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May 26, 2010 12:00 PM   Subscribe

5 Lesser Known (Completely Ridiculous) American Civil Wars, via Cracked.

I'm not sure I agree that these were more ridiculous than the Civil War, but I hadn't known about most of these.
posted by Miko (45 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
When I first read this, I was surprised at how recent some of the altercations were, and it certainly was interesting to see how fractured our united states can be at times.

Sadly though, the Milwaukee Bridge Wars didn't make the list. Because that's a completely forgotten enmity that I'd like to rekindle...
posted by quin at 12:20 PM on May 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


Presuming these are factually accurate depictions, both informative and hilarious! Nice work. I wish there we had learned more of these kinds of stories in our history books.

What is it with Cracked.com these days, anyway? It's so much better than the old Mad magazine knock-off was.
posted by Xoebe at 12:22 PM on May 26, 2010 [4 favorites]


Sounds to me like the erosion of states' rights was a net positive.
posted by Caduceus at 12:32 PM on May 26, 2010 [4 favorites]


They were met by the, um, eclectic Iowa militia. According to one observer, they were, "...men armed with blunderbusses [basically antique shotguns], flintlocks, and quaint old ancestral swords that had probably adorned the walls for many generations. One private carried a plough coulter over his shoulder by means of a log chain, another had an old-fashioned sausage stuffer for a weapon, while a third shouldered a sheet iron sword about six feet long."

Yep, those are my people!
posted by Lutoslawski at 12:34 PM on May 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm still bitter about the results of the Toledo War.

The Battle of Blair Mountain could possibly be included here as well.
posted by drezdn at 12:35 PM on May 26, 2010


quin: "When I first read this, I was surprised at how recent some of the altercations were, and it certainly was interesting to see how fractured our united states can be at times."

Why do all the trees in Missouri lean North?

Because Iowa sucks!
posted by Science! at 12:38 PM on May 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Red River Bridge War is, I'm not kidding, part of the Oklahoma history curriculum.

And that tells you three things about Oklahoma:

1. There's not much history in Oklahoma
2. They are obsessed with Texas
3. All a politician has to do to be popular there is put on some anti-anyone dog-and-pony show and the rabble will eat it up.

Alfalfa Bill Murray was probably the most popular governor in Oklahoma history. He was also a racist who would later sympathize with the fascist movement. But in Oklahoma, they call that "colorful."
posted by dw at 12:43 PM on May 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


drezdn: "I'm still bitter about the results of the Toledo War."

We Toledoans like to joke that Ohio lost the war.
posted by charred husk at 12:43 PM on May 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Happened across that slab of wood in the middle of nowhere commemorating the Toledo War just last year (I'm a relatively new Ohioan).

I heard, actually, that there was one casualty in the war, and that it was a cow.
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 12:43 PM on May 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Houston Riot of 1917 wasn't exactly a civil war, but it was a pitched battle between black US soldiers and white Houston police.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:46 PM on May 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


They left out the Cola Wars.
posted by Ratio at 12:55 PM on May 26, 2010


A Michigan newspaper then welcomed them to enter the Toldeo Strip and find "hospitable graves" there.

Even though Toledo became part of Ohio, that offer pretty much still stands.


Also, how much cooler were threats back then? We used to be able to make threats like Soviet premiers or Mesopotamian dictators. Now it's all "kick ass" this and "blow your shit up" that.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:01 PM on May 26, 2010 [6 favorites]


I clicked on this article thinking it would be just another stupid list and a waste of time and I was wrong. This is the best thing I've read all day.
posted by Deflagro at 1:01 PM on May 26, 2010


Alfalfa Bill Murray was probably the most popular governor in Oklahoma history. He was also a racist who would later sympathize with the fascist movement. But in Oklahoma, they call that "colorful."

You guys really should have waited a few decades and tried to get regular Bill Murray--although perhaps his stances against ghosts, gophers and giant sharks would prove unpopular?
posted by arto at 1:02 PM on May 26, 2010


> I clicked on this article thinking it would be just another stupid list and a waste of time and I was wrong. This is the best thing I've read all day.

I love Cracked. Even my wife (who kind of hates the internet) likes Cracked, although the first time she read an article I had forwarded her she said "Geez, they're really obsessed with big balls, aren't they?"
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:06 PM on May 26, 2010


The Honey War (Iowa v. Missouri)

I'll be buried in the cold, cold ground before I recognize Missourah!
posted by Afroblanco at 1:08 PM on May 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


What is it with Cracked.com these days, anyway? It's so much better than the old Mad magazine knock-off was.

A couple of ownership changes, and ditching of the print magazine, have resulted in an imitator of lad mags like Maxim (Gawker says Spy, but that's a stretch) more than anything. The website is currently owned by Demand Media (eHow, etc.) and expressly hit-trolls.

