Some Obvious Interpretations of the American Language

I was 20 years old when I realized that a quart is named as it is because it is a quarter of a gallon.  I had known since grade school that there were four quarts in a gallon, but I had just never made the connection.  Similarly, I realized just recently, at the age of 26, that we have States in the US and they have Provinces in Canada for a reason.  It had not occurred to me that we still refer to them as States today because the founders of our federal government considered the States to be sovereign entities.  The federal government was established as a peaceful agreement between these sovereigns to promote their general prosperity and provide for a common defense.  This all seems fairly obvious in hindsight, and maybe it was to all of you reading this.  But it has always been difficult for me to look beyond the historical framework in which we live, where the federal government is seen as the ultimate ruling power of the nation with the final say in whether we go to war, who pays what tax and what actions are legal and which are against the law.  Maybe, in spite of all the clear language in the constitution and other documents of the time period, I never recognized the origin of our reference to States because in today's world they are more accurately described as provinces of the Federal government.

Similarly, I never paused to consider why the States of the "rebellion", who seceded from the Union leading up to the war between the States, referred to themselves as a "confederacy".  Ostensibly, this is a manifestation of their disdain for a strong central government and their struggle to free themselves from one them as their fathers had.  This leads me to my final epiphany that the difference between a "rebellion" and a "revolution" is whether or not you win.
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