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What is the difference between a revolution and a civil war? - General Civil War Talk - Civil War Talk - Civil War Interactive Discussion Board
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 Posted: Tue Jan 4th, 2011 11:08 am
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williamjones
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I'm not talking about the difference between the american or french revolution and the civil war, just the difference between a revolution and a civil war in general.



 Posted: Tue Jan 4th, 2011 11:25 am
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Mark
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They are close enough to be virtually synonymous, but “revolution” generally gives the connotation of an upheaval and replacement of the existing order, whereas “civil war” does not. Many persons (esp. in the south) thought of the ACW as a second American Revolution. Hope that helps.

Mark



 Posted: Wed Jan 5th, 2011 12:42 am
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Albert Sailhorst
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Civil War-war between parties, factions or inhabitants of different regions within the same nation.

Revolution-an overthrow or repudiation or thoughrough replacement of an established government or political system by the people governed.

Last edited on Wed Jan 5th, 2011 12:45 am by Albert Sailhorst



 Posted: Wed Jan 5th, 2011 04:05 pm
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Old North State
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Examples:

The South tried to revolt (tried a revolution) against the Federal Government, but failed.

The people of the North, viewing the South as a dissident population within the country, successfully fought them in a Civil War --  the folks in the North  called it the War of the Rebellion.

What did the Southern terms for the war imply about its nature?  The War Between the States?  The War of Northern Aggression?  etc.



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 Posted: Wed Jan 5th, 2011 06:58 pm
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9Bama
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In broad terms, the definition depends on the winner.

had the ACW gone in favor of the south, the war waould have been the 2nd American revolution or the War for Southern Independence... much as the American Revolutionary war was not called a war of Rebellion or a Civil War, because the revolutionaries won.

cuba is a good example.. a Civil war, defined as two groups fighting for control of the government.... the revolutionaries were successful, so they call it the war of Revolution.

The ACW was not a civil war. The CSA was never fighting for control of the union government.



 Posted: Wed Jan 5th, 2011 08:19 pm
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Mark
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Bama, if not a "civil war," what word would you define the war? The most interesting one I've heard was an "insurgency," though I think that one falls short as well. Its an interesting question...

Mark



 Posted: Wed Jan 5th, 2011 09:08 pm
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Albert Sailhorst
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The definitions I used in my previous reply came from an on-line dictionary.....How would each defintinon be applicable to the conflict in question??



 Posted: Thu Jan 6th, 2011 07:57 am
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Cogswell Pepperbox
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At issue would be the legality of Secession. If it is agreed that the Southern Confederacy of States legally and properly seceded from the Federal Union of States, then the following conflict could not, by definition, be "civil war", a war fought between two factions of the same nation.

If it is not agreed that the Confederacy's secession was legal, then the Confederacy was not a legitimate, independent nation, and the member States were in rebellion.

I'm hard-pressed to see secession as revolution, since the political leaders and institutions of the Southern States were not over-turned; the elected representatives of the governed of the States proclaimed an alteration in the political ties with the other States, with the consent of the governed. There were two separate acts, the withdrawal from the Federal Union, and then the joining of the Southern Confederacy, both done by the Legislatures of the individual States after authorization by the citizens.

Although, from Fort Mason, Texas, in January of 1861, Col. Lee wrote to Rooney: "Secession is nothing but revolution."

{that quote in context}:
"Secession is nothing but revolution. The framers of our Constitution never exhausted so much labor, wisdom, and forbearance in its formation, and surrounded it with so many guards and securities, if it was intended to be broken by every member of the Confederacy at will. It was intended for “perpetual union,” so expressed in the preamble, and for the establishment of a government, not a compact, which can only be dissolved by revolution or the consent of all the people in convention assembled. It is idle to talk of secession."



 Posted: Thu Jan 6th, 2011 01:47 pm
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HankC
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'Revolution' implies tremendous and fundamental core change (the industrial revolution, the technological revolution, the american revolution, et al).

