Talk:American Civil War

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Former good article American Civil War was one of the Warfare good articles, but it has been removed from the list. There are suggestions below for improving the article to meet the good article criteria. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
Many of these questions arise frequently on the talk page concerning the American Civil War.

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Missing video game under "In works of culture and art"[edit]

I noticed a game I used to play back in the day which features the civil war is not listed in this article.

The game is called "North & South" from 1989 and the wikipedia artivcle for the game can be found here: — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:58, 17 March 2017 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 25 April 2017hi[edit] (talk) 17:59, 25 April 2017 (UTC)
Not done: no change specified ProgrammingGeek talktome 18:20, 25 April 2017 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 25 April 2017duhsnjka nzdnkcbhjfrueyoiqwuoijsnehwyfdiasuhjknrhfdkj,nhfrdbndmd[edit] (talk) 18:03, 25 April 2017 (UTC)
Not done: see above ProgrammingGeek talktome 18:20, 25 April 2017 (UTC)

Historical sequence[edit]

Historical sequence: The statement on the Emancipation Proclamation (Jan 1863) is before the statement about the 1862 Mississippi campaign. Eviloverlords.chiefminion (talk) 04:35, 2 May 2017 (UTC) Eviloverlords.chiefminion

Contradiction re: motivation of Northerners[edit]

In "Root Causes / Slavery," it is stated that "Union men mainly believed that the purpose of the war was to emancipate the slaves." This contradicts a point from later in the article, from "Emancipation / Slavery as a War Issue," in which it is argued that "To Northerners, in contrast, the motivation was primarily to preserve the Union, not to abolish slavery."

(I would personally argue that there is more evidence for the latter statement than the former.) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:57, 11 May 2017 (UTC)

Prior to 1863 there is certainly no reason to think that ending slavery was a major purpose of the war; it wasn't even stated Federal policy. After 1863, it became one of the Union war aims. What that means for ordinary soldiers' motivations, I have no idea. DMorpheus2 (talk) 11:42, 11 May 2017 (UTC)
I'm sure there are other sources, but if you have access to project Muse (if you don't, feel free to apply at WP:TWL), you can read chapter 3 of Ramold, Steven J. Across the Divide: Union Soldiers View the Northern Home Front. NYU Press, 2013., entitled “This Is an Abolition War” Soldiers, Civilians, and the Purpose of the War (p55-86). There, Ramold discusses the argument among soldiers over whether or not abolition was the purpose of the war as well as the growing sentiments in favor of freeing slaves as northern soldiers saw slavery first hand. Smmurphy(Talk) 14:41, 11 May 2017 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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the opening lead is now nearly useless[edit]

In my opinion the current lede tells us almost nothing about soldiers, battles , strategy, civilians or main goals or results. It's a disaster for anyone who wants to learn the main points in a few minutes. Rjensen (talk) 21:17, 14 May 2017 (UTC)

Okay, how about this Proposal A:

The American Civil War was fought in the United States from 1861 to 1865. The nationalists of the Union proclaimed loyalty to the U.S. Constitution. They faced secessionists of the Confederate States of America advocating states’ rights to perpetual slavery and its expansion in the Americas. After both sides raised conscription mass armies that contested almost half the continent, the Union won the war and abolished slavery in the bloodiest war of U.S. history.

TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 08:45, 16 May 2017 (UTC)
I don't think he was asking to change the lead sentence and I see no reason to. I took his comment as he wants a short synopsis of the war down lead : In 1861, Confederates . . . In the Eastern theater in 1861- 1862, General Mcellean . . in the Western theater General Grant. . . In 1863 . . . In 1864-65, Grant and Lee. . . . -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 23:29, 17 May 2017 (UTC)
No, the current lede, --- "The American Civil War was an internal conflict fought in the United States (U.S.) from 1861 to 1865. The Union (i.e., The United States) faced secessionists in eleven Southern states grouped together as the Confederate States of America. The Union won the war, which remains the bloodiest in U.S. history." --- is subject to RJensen's criticism that it "tells us almost nothing about soldiers, battles , strategy, civilians or main goals or results. It's a disaster for anyone who wants to learn the main points in a few minutes."
The Proposal A above meets each of the criticisms. The soldiers fought in conscript mass armies across continental expanses, civilians were fighting for expansion and perpetuation of slavery or loyalty to the U.S. Constitution, main goals and results included preservation of the Union and destruction of the slave power that could sustain a violent rebellion for four years in the bloodiest U.S. war. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 20:07, 22 May 2017 (UTC)
First, "the lede" is not the lede paragraph, the lede is the entire section. Second, he will just have to be more forthcoming, because I don't see what you claim to see, and that's not how I understand what he said. -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 00:03, 23 May 2017 (UTC)

