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Did "northern aggression" ever go away? Earlier this year, a friend of mine got way-laid into "conversation" at a B&B breakfast table (in southern Virginia, actually -- they were following a bluegrass trail) with a gentleman using that exact phrase. Out of the blue on a complete stranger, who certainly hadn't brought up the subject of politics!

I do whole-heartedly support all efforts to reduce red vs. blue state bickering, though. I personally blame Karl Rove for a lot of it, and if he drops off the national stage after his protege GW leaves office (with no direct successor in sight), maybe things will improve!


You know, I grew up in Reston and always thought of the North as "us" and the South as "them," instinctively. I assumed the Mason-Dixon was somewhere around Manassas. And living in the Pacific Northwest, I say I'm from DC too; culturally, it's closer to the truth than saying I'm from Virginia. I don't hate southern VA; I went to school in Williamsburg and loved it in a lot of ways. But at W&M, the history prof who taught the Civil War class did in fact refer to it as the War of Northern Aggression. And there are a lot of people down there who are still kind of fighting that war. Plenty of "Lee surrendered, I didn't" bumper stickers. So, I just don't think of myself as being from "Virginia," really.


I moved to Virginia in 1998. I lived in S.W. Virginia for seven years then relocated to Alexandria in 2005. I am originally from Arizona. I have never thought of VA as a Southern state.

The whole Civil War obsession is over my head. While we discussed it in Arizona, it really isn't an "all consuming" aspect of identity/history like it is in North Carolina etc. I remember during the year I lived in NC a women who was like a 10th generation NC-er called me a "Yankee". It completely blew my mind. I said, "oh I am from Arizona and we weren't a state until 1912." With all seriousness she said, "Yea, well you woulda swung that way!" The whole exchange was/is just absurd to me.

To upset Southerners when they bring up the Civil War now I always ask the to clarify which one, just to make sure we aren't discussing the Spanish Civil War etc.


I dated a fellow from Virginia. In his family the Civil War was always called "the recent unpleasantness" which sounds better than "northern aggression" until you realize . . . uh, recent?

He had been living up Nawth for a number of years, and told me that when "The Civil War" premiered on PBS and everyone was watching it, he was fascinated by his Philadelphian co-workers' reaction, which was basically: "I didn't know that about a) Stonewall Jackson b) The Battle of Bull Run c) McClellan d) insert kewl factoid here!" Whereas he knew every single general, battle and battalion gambit because 1776-1865 (with a special emphasis on the last four years of that period) was the sum total of the American History curriculum in Virginia public schools during the 60's and 70's. He said, "I couldn't figure out why they weren't taught every detail about Antietam and Manassas, and they couldn't figure out how I graduated high school without a clue as to who led the troops up San Juan Hill."


Shortrock, your beau's history education mirrored mine. I am convinced that the reason I got a 4 when I took the AP American History test was because our history lessons more or less stopped right around the Industrial Revolution*. We had an essay question on the AP test on "the civil rights movement" and I was like, "Do they mean tthe Civil Rights Act of 1875? Because that's all I know."

On the other hand, I do know me some American history from 1607 to 1877.

* To be fair, we did spend a riveting three weeks covering World Wars I and II. Compare that to the three months we spent on the Civil War.

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