Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Bob Bradley Provides Names for The American War to the Dragoons Camp

Bob Bradley, Chief Curator at the Alabama State Archives addressed the Prattville Dragoons at their May camp meeting with his speech "Name for the American War". Those today who truly care about the name for the American War of 1861-1865 prefer the term War Between the States as opposed to the Civil War.  This debate as to what to call the War surfaced around the turn of the 19th-20th century.  Merton Coulter (Professor at University of Georgia) traced the geneology of the debate for the name of the War around 1952. Prior to the War, Southerners referred to the possibility of a Civil War in the event the Republican nominee Lincoln was elected. Immediately after the breakup of the Democratic Convention led by William Loundes Wancey, the rumor of a possible Civil War was highlighted.  Accounts of the firing on Ft.Sumter referred to the event leading to a Civil War.  But, as the War progressed, the term Civil War was rejected by the South, first in 1864 by the Richmond Examiner, instead referring to The War.  South Carolina Governor Pickens referred to a War of the Sections. The New Orleans Picayune referred to the War for Independence.  General Longstreet on Lee's staff referred to the Civil War in wartime correspondence and General Nathan Bedford Forrest in his farewell address to his troops referred to "a Civil War you have just endured." Just after the War was made the first reference to The War Between the States. After the U.S. government published the volumes "The War of the Rebellion" in the 1880s, a concerted resistance to this and inaccurate, inappropriate reference was mounted by the United Confederate Veterans and the United Daughters of the Confederacy.  In 1889 the UDC demanded by proclamation that the War be termed the War Between the States and in 1914 they introduced federal legislation to have the War officially recognized as the War Between the States but it never progressed past committee. Additional names for the War Between the States included War for Seperation, Confederate War for Independence, War for Secession, 2nd War for American Independence, War of Northern Aggression, War of the Sections, Mr.Lincoln's War, War for Southern Independence and, the quite accurate, War for Constitutional Liberty as well as many more.

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