I don't think it's better overall but the content model seems to have a few zingers every now and then.
posted by dhartung at 1:08 PM on May 26, 2010


It's still blocked at work as 'tasteless'
posted by dabug at 1:27 PM on May 26, 2010


the LDS church at the time was practicing polygamy, which was the gay marriage debate of the mid 19th century

Another short-lived aberration popular only with religious extremists?
posted by Phanx at 1:30 PM on May 26, 2010


Not really a violent war, but Wisconsin had the Oleo Wars.
posted by drezdn at 1:33 PM on May 26, 2010


What is it with Cracked.com these days, anyway?

I consistently read two sites every day; Metafilter is one, Cracked is the other, and to be honest, it takes considerable restraint on my part to not find an excuse to link to them weekly. There is a lot of really brilliant writing there hidden under the thin veneer of intentionally adolescent jokes.

I really hate to admit how often, while reading one of their comedy-focused articles, I come across some tidbit of real, valuable, information that I've never heard of before.
posted by quin at 1:43 PM on May 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


(Gawker says Spy, but that's a stretch)

That's too bad - I would be so happy to see a rebirth of Spy, even if it was called Cracked. I never really thought of it as a "lad magazine" - it was just a sharp, funny, critical magazine.

I was surprised to see this in Cracked, too. I didn't even know there was such a site; I got this from a fellow history geek.
posted by Miko at 2:01 PM on May 26, 2010


I agree with quin. Cracked has some quality articles, if you can get past the way it's presented. (The Maxim comparison is unfair, because Cracked actually contains genuinely witty writing from time to time.)

And their photoshop contests are capable of bringing the funny, too:
23 Movie Plots That Could Have Been Solved in Minutes
posted by Atom Eyes at 2:29 PM on May 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


During the drought in 2008, Georgia tried to change that border with North Carolina (and Tennessee) once again.
posted by whimsicalnymph at 2:34 PM on May 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm just stuck imagining a world where the Miley Cyrus / Radiohead mashup is real.
posted by klausman at 2:42 PM on May 26, 2010


The Utah War, mentioned here, is a pretty fascinating story. One thing many people don't know (in addition to the fact that there was a Utah War at all!) is that the conflict resulted in the first-ever scientific survey of the Grand Canyon region. Lt. Joseph Christmas Ives was ordered in 1857 to lead a steamboat expedition up the Colorado to assess the practicability of delivering troops and supplies from the south, and geologist John Strong Newberry tagged along all the way to the expedition's end, at the mouth of what they called the "Big Cañon."

My favorite civil conflict in American history, though, is Shays' Rebellion, which sparked up not long after the Revolution. You can still visit the Horse Caves, where rebels hid from the Massachusetts state militia, along Mt. Norwottuck near Amherst.

Thanks for the post!
posted by cirripede at 2:54 PM on May 26, 2010


So we Missourians had to let Iowa keep those northernmost lands?

I'd say we won!
posted by sourwookie at 3:02 PM on May 26, 2010


Yeah, Michiganders are still kind of pissed about this. (I don't know how the Yoopers feel... my guess is that they'd rather still be attached to Wisconsin...)
posted by tivalasvegas at 3:33 PM on May 26, 2010


It's not exactly state v. state, but the Whiskey Rebellion involved 500 armed Pennsylvanians attacking federal agents over an excise tax on booze.

Given that this seems to have encouraged the location of stills beyond federal control, i.e. the hills of Tennessee and Kentucky, it's likely that this little to-do is at least partly responsible for the development of bourbon, for which we should all be eternally grateful.
posted by valkyryn at 3:36 PM on May 26, 2010


So we Missourians had to let Iowa keep those northernmost lands?

I'd say we won!


Dude! WTF are you talking about? Have you ever seen the cultural treasure that is Keokuk? Yeah, we got that one, bitches.
posted by Lutoslawski at 3:50 PM on May 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


tivalasvegas: "Yeah, Michiganders are still kind of pissed about this. (I don't know how the Yoopers feel... my guess is that they'd rather still be attached to Wisconsin...)"

You guys der can keep da Yoopers, eh?
And dat t'irty point buck while yer at it, and so.
posted by symbioid at 4:03 PM on May 26, 2010


Shit, I fucked up...
"Youse guys der can keep da Yoopers.."

