by NJ Rebel

We Are Not the Same Country…

In 1860, this could be seen to be true for both the North and the South as tensions escalated and War seemed increasingly real. However, on a deeper level, the United States of America of today is also not the same United States of America as it was 141 years ago.

Let me illustrate this difference in a simple yet profound way.

Every person who joins the military today (as well as law enforcement) swears an oath to defend and protect the Constitution of the United States. The Presidents of the United States also do the same when they are sworn in for their terms. However, the oath given today is not the same oath as given prior to the Civil War (and even during the Civil War) to enlisted men or non-commissioned officers. I quote the following from a reprint of the 1855 "Hardee's Rifle and Light Infantry Tactics" published by The Drummer Boy in Milford, Pa. which also has the Articles of War.

"I, (A.B.), do solemnly swear or affirm (as the case may be) that I will bear true allegiance to the United States of America, and that I will serve them honestly and faithfully against all their enemies or opposers whatsoever; and observe and obey the orders of the President of the United States, and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to the Rules and Articles for the government of the armies of the United States." (Author's italics)

It should be immediately apparent to all there is a sea change in the wording about one's service to the United States of America as understood today. The United States of America today is thought of and accepted as a single entity. One-hundred-and-forty years ago that was not the case (as the above Oath clearly demonstrates).

I return to my earlier comment. We are indeed not the same country we were back in the middle years of the Nineteenth Century. In addition, the North and the South are now much more homogenous. The differences back then, slavery aside, were profound: language, mannerisms, political philosophy, etc.

The United States that emerged from the Civil War truly exploded in terms of technological achievement and progress. The manufacturing base of the North truly benefited from the War and helped propel the country to where, just more than thirty years later, the United States could fight a war against Spain at various parts around the globe and win.



© 2002
Editors Note: Mr. Mayers is a feature writer on the US-Civilwar.com writers staff. He can be contacted at njrebel@us-civilwar.net