Lincoln War casualty Cross in the infobox[edit]

Should Lincoln be considered a "casualty of war"? He was a civilian, he wasn't killed on a battlefield, and he wasn't killed by a soldier of the opposing side. He was assassinated. which wouldn't be considered a "casualty of war". Although Booth, the shooter, wasn't brought to justice, eight of his accomplices were convicted in court, which would lead me to assume that Lincoln was not just another war casualty, because soldiers who kill on the battlefield are not convicted of murder in a court.--JOJ Hutton 23:50, 18 May 2017 (UTC)

I'd say not. War has all sorts of repercussions, obviously, but one has to draw the line somewhere. That someone's death may be indirectly related to a war—and it definitely was an indirect connection here, since Lincoln was murdered in peacetime—doesn't make that person a war casualty. RivertorchFIREWATER 00:21, 19 May 2017 (UTC)
American Heritage Dictionary definition: "One who is injured, killed, captured, or missing in action through engagement with an enemy". Merriam-Webster says "a military person lost through death, wounds, injury, sickness, internment, or capture or through being missing in action". Webster's New World says: "a member of the armed forces who is lost to active service through being killed, wounded, captured, interned, sick, or missing". Random House (unabridged) says: "a member of the armed forces lost to service through death, wounds, sickness, capture, or because his or her whereabouts or condition cannot be determined". This last source also lists "any person, group, thing, etc., that is harmed or destroyed as a result of some act or event" as one of several definitions for the word, but that's not really what we mean when we say "casualty of war". RivertorchFIREWATER 00:30, 19 May 2017 (UTC)
Basing a discussion of this sort on principals or dictionary definitions could be considered OR, I'm not sure. Sources do talk about Lincoln as a casualty of war, for instance a google book search of "the last casualty of the Civil War" lincoln gives a number of results using that language. Interestingly, The Medical and Surgical History of the War of the Rebellion. (1861-1865.) Part I, Volume II. (1st Surgical volume) by U.S. Army Surgeon General's Office includes Lincoln's death in its count of war dead from gunshot wound to the back of the head and presents him as a case study on page 305. On the other hand, calling Lincoln "the last casualty of the Civil War" is meant to be emotionally evocative, and not to be technically true or untrue, so I'm not sure if that sentiment is strictly NPOV. In any case, my first thought is that he should be so considered. Smmurphy(Talk) 15:46, 19 May 2017 (UTC)
Umm, no. "Basing a discussion" on anything at all, including actual original research, cannot be considered original research; it's just basing a discussion. However, I didn't base the discussion on the dictionary definitions—I supplemented what I said in my earlier reply with the dictionary definitions, and they are perfectly relevant when weighing whether a given term is applicable in a certain context in an article. Now you've provided other relevant evidence that should also be considered. Let's consider them:
The Medical and Surgical History is, as its title suggests, about medicine and surgery, its primary audience presumably those working in those fields. It's interesting that its physician-authors (who one might suppose weren't necessarily dispassionate or disinterested) chose to include a discussion of Lincoln's wounds and the treatment that was attempted, but it's not surprising, since it was a particularly well-known, poignant case that occurred just after the war ended. I'm not clear that we should give much weight to their designating Lincoln a war casualty, although I think it deserves some weight.
I wouldn't necessarily give much credence to a Google Books search per se. A plethora of books about the war and about Lincoln exist—some old, some new, some carefully researched scholarly tomes, some popular page-turners. No doubt many historians do consider Lincoln's murder a casualty of the war in the broader sense, but one of the points I tried to make earlier is that that's not exactly the same as a war casualty strictly speaking. That's where the definitions I cited from the Random House come in handy. And that's what this question really turns on, I think. We, as editors, need to decide what we mean (i.e., what Wikipedia means) by "casualty of war" and then apply that to the article. Do we mean it in the narrower sense or in the broader sense? My instinct is to go with the former—the latter could be confusing to the casual reader, and it could prove to be a slippery slope—but I'm not sure. RivertorchFIREWATER 16:54, 19 May 2017 (UTC)
As to the statement 'calling Lincoln "the last casualty of the Civil War" is meant to be emotionally evocative, and not to be technically true or untrue, so I'm not sure if that sentiment is strictly NPOV' – I'd say that it certainly fails NPOV, since it's patently false, given that the Battle of Palmito Ranch occurred almost a month later. My view is that "casualty of war" does not apply to Lincoln's assassination. Mojoworker (talk) 05:55, 23 May 2017 (UTC)
Perhaps the main intention of the addition was to linkup Assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Should be linked somewhere in the article no?--Moxy (talk) 17:02, 19 May 2017 (UTC)