Sunday marks anniversary of 1866 amendment to change nation’s name

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It wasn’t the most important legislation of 1866, but it certainly would have been a big change.

Sunday, Feb. 5 marks the anniversary of a constitutional amendment proposed by Northeast Missouri Congressman George Washington Anderson of Louisiana. He wanted to drop “United States” from the country’s name and simply call it “America.”

The concept came less than a year after the end of the Civil War. While there was peace, many states were far from united.

Considered a brilliant lawyer, Anderson was a one-time slave owner who was born in the South but fought for the North during the war. His proposal died almost immediately, but it certainly created intrigue.

Four months later, the 14th Amendment defining citizenship, due process and equal protection was introduced.

Anderson was re-elected in a highly-contested race later that year, but he left Congress in 1869. He would live to see at least three more attempts to legally change the nation’s name.

The ideas were “The United Republic of America,” “The New States of America” and “The United States of the World.”

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