Naming the American Civil War

Naming The American Civil War

Naming the American Civil War

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The American Civil War has been known by a number of different names since it began in 1861. These names reflect the historical, political, and cultural sensitivities of different groups and regions.Political scientists use two criteria to define a civil war: (1) The warring groups must be from the same country and fighting for control of the political center, control over a separatist state or to force a major change in policy. (2) At least 1,000 people must have been killed in total, with at least 100 from each side. See Wong, Edward (November 26, 2006). The New York Times.

The most common name, particularly in modern American usage, is simply "the Civil War". Although not used during the war, the term "War Between the States" became widespread afterward in the Southern United States. During and immediately after the war, Northern forces often used the term "War of the Rebellion", while the Southern equivalent was "War for Southern Independence". The latter regained some currency in the late 20th century, but has again fallen out of use. Other terms often reflect a more explicitly partisan view of events, such as "War of Northern Aggression", used by some Southerners, or the "Freedom War", used by their black counterparts to reflect the celebratory nature of Juneteenth, which marked the end of the war.

A variety of names also exist for the forces on each side; the opposing forces named...
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