During the American Civil War, the Union was a name used to refer to the federal government of the United States, which was supported by the twenty-three states which were not part of the secession attempt by the 11 states that formed the Confederacy. Although the Union states included the Western states of California, Oregon, and (after 1864) Nevada, as well as states generally considered to be part of the Midwest, the Union has been also often loosely referred to as "the North", both then and now.


Because the term had been used prior to the war to refer to the entire United States, using it to apply to the non-secessionist side carried a connotation of legitimacy as the continuation of the pre-existing political entity. Also, in the public dialogue of the United States, new states are "admitted to the Union," and the President's annual address to Congress and to the people is referred to as the "State of the Union Address".

During the American Civil War, those loyal to the federal government and opposed to secession living in the border states and Confederate states were termed Unionists. Confederate soldiers sometimes styled them "Homemade Yankees." However, Southern Unionists were not necessarily northern sympathizers and many of them – although opposing secession – supported the Confederacy once it was a fact.

Still, nearly 120,000 Southern Unionists served in the Union Army during the Civil War, and every Southern state, except South Carolina, raised Unionist regiments. Southern Unionists were extensively used as anti-guerrilla forces and as occupation troops in areas of the Confederacy occupied by the Union. Since the Civil War, the term "Northern" has been a widely used synonym for the Union side of the conflict. Union is usually used in contexts where "United States" might be confusing, "Federal" obscure, or "Yankee" dated or derogatory.

The Union was a heavily industrialized economy, unlike the south, who was more into agriculture.

Union states[]

The Union states were:

   * California
   * Connecticut
   * Delaware*
   * Illinois
   * Indiana

   * Iowa
   * Kansas
   * Kentucky*
   * Maine
   * Maryland*

   * Massachusetts
   * Michigan
   * Minnesota
   * Missouri*
   * Nevada

   * New Hampshire
   * New Jersey
   * New York
   * Ohio
   * Oregon

   * Pennsylvania
   * Rhode Island
   * Vermont
   * West Virginia*
   * Wisconsin
  • Border states: In Kentucky and Missouri, pro-secession factions declared for the South and those states were claimed by the Confederacy, but had both Union and Confederate state governments claiming power.