the first paragraph he does admit that the war can be called the "Civil War" or "War Between the States," but it's interesting that he seems to prefer "War for Southern Independence."

Here are shots of the book's cover and front matter:

IMG_20191121_101647.jpg



IMG_20191121_101741.jpg


You weren't going to tease me about still having a copy of my 7th grade history textbook from 1963, were you? You wouldn't do that!

Roy B. -- 21 Nov. 2019
 
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JKT

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When I was a child and someone said The War I knew they meant the Civil War. Every other conflict was named but that was simply The War. Because my Southern family lived in the North we jokingly called it the War of Northern Aggression to Yankee friends but never among ourselves. At school of course we said the Civil War. My favorite term though was the one my great-great-grandmother was said to have used - the late unpleasantness.

So, I'm curious - what terms were used in your family? Were they different for different generations?
I had heard that the “Great Unpleasantness” had been coined by the matrons of Charleston as the great understatement reference to the War. I also vaguely remember ? in the ‘60’s in the South, a matched set of license plates: one shows a crisp Union officer , clean uniform weighted down with medals & campaign ribbons, tentatively saying “..let us forget?”. The other image shows a reb in a worn & torn shredded gray/butternut outfit, dirty beard & sooted face, saying “..forget?..Hell!”
 

Zella

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Ahah! So there's an actual word for it? I had no idea. Thanks for expanding my vocabulary! :D
Sorry, Laura, I just saw this!

But yes it's a fun word! :D

I have read some (what I consider) reasonable speculation that the issue of rhotic versus non-rhotic is rooted in settlement patterns. Places with more of an English influence in the culture have the non-rhotic accents (like the Tidewater) and those with more of a Scotch-Irish or rhotic English influence (Appalachia) are rhotic.

I also read an article that claimed the same was true for New England, but I cannot find that source anymore, and I don't know enough about variations of New England accents to know if it is true.

Anyway, that's my dorky moment for the day. :bounce:
 
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It was never mentioned in my recollections of my family. I guess they may have been too busy in their present lives raising kids
and putting bread on the table.
That makes sense, if your family was also living New York back then.

The North never experienced the ravages of that War.

Putting "bread on the table" may have been hard for them as well, but that was nothing compared to Southern families.
Even many Southern families that supported the Union lost everything during that War.

Just saying.
 

lupaglupa

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I also read an article that claimed the same was true for New England, but I cannot find that source anymore, and I don't know enough about variations of New England accents to know if it is true.
The classic Boston accent is markedly non-rhotic (think of the satire line I pahk my cah in Hahvahd yahd). Some of the New York City accents are too.
 
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Zella

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The classic Boston accent is markedly non-rhotic (think of the satire line I pahk my cah in Hahvahd yahd). Some of the New York City accents are too.
Indeed! But I've heard some of the New England accents are in fact rhotic, but I have no clue if that is true.
 

1mommimi

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i always thought it meant planes were going to blow us up , i think i was 10
 

Artim

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When I was a child and someone said The War I knew they meant the Civil War. Every other conflict was named but that was simply The War. Because my Southern family lived in the North we jokingly called it the War of Northern Aggression to Yankee friends but never among ourselves. At school of course we said the Civil War. My favorite term though was the one my great-great-grandmother was said to have used - the late unpleasantness.

So, I'm curious - what terms were used in your family? Were they different for different generations?
By definition TWBTS was, wrongly, termed a civil war. This was, as my family termed it, a war of secession. The term civil war was used, as well as rebel, to vilify the south. Thereby salving the northern conscience, if they have one. Make no mistake it was the north that was in rebellion of the Constitution and abolition was the excuse for robbery, rape and murder.
 
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thomas aagaard

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By definition TWBTS was, wrongly, termed a civil war. This was, as my family termed it, a war of secession. The term civil war was used, as well as rebel, to vilify the south. Thereby salving the northern conscience, if they have one. Make no mistake it was the north that was in rebellion of the Constitution and abolition was the excuse for robbery, rape and murder.
Hogwash. Go somewhere else if you are only interested in lost cause mythology.
 
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