Terminology: "Border Ruffians" and "Pro-Slavery"

Started by Ashley Odell on Friday, November 18, 2011


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11/18/2011 at 4:09 PM

The terms that are usually used for the anti-abolition Missouri contingent are "Border Ruffians" and "pro-slavery." I realize there are both inherently charged terms, so I am wondering if anyone knows which terms descendants might prefer. The term "states' rights" doesn't really come around until the Civil War and probably doesn't accurately reflect the situation anyway, so I don't think that makes for a good replacement for "pro-slavery."

I don't think we can avoid "Border Ruffians" since that is /the/ term that's always used and it's what sources will use, including period sources, but if we could avoid "pro-slavery," that might be best. Any suggestions?

(And yes, I realize I am talking to myself at this point in the project. :))

11/18/2011 at 4:40 PM

Bushwhackers? Or maybe that's dated. That's what my grade school text book called them ;)

See also: http://www.laetusinpraesens.org/musings/bushwack.php

11/18/2011 at 5:38 PM

Hey! Someone else to talk to! :)

That page has me all confused. It's saying "Border Ruffians" are for belligerents on both sides. I thought that "Bushwhacker" referred more to the Civil War and to any Confederate guerrillas from the South, and that "Border Ruffian" was Bleeding Kansas-specific. So I guess I have more reading to do on this than I thought!

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