1839 Proposal: Rename the Country “United States of Appalachia”

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It’s hard to imagine the United States of America having any other official name, but if the country’s leading essayist of the mid-1800s had his way, the nation might very well have changed its name in 1839.

Writing an op-ed in The Knickerbocker, under the pseudonym “Geoffrey Crayon,” Washington Irving suggested:

“We have it in our power to furnish ourselves with such a national appellation from one of the grand and eternal features of our country; from that noble chain of mountains which formed its backbone, and ran through the ‘old confederacy,’ when it first declared our national independence: I allude to the Appalachian or Allegheny mountains. We might do this without any very inconvenient change in our present titles. We might still use the phrase ‘the United States,’ substituting Appalachia… in place of America.”

According to Irving, the title of Appalachian would still an­nounce us as Americans, but would specify us as citizens of the Great Republic, as opposed to our neighbors to the north or individuals from central America.

The great American diplomat went so far as to state that “even our old national cypher of U.S.A. might remain unaltered.”

Imagine that, growing up in the U-S-A… only the phrase meaning, “United States of Appalachia.”

Irving’s name altering idea never gained much traction and soon the nation found itself too gripped by the pressing slavery question to worry about something as trivial as a name.

Though the American essayist’s idea is now nothing more than a footnote in history, you have to admit that it’d be pretty cool to live in the “United States of Appalachia”.

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