Should shortened generic forms of proper nouns be capitalized?
Note: This post relates to content in the eighth edition of the MLA Handbook. For up-to-date guidance, see the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook.
In general, lowercase generic forms of proper nouns:
the United States Army, the army
President Kennedy, the president
the Brooklyn Bridge, the bridge
Housatonic River, the river
But, as The Chicago Manual of Style notes, capitalize generic terms if necessary for clarity (“Wars”):
the French Revolution, the Revolution of 1789, the Revolution, the revolution of 1848
“Wars and Revolutions.” The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th ed., sec. 8.113, U of Chicago P, 2017, www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/book/ed17/part2/