The Civil War is the common American term for the conflict dividing the United States of America into the Union (the North) and the Confederate States of America (the South), springing primarily from longstanding issues over slavery and its advancement into new territories. Also known as the War Between the States, the Civil War lasted from 1861 to 1864, during the presidency of Abraham Lincoln. Other prominent Civil War figures include Ulysses S. Grant, Robert E. Lee, and Harriet Tubman.
The end of the Civil War was marked by the defeat and surrender of the Confederacy, and permanently altered American life: slavery was abolished and the stage was set for changes in civil rights (which would take decades), but elements of the divisional differences and loyalties continue to linger (in public monuments, iconography of the Confederate flag, and in popular culture). Subsequent artistic works have often romanticized the Civil War, such as in Gone with the Wind, while the novel The Red Badge of Courage took a more realistic approach to the fears and dangers of the battlefield.
Over the years, the Muppets have periodically invoked Civil War imagery, figures, or events. In keeping with a common comedy trope, exaggerated Southern characters are apt to express loyalty to the Confederacy or scorn towards the North.
- On The Jimmy Dean Show, host Jimmy Dean's Southern roots led to jokes such as Rowlf blowing "Dixie" on a trumpet in Jimmy's ear (causing Jimmy to salute in his sleep) in the February 18, 1965 broadcast. In the April 15 broadcast the same year, Jimmy plays his backwoods cousin Calvin, who has a Confederate nickel.
- The Southern Colonel fit the stereotype of the old South adherent, going to Yankee Stadium for a 1966 Southern Bread spot and enjoying the "Let's murder the Yankees!" fan cheers.
- The Sesame Street 1976 Calendar, with an American history theme, notes several Civil War-related events and dates, including the end of the war and the births of Ulysses S. Grant and Confederate president Jefferson Davis.
- In The Muppet Movie, at the Bogen County Fair (which features several American flags and red, white, and blue decorations), a passerby is holding a Confederate flag.
- In episode 401 of The Muppet Show, the song number "Why Can't We Be Friends?" anachronistically mixes a range of fighters from different nations and wars, including Union soldiers.
- In episode 503 of The Muppet Show, Joan Baez sings "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down," which is a lament by a Confederate soldier in the final days of the Civil War.
- In episode 521 of The Muppet Show, when country radio station WHOG broadcasts from the Muppet Theater, the main stage is decorated with a Confederate flag.
- The 1988 die-cast Muppet Movie Minis figure set, while spoofing Gone with the Wind with most characters (and behind the scenes crew for others), Fozzie Bear is cast as General "Wocka Wocka" Jackson, referencing Stonewall Jackson (and not actually appearing in the source movie).
- The Sesame Street song "Danger's No Stranger" features the lyric "Don't mention Sherman in Savannah," referencing General Sherman's razing of the city in his march to the sea.
- In the second season Dog City episode "Much Ado About Mad Dog," Colonel Claghound lends Artie Springer his great granddaddy's Civil War hat, worn during the Battle of Bulldog Run (referencing Bull Run).
- The 1997 coloring book Great Muppets in American History depicts Andy and Randy Pig as Generals Grunt and Lee during the (un)Civil War.
- The 2006 book Before You Leap has Kermit the Frog discussing his ancestor Robert E. Flea, who might have ended the Civil War had he not been trampled at the Battle of Bull Run (by a bull).
- In a 2011 appearance on The SiriusXM Hits 1 Morning Mash Up, Fozzie says his relative A. Bearham Lincoln was President of the United States during the Civil War.
- In the 2015 pilot presentation for The Muppets, Miss Piggy and Topher Grace star in a Civil War movie as a field nurse from Atlanta and Confederate soldier, respectively. Stirring music, a tattered Confederate flag, the smoke of battle, and the body of a Union soldier add realism, undermined by Piggy's decision to use a French accent.