(December 30, 2016) As I continue through the YouTube Civil War lectures posted by Columbia University’s Eric Foner I came to one in which Foner quotes another historian as essentially saying that Confederate supporters were wimps. Foner opines on the University of Virginia’s Armstead Robinson who Foner says was a “good historian”:
[Robinson] taught in the South [and gave lectures to] the [United] Daughters of the Confederacy…[In criticizing a Southern lack of will Robinson said,] ‘Giving up after four years? The American Revolution lasted eight years! How could you give up after four years? That’s ridiculous! What kind of war is that?
Once again Foner cites a statement that demeans Confederates but he omits facts that contradict the implications of the statement. As the table below indicates, he fails to mention that the number of American soldiers killed during the Revolutionary War was less than 1% of the white population. In contrast, the number of Confederate soldiers killed during the Civil War was 5.5% of the white population of the Confederacy. (By comparison, American deaths in World War II approximated 0.3% of the country’s population.)
Taken as a percent of the white population, Confederate Civil War deaths were six-times larger than American soldier deaths during the Revolutionary War even though the Civil War was only half as long. If the Southern loss ratio were applied to the present American population the number of killed soldiers would be over 17 million.