5 Capitalization

5.4 Institutions, organizations, and movements

Capitalize the names of institutions, organizations, societies, movements, and groups:

the World Bank

the British Museum

the State Department

the House of Lords

Ford Motor Company

the United Nations

the Crown

War On Want

the Beatles

Generic terms are capitalized in the names of cultural movements and schools derived from proper names:

the Oxford Movement

the Ashcan School

Notice that the word the is not capitalized.

The tendency otherwise is to use lower case unless it is important to distinguish a specific from a general meaning. Compare, for example:

the Confederacy (the secessionist side in the American Civil War)
confederacy (as in ‘a federation of states’)
Romantic (nineteenth-century movement in the arts)
romantic (as in ‘given to romance’)

Certain disciplines and specialist contexts may require different treatment. Classicists, for example, will often capitalize Classical to define, say, sculpture in the fifth century bc as opposed to that of the Hellenistic era; editors should not institute this independently if an author has chosen not to do so.


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