Civil War is politics by other means, typically by the overthrow of the current ruling class with a different ruling class.

Our civil war was certainly not a revolution. If anything the south wanted to *avoid* fundamental change. Given the chance, they'd as soon pass on the idustrial revolution.

Southern leaders wish to *remain* in power by violent means rather than bow to the power of population growth and the ballot box...


HankC



 Posted: Thu Jan 6th, 2011 04:39 pm
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Texas Defender
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  The : "American Civil War" was not a civil war in the true sense. In a typical civil war, you have two or more factions either attempting to maintain the existing government or replace it with a new one. The states that formed the Confederacy were not attempting to destroy or replace the US Government, only to leave it.

  With all due respect to the Lee quote from a previous poster, most southerners considered that the various states that created the US Government had done so by means of a compact or covenant which was the US Constitution. While the Articles of Confederation called the previous compact: "Perpetual," the ruling document, the Constitution, did not. The southerners considered the Union to be a good thing as long as it was mutually beneficial.

  The problem for the agrarian south was that the various sections of the country were becoming more and more different as time passed. The north was becoming more and more industrialized. Eighty percent of new immigration went to the north and southern interests, as they saw it, became more and more at risk.

  As southern political power declined, so did southerners' enthusiasm for remaining tied to a US Government that they considered had ceased to treat them fairly. So, eventually, they made the decision to end the connection, as they considered that they had the right to do.

  As for: "Southern leaders," they were in power in the south because of the ballot box, not in spite of it. As for using: "Violent means," the vast majority  preferred to avoid war rather than promote it. The Confederate Government would have preferred to compensate the US Government for federal property on its soil. Commissioners were sent to WDC to negotiate compensation, but they were rebuffed.

  It can be argued that some southerners acted stupidly in the various states by taking over federal property. Those actions were certainly not in the best interests of the new Confederacy. The result was disastrous for it in the end. But I would maintain that most: "Southern leaders" would have preferred to leave the US Government peacefully. They would have preferred, as Jefferson Davis said, to be "left alone."



 Posted: Thu Jan 6th, 2011 04:59 pm
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9Bama
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A question was asked about what the war shold have been called if not a civil war. The most descriptive term I have ever read or heard of is The War Between the States.
It is factual, descriptive, not politically charged, and not offensive to any group.

TD, I agree with most of what you say, however, it is fact that the telegram autnorizing Gen Beauregard to fire on Ft. Sumpter did without question come from the Confederate government. That act, more than any other, was responsible for the disaster that followed. We can only speculate what might have happened vis a vis the upper states seceeding, the calls for troops by Lincoln, buildup and finally a war more terrible than anyone contemplated.



 Posted: Thu Jan 6th, 2011 05:12 pm
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Texas Defender
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Bama-

  We're in agreement about the attack on Ft. Sumter. However, Beauregard also had the option of waiting out Major Anderson. Anderson even sent word to him that he would have to leave after April 15th. What would have happened if he had chosen that option is, of course, open to speculation.

 

 



 Posted: Fri Jan 7th, 2011 01:03 am
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Albert Sailhorst
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I think, perhaps the CW's definition is neither Civil War nor revolution, DEPENDING upon perspective. From the Confederate perspective, it was a war of independance (similar to the American Revolution, which was not meant to change the government in England at all....only to break from the government in England)....From the Federal perspective (notice, I didn't say "Northern") it was a war to maintain a cohesive nation.....



 Posted: Fri Jan 7th, 2011 01:35 pm
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HankC
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The South is certainly attempting to replace the current government with a new one.

I'm not sure it matters, in a civil war, that one wishes to replace 100% or 10% of the territory's government...



 Posted: Fri Jan 7th, 2011 04:40 pm
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Texas Defender
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Hank C-  Re: "The South IS certainly attempting to replace the current government with a new one."

  If you are referring to the 21st century rather than to the 19th with that statement, then my answer is:

  It seems that the southerners of 150 years ago outraged you by, according to you, not: "bowing to the ballot box." But now it seems that the southerners of today upset you by trying to use the ballot box to effect change.


