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Was it called "United States" ONLY AFTER the civil war? What was it called before it?

10 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    ~The Constitution was implemented in March, 1789. At that time, the United States of America was born.

    The Second Continental Congress purported to act on behalf of 13 states united for a common goal. The Declaration of Independence was a nice piece of political propaganda (even if, as the authors themselves freely admitted, it contained no new, unique or novel ideas). The Articles of Confederation had no force of law, either. Bear in mind that only 1/3 of the colonists ever wanted independence from Great Britain.

    However, those documents did not magically transform British colonies into sovereign nations. Neither did the Lee Resolution, by which independence was actually 'declared' on July 2, 1776. By the Treaty of Paris, 1783, independence was granted by the British and 13 new independent nation-states were created in North America. Under the Articles of Confederation, which, by virtue of the grant of independence from the British and by recognition of sovereignty by the rest of the world for the first time, those states allied into a confederation but each state retained its sovereign independence. By its terms, the Articles of Confederation recognized the independent sovereignty of each of the 13 participant member "states" (ie: nations). Each of the 13 was independent, but subject to central control on those limited issues authority over which they had delegated to the 'federal' government.

    The founders thought they retained that independence under the Constitution (read the debates on secession from the Philadelphia (Constitutional) Convention and read what Article IV, sections 3 and 4 as well as Amendments IX and X were intended to mean and pay particular attention to what the delegates said of each state's autonomy and independence). It took the secessions of 1860/61 - which were not prohibited, and thus were permitted, by the Constitution - and the invasion by the USA of the CSA to answer the question of state autonomy, independence and sovereignty. The question could have been answered in 1803 when the New England States threatened to secede, or in 1812/1814 when the New England states once again threatened to secede. No one challenged their right to do it then. When South Carolina threatened to secede in 1837 (over tariff laws and other state's rights issues, not slavery - the same reasons for which SC finally did secede in 1860) Andy Jackson threatened to send in federal troops. South Carolina backed down and the question was held in abeyance for another 23 years.

    After the War for Southern Independence, it was pretty much established that the united states were no longer a conglomeration of states united, but were a single entity known as the United States of America and the ideals and plans of the founding fathers for the creation of the confederation of independent states that they intended establish was put to rest once and for all.

    It has never been called "The United States". It has been called the United States of America since the nation was created in 1789.

  • 1 decade ago

    This country was always called the United States of America, starting probably when we declared independence on July 2, 1776.

    The difference is that before the Civil War we tended to use it in the plural: "The United States are a great country", rather than in the singular: "The United States is a great country". That is, before we emphasized the individual states (which are really provinces, not independent states), but after that we emphasized the country as a whole, and its central government.

  • BigRed
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    The Declaration of Independence referred to "the thirteen united States of America". This appears to be a description of the signatories to the Declaration of Independence rather than the name of a country.

    The Articles of Confederation, the precursor to the Constitution, was drafted in 1777. Article 1 of the Articles of Confederation actually decrees the name of the confederation as "The United States of America."

    The phrase "United States" was treated as a plural noun prior to the Civil War. The implication is that the United States consisted of independent states that were united for various common purposes.

    Following the Civil War, "United States" was treated as a singular noun. One of the results of the war was the notion that individual states had the right to secede had been rejected, establishing that the United States was in fact a single country.

  • Randy
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    It is defined in the Constitution as "The United States" within the title so it has been the name since 1787.

    Prior to the Constitution there was the Articles of Confederation. In paragraph 2 of these document it states in part, " . . . . Whereas the delegates of the United States of America in Congress assembled. . . . . " which has a date of 1778.

    However there was a change relative to the Civil war, prior to the ratification of the Constitution as well as post ratification, common parlance used the term as "these" United States. With the end of the Civil war that chanced to "the" United States.

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  • PDY
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    It was called the United States from the start but we only took the name seriously after the Civil War

  • Nohj
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    It was always the United States. The Confederate States of America broke away from the United States of America.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    The United States of America. The name was always taken seriously.

  • 1 decade ago

    Leon is correct. People tend to consider themselves citizens of their state then of the country before the Civil War. 'I'm a Virginian and an American." became "I'm an American and a Virginian."

  • 1 decade ago

    before the United States they were colonies of Great Britain.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    It has been so called since at least the Declaration of Independence in 1776.

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