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When Did We Start Calling It the Civil War?

A survey of selected names for the conflict in America between 1861 and 1865 on reveals nomenclature changes over time. During the war and into the latter part of the 19th century, Frederick Douglass’ “Slaveholders’ Rebellion,” and “War of the Rebellion,” were popular with the Northern press. By the turn of the century, “War Between the States” trended in the Southern newspapers and “Civil War” in the North. Through the 20th century until today, other names ebb and flow in popularity.

Slaveholders’ Rebellion

War of the Rebellion

War Between the States

Civil War

Confederate War

War for the Union

War for Southern Independence

Brothers’ War

War of the Sections

Second American Revolution

War of Southern Aggression

War of Northern Aggression

Sources:; Foster, Gaines M.,“What’s Not in a Name: The Naming of the American Civil War,” Journal of the Civil War Era (September 2018).

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