  If you are referring to the 19th century and meant to say: "Was" rather than"Is," then my answer is:

  If the South had achieved its independence, the US Government would have continued to exist as before. All those states that were content to remain a part of it would have been free to do so. The southern states simply leaving the US would not have destroyed or replaced the US Government any more than the original 13 colonies leaving the British Empire destroyed or replaced the British Government.

  If the South had won the war, and instead of simply exercising sovereignty over its own territory, it then took over the US capitol and took control of the northern states, that would have constituted a destruction or replacement of the previous government.

Last edited on Fri Jan 7th, 2011 06:09 pm by Texas Defender



 Posted: Fri Jan 7th, 2011 08:44 pm
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9Bama
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Well said, TD....

Wish I had your ability to place a paragraph worth of ideas into a single sentence!



 Posted: Sat Jan 8th, 2011 03:22 pm
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HankC
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The southern secession leaders certainly are attempting to replace their national government in the winter of 1860-61.

Democracies respect the power of the ballot box. 

Not sure where the idea I am 'outraged' comes from, nor do I see any reference 'according to me' about "bowing to the ballot box".

 

HankC



 Posted: Sat Jan 8th, 2011 03:58 pm
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Texas Defender
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Hank C-

  As I have previously attempted to explain, the southern leaders sought to withdraw from a compact made with the other states and to revert to their previous status as they believed that they had the right to do. Withdrawing from the United States Government was not the same thing as destroying it as an entity.

  As for the United States Government, it is not a democracy. It is a representative republic, where certain checks and balances on the various branches of government have been put into place. The representatives chosen by the people of the southern states (by means of the ballot box) debated the question of secession and most favored that course.

  I do not think that the word: "Outraged" is too strong a word to characterize your apparent disdain for the southerners of that day. In addition, your statement that they weren't interested in: "Bowing" to the ballot box (Seen in your statement on 06 January above) is a position that I do not share. While many southerners, prominent and not, opposed the idea of secession, I think it safe to maintain that most southerners of that day were in favor of cutting their political ties to the United States Government.

Last edited on Sat Jan 8th, 2011 08:24 pm by Texas Defender



 Posted: Mon Jan 10th, 2011 01:32 am
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HankC
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Texas Defender wrote:  In addition, your statement that they weren't interested in: "Bowing" to the ballot box (Seen in your statement on 06 January above) is a position that I do not share. While many southerners, prominent and not, opposed the idea of secession, I think it safe to maintain that most southerners of that day were in favor of cutting their political ties to the United States Government.

Do you disagree that it is Lincoln's electoral victory ('at the ballot box') that leads to the secession of the first seven CSA states?

One could also propose that the 4-year Civil War leads to another 100-year civil war where one set of southerners attempts to secure their rights and another set tries to deny those rights.

The 2nd phase is closer to the definition of a true civil war: no battle lines, no armies, no rules...



 Posted: Mon Jan 10th, 2011 02:47 am
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Hank C-

  Of course the election of Abraham Lincoln led to the secession of the first seven states that then decided to form the CSA. What caused the election of Mr. Lincoln was the splitting of the Democrat party. This led to his election with less than 40% of the vote. That was the final proof in the minds of many southerners that it was no longer to their advantage to remain connected to the northern states.

  Your: "proposal" of the existence of a "100 year civil war" in the south presumably along racial lines seems to imply that all was sweetness and light between the various races and ethnic groups everywhere else. This was certainly not the case. I could point out many instances of racial and ethnic strife, including extreme violence, that took place in locations in the US far from the boundaries of the former CSA states in the decades following the war. So while your criticism of inequities that took place in southern states from 1865-1965 is fair, your apparent implication that such things didn't happen elsewhere is not. They were characteristic of the society as a whole.

Last edited on Mon Jan 10th, 2011 02:56 am by Texas Defender



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