Naming the American Civil War

by Scott Manning on November 4, 2013

The following was inspired by Jamel Ostwald’s question on who gets to name wars. Here are some battles with competing names from the Civil War. Using Google’s Ngram Viewer, we can get an idea of how often these phrases appear in books over the past 150 years.

Antietam is a clear favorite over Sharpsburg.

However, Bull Run and Manassas have been hotly contested over the years.

Then there is naming the war. Here, I had to use “American Civil War,” as “Civil War” would return too many unrelated results. The “War of the Rebellion” had its run, but lost out to the American Civil War. The War Between the States made a run at it too, but has dramatically died out.


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