With the Sesquicentennial of the epic war of American history winding down, many may think this War no longer particularly relevant and we can move on to more current concerns. Such an attitude, which I dare say prevails among most Americans, Southerners included, ignores the watershed importance of the War known by any number of names, the “Civil War,” the War Between the States, the War for Southern Independence, the Confederate War, the War of Northern Aggression, Lincoln’s War, the War Against Southern Independence, and by other names.
The Northern victory fundamentally changed the United States in myriad ways. It changed the U. S. from a voluntary Union of self-governing States into a Union of force and coercion, in which States which no longer desired to be a part of the Union were coerced by the bloodiest war of American history back into a Union fundamentally changed in its character, from a Union in which most governmental functions were performed by the States and the local communities which made up the States, confident in their powers to do so without interference from the central, federal government, to a “consolidated” government in which the central federal government potentially reigns supreme in all phases of governance, with its ability to vitally affect every resident of the U. S. in every phase of their lives.
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