29 January 2014

Calling The "Civil War" Speech Police

*Update: I got Kevin Levin's attention, but I'm confused. If Kevin didn't think the issue of "Civil War" vs. "War Between the States" was, as he states, "a big issue", then why did he bring it up in the first place? I didn't make an issue out of it, he did. So now he projects that on me:

Kevin was surprised that a "scholarly book . . . referred to the war as the War Between the States" and he's also surprised by what I "uncovered" related to the widespread use of that term. What I uncovered was the fact that lots of scholars, scholarly websites and publications use the term, "War Between the States." I was surprised that Kevin was surprised, but maybe I shouldn't have been. Sounds like Kevin needs to broaden his horizons a bit. ☺ In doing so, he'll find a lot more surprises lurking in Civil War, War Between the States War For Southern Independence historiography. Kevin's surprise reminded me of a Bill Buckley quote. Just substitute "academics" or "professional historians" for "liberals":

Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views. ~ William F. Buckley Jr.
But there's more. In regards to the original post below, Kevin further claims that "The only problem is that Professor Sinisi is neither a War for Southern Independence historian . . ." Kevin makes this claim despite the fact that Sinisi authored a Civil War (sorry) related book which was published by a university press. Moreover, he co-edited another work related to the War Between the States (oops) War For Southern Independence which was also published by a university press. Kevin then opines that "I hope Richard gets the full story from Prof. Sinisi at the upcoming conference at Liberty University."

Actually, I don't think I'm the one missing the full story - whether it's the issue of the "War Between the States" or Professor Sinisi.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go straighten my bent shape.

End of update.

I had previously posted about the rather strange (if not downright silly), criticism over the use of the term "War Between the States" in lieu of the "Civil War." In that post, I made the following observation:

However if one truly wants to make such a big deal out of what we call the armed conflict which occurred in America from 1861 to 1865 , and if its historical accuracy and honesty that one truly seeks, then I think Douglas Southall Freeman is, perhaps, the truest to historical accuracy in coining the proper term. Author and fellow Virginian, David Johnson, discusses this topic in his wonderful biography of Freeman:
Freeman preferred the term "War Between the States" to "Civil War," although his preference was based on custom rather than logic. "I never had any objection to the term 'Civil War,'" he wrote, "nor, for that matter, after I got of age, did I have any complaint because the Federals called us 'rebels." If the name was a proper one, our fathers certainly dignified it." If pushed for a term, he believed "the War for Southern Independence" to be "the wisest and soundest name" because that was "precisely what the conflict was." (Page 305.)
So, with that in mind, I recently came across this:


Horror of horrors. Quick, someone call the Civil War Speech Police. By the way, I believe Professor Sinisi will be speaking at Liberty University's Civil War Seminar this spring - assuming he's not been jailed for violating some PC speech code.


Anonymous said...

Just before the War, there were numerous references to the South's fear of slave "rebellions" and insurrections. At that time, did some feel that it was the "War of the federally financed slave Rebellion?" Consider the following correspondence between Confederate officials:

November 30, 1862.
BEAUREGARD...: The question as to the slaves taken in Federal uniform and with arms in their hands.. has been considered... Slaves in flagrant rebellion are subject to death by the laws of every slave-holding State...
[signed] SEDDON, Secretary of War.

Official Army Records, Series II, Vol. 4, p. 954

Chaps said...

The Congressional Record of March 2, 1928, reports Senate Joint Resolution Number 41 wherein Congress recognized the title "War Between the States" as proper.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

The "scholars" that reject it do so solely because they view it as a Southern name - the crowd Bob Krick refers to as "anti-Confederate" historians. Also, they fear their peers might think it uncool.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

I suspect (but don't know), that Professor Sinisi's term is as much a tongue-in-cheek poke at certain folks as it is anything. Most people (on either side of this) but who don't have a hard agenda, don't make a big issue of it. The ones who insist on ANY term are driven by their agenda. That's rather obvious.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Anon - I'm sure many did. That was the state of affairs at the time. Nothing shocking about that.