Friday, January 04, 2013

How did the American South feel about losing the Civil War?

The second son asked me: "How did the American South feel about losing the Civil War?".

My first thought was that the South was deeply unhappy, but I immediately realized that wasn't true:

The 1860 Census and Slavery in the United States | Suite101

... Deep South states held the most slaves and this is where most of the larger plantations existed. Mississippi’s slave population stood at 55% out of a total population of 791,305. South Carolina’s slave population represented 57% of the total population. These percentages decrease with upper South states like Virginia (31%), Tennessee (25%), and Kentucky (20%). Border States like Maryland accounted for the lowest numbers (13%)."...

So the correct answer is that most Mississippian's were relatively pleased, if not joyful, that the South lost the war. On the other hand, Kentuckians were mostly unhappy.

White southern abolitionists, aka "Scalawags", would also have had mixed feelings. I couldn't locate percentages, but based on studies of human response to external evils [2]I'd expect about 10% of Southern Civil War whites would be at least somewhat pleased that their society was coming to an end. If I add those numbers to black Southerners then the answer would be "mostly unhappy, but many pleased, especially in Mississippi and South Carolina".

Incidentally, when Americans equate "Scalawag" with German opponents to Naziism [1], we will know the Civil War is coming to its end.

[1] The analog is somewhat stretched, the Nazi response to opposition was far more lethal than the Southern suppression of abolitionism.
[2]  There are always about 10% of humans that seem to resist evil, even when it is a societal norm.

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