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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The American Revolution vs. The Civil War

I enjoy chatting history with fellow history buffs. I'm a total geek about things of the past—and not afraid to admit it!

So when engaging in conversation with a customer at a recent Barnes & Noble book signing, I inwardly shuddered while smiling on the outside. The gentleman referred to the topic of my American Revolutionary novel as being from "the Civil War."

After gently reminding the man that Fields of the Fatherless was a story from the Revolutionary War, I was once again reminded of how often two very important wars in our nation are confused.

I once saw a reviewer of my novel—the one from my book-signing—write that it was a novel about the Civil War. This reviewer had gone so far as to describe the clearly-designated British soldier as "A Confederate soldier."

Wow. Perhaps we could all use a brief history lesson...

The American Revolution was the war that changed Colonial America into the United States of America. It was fought between the American colonists against Great Britain, the mother nation.

It began in 1775 and lasted eight years. The signing of the Declaration of Independence, for which we celebrate the 4th of July and the birth of our nation, occurred in 1776. So 2014 celebrates our 238th Birthday.

George Washington became the 1st president of the United States, starting after the first election in 1789.

The Civil War started on April 12, 1861 and was fought between the Northern states and the Southern states of this country. It ended when General Robert E. Lee surrendered the last Confederate (Southern) Army to General Ulysses S. Grant on April 9, 1865 (although the last battle was actually fought in Texas on May 13, 1865).

The core conflict was the issue of slavery and states rights.

The war took place during the presidency of Abraham Lincoln, the nation’s 16th president.

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As you can see from this extremely brief history lesson, the wars occurred in completely different centuries and had conflicts born of varying concerns.

As a writer of historical fiction set in the American Revolution, I hope that my work brings to light the issues that led to the birth of the United States. And as a believer in freedom wrought with such difficulty by so many, I pray that our liberty continues to ring as we hold to the Christian principles that were so evident in the founding of this nation.

May your Christmas be blessed!

(Photos Courtesy of Thomas Deitner)

Elaine Marie Cooper is the author of Fields of the Fatherless, as well as the newly-released, Bethany's Calendar, a memoir of her daughter.


  1. What's equally, perhaps more, distressing to me is asking who won each war. Feel like slapping them and asking - do we have a President or a Queen? LOL!

    1. LOL, Tammy! I understand your frustration! I do admit to some white knuckles... ;) The thing is, these wars deeply impacted us all. We need to honor our heritage by being informed, and not spending our time immersed in frivolity.

  2. Great post, Elaine! I can't count the times I've run into that sort of confusion as well.

    1. It still amazes me, Shannon, although I suppose I should be used to it by now. The basics should be simple enough to understand. :( Thanks for coming by!


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