Also, I was gonna bring up the Milwaukee Bridge wars (just learned about it the past year, myself), and nice to see quin mention it first thing in the thread.
posted by symbioid at 4:05 PM on May 26, 2010


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wedge_%28border%29

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twelve-Mile_Circle

posted by gjc at 5:09 PM on May 26, 2010


Well now I am offended. While I am always glad to see the first real US Civil War, the Honey War, get some press, that account was pure balderdash. Yeah sure Cracked is a humor magazine and not exactly the bastion of informed journalism, but quoting directly from Wikipedia? Come on, that is just pure laziness. And oh the "humor," hyuk hyuk, them Iowanians showed up to battle with a blunderbuss, a rusty sword, and a sausage grinder. Yeah right, do they expect me to believe that Iowans hunted for game with a blunderbuss?
No, the real tale is quite different. Missouri commissioned a survey of their northern border, the surveyor made an error on the landmark defining the northeast corner of their state, which lead Missouri to believe that a chunk of Iowa was now in Missouri. This was serious business to Iowans because Iowa was a free, mostly abolitionist state and Missouri allowed slavery. It was serious business to Missouri because they thought they had a large new piece of territory, and would impose their state taxes on the residents. After Missouri's attempts to collect taxes inside Iowa were rebuffed by local armed Iowans, the Missouri militia was dispatched to the border to back up the tax collectors. Iowans going to Missouri for routine business encountered the militia and were detained as spies or had their goods confiscated. So Iowa dispatched its own militia to the border. Yes, they had real guns. So did the Missouri militia.
So after the incident when the Missouri tax agent cut down the Iowan honey trees as tax collection, things got tense. The Iowans taunted the Missourians across the real border and dared them to cross it and get the crap kicked out of them. But the Missouri militia, having been dispatched well before the Iowans arrived, were running low on supplies. When a resupply shipment arrived carrying barrels of whisky, the Missourians all got drunk and drifted away from the battle lines, going home with big hangovers. When the Iowa Militia sent a delegation to Missouri to demand their surrender, it was discovered that there were no remaining Missouri militia forces. Iowa won by default. Eventually, Congress endorsed the original border of Iowa, not the erroneous Missouri surveyor's border, and the matter was settled permanently. And Missouri got what it deserved: a nasty taunting, a humiliating surrender, and a bad hangover, plus a rebuke from Congress.
posted by charlie don't surf at 5:18 PM on May 26, 2010 [9 favorites]


Why do all the trees in Missouri lean North?

Because Iowa sucks!


If you cut off the bottom row of Iowa counties and gave them to Missouri, the average IQ of both states would go up.
posted by DU at 6:54 PM on May 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


Don't forget the New York-New Jersey Line War (admittedly, it occurred under the English, but still . . . WAR! NEW YAWK! NEW JOISIE! FIGHT! FIGHT!)
posted by KingEdRa at 8:36 PM on May 26, 2010


Eventually, Congress endorsed the original border of Iowa, not the erroneous Missouri surveyor's border, and the matter was settled permanently. And Missouri got what it deserved: a nasty taunting, a humiliating surrender, and a bad hangover, plus a rebuke from Congress.

Go Hawks!
posted by dirigibleman at 9:27 PM on May 26, 2010


Don't forget the New York-New Jersey Line War

I'm not sure this one's over. We still get into it over the Statue of Liberty.
posted by Miko at 5:59 AM on May 27, 2010


NEW JOISIE!

Nobody from Jersey pronounces it that way. I've been fighting that ridiculousness for nearly 30 years now.
posted by grubi at 7:12 AM on May 27, 2010


grubi: "NEW JOISIE!

Nobody from Jersey pronounces it that way. I've been fighting that ridiculousness for nearly 30 years now.
"

Ah, but y'all have that spray on tan and spiked hair douchebag guido look, amirite?
posted by symbioid at 7:55 AM on May 27, 2010


"Joisie"? No way.

It's Jherzee.
posted by The Whelk at 9:22 AM on May 27, 2010


I grew up in New Jersey. People always double-take when I say that, and tell me "You don't sound like you're from New Jersey!" My response: this is what people from New Jersey sound like.
posted by Miko at 9:30 AM on May 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


THIS IS WHAT A JERSEITE LOOKS LIKE!


YEA KINDA LIKE KEVIN SMITH.
posted by The Whelk at 9:38 AM on May 27, 2010


If you cut off the bottom row of Iowa counties and gave them to Missouri, the average IQ of both states would go up.

This seriously sent me ROTFL.
posted by Lutoslawski at 10:25 AM on May 27, 2010


DU and Lutoslawski, I believe that's the Will Rogers Phenomenon.

And Science!, growing up in Michigan, one of my high school teachers (a huge Michigan State fan) once told us of the following (apocryphal>) exchange between an MSU fan and an OSU fan:

"Why is it when you cross the border from Michigan to Ohio, all the trees lean south? Because Ohio sucks."
"Oh really? I thought it was because Michigan blows."
posted by dhens at 9:01 PM on May 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


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