Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
×
Home

Wealth, Slaveownership, and Fighting for the Confederacy: An Empirical Study of the American Civil War

  • ANDREW B. HALL (a1), CONNOR HUFF (a2) and SHIRO KURIWAKI (a2)

Abstract

How did personal wealth and slaveownership affect the likelihood Southerners fought for the Confederate Army in the American Civil War? On the one hand, wealthy Southerners had incentives to free-ride on poorer Southerners and avoid fighting; on the other hand, wealthy Southerners were disproportionately slaveowners, and thus had more at stake in the outcome of the war. We assemble a dataset on roughly 3.9 million free citizens in the Confederacy and show that slaveowners were more likely to fight than non-slaveowners. We then exploit a randomized land lottery held in 1832 in Georgia. Households of lottery winners owned more slaves in 1850 and were more likely to have sons who fought in the Confederate Army. We conclude that slaveownership, in contrast to some other kinds of wealth, compelled Southerners to fight despite free-rider incentives because it raised their stakes in the war’s outcome.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Wealth, Slaveownership, and Fighting for the Confederacy: An Empirical Study of the American Civil War
      Available formats
      ×

      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Wealth, Slaveownership, and Fighting for the Confederacy: An Empirical Study of the American Civil War
      Available formats
      ×

      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Wealth, Slaveownership, and Fighting for the Confederacy: An Empirical Study of the American Civil War
      Available formats
      ×

Copyright

This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Corresponding author

*Andrew B. Hall, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, Stanford University, andrewbhall@stanford.edu, http://www.andrewbenjaminhall.com.
Connor Huff, PhD Candidate, Department of Government, Harvard University, cdezzanihuff@fas.harvard.edu, http://connordhuff.com.
Shiro Kuriwaki, PhD Candidate, Department of Government, Harvard University, kuriwaki@g.harvard.edu, http://www.shirokuriwaki.com.

Footnotes

Hide All

Authors contributed equally and are listed in alphabetical order. For research assistance, we thank Nishant Karandikar, Mikhail Kolganov, and Judy Pintor. We are grateful to Ran Abramitzky, Matt Blackwell, Lisa Blaydes, David Broockman, Jennifer Eggert, James Feigenbaum, Jeffry Frieden, Vicky Fouka, Steve Haber, Federica Izzo, Tyler Jost, Sergiy Kudelia, Christopher Lucas, Shom Mazumder, Christoph Mikulaschek, Ian Morris, Jon Rogowski, Robert Schub, Jaume Sempere, Ken Shotts, David Stasavage, Pavi Suri, Monica Duffy Toft, Gavin Wright, participants at the Harvard Experimental Political Science Graduate Student Conference, MPSA 2017, the Political Violence Workshop at Harvard University, the Harvard-MIT-Tufts-Yale Political Violence Conference, the Stanford, CIDE, and Colmex joint conference in Mexico City, the NYU Politics and History conference, and the LSE Historical Political Economy conference for helpful comments and suggestions. Replication files are available at the American Political Science Review Dataverse: https://doi.org/10.7910/DVN/RRBPUD.

Footnotes

References

Hide All
Acharya, Avidit, Blackwell, Matthew, and Sen, Maya. 2018. Deep Roots: How Slavery Still Shapes Southern Politics. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Ambrose, Stephen E. 1962. “Yeoman Discontent in the Confederacy.” Civil War History 8 (3): 259–68.
Berman, Eli, Callen, Michael, Felter, Joseph H., and Shapiro, Jacob N.. 2011. “Do Working Men Rebel? Insurgency and Unemployment in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Philippines.” Journal of Conflict Resolution 55 (4): 496528.
Bleakley, Hoyt, and Ferrie, Joseph. 2016. “Shocking Behavior: Random Wealth in Antebellum Georgia and Human Capital across Generations.” Quarterly Journal of Economics 131 (3): 1455–95.
Campbell, Randolph B. 2000. “Fighting for the Confederacy: The White Male Population of Harrison County in the Civil War.” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 104 (1): 2239.
Cederman, Lars-Erik, Gleditsch, Kristian Skrede, and Buhaug, Halvard. 2013. Inequality, Grievances, and Civil War. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Collier, Paul, and Hoeffler, Anke. 2004. “Greed and Grievance in Civil War.” Oxford Economic Papers 56 (4): 563–95.
Costa, Dora L., and Kahn, Matthew E.. 2003. “Cowards and Heroes: Group Loyalty in the American Civil War.” Quarterly Journal of Economics 118 (2): 519–48.
Dasgupta, Aditya, Gawande, Kishore, and Kapur, Devesh. 2017. “(When) Do Anti-Poverty Programs Reduce Violence? India’s Rural Employment Guarantee and Maoist Conflict.” International Organization 71 (3): 605–32.
Downey, Sean, Hallmark, Brian, Cox, Murray, Norquest, Peter, and Lansing, J. Stephen. 2008. “Computational Feature-Sensitive Reconstruction of Language Relationships: Developing the ALINE Distance for Comparative Historical Linguistic Reconstruction.” Journal of Quantitative Linguistics 15 (4): 340–69.
Downey, Sean S., Sun, Guowei, and Norquest, Peter. 2017. “alineR: An R Package for Optimizing Feature-Weighted Alignments and Linguistic Distances.” The R Journal 9 (1): 138–52.
Dube, Oeindrila, and Vargas, Juan F.. 2013. “Commodity Price Shocks and Civil Conflict: Evidence from Colombia.” The Review of Economic Studies 80 (4): 1384–421.
Fearon, James D., and Laitin, David D.. 2003. “Ethnicity, Insurgency, and Civil War.” American Political Science Review 97 (1): 7590.
Georgia Archives, University System of Georgia. 2018. “1832 Land Lottery.” perma.cc/57X7-L82Q
Georgia Legislative Documents. 1830. “Acts of the General Assembly of the State of Georgia, Passed in Milledgeville at an Annual Session in October, November, and December, 1830.” https://perma.cc/L3UF-3TUM.
Getmansky, Anna, and Zeitzoff, Thomas. 2014. “Terrorism and Voting: The Effect of Rocket Threat on Voting in Israeli Elections.” American Political Science Review 108 (3): 588604.
Green, Amelia Hoover. 2017. “Armed Group Institutions and Combatant Socialization: Evidence from El Salvador.” Journal of Peace Research 54 (5): 687700.
Grossman, Herschell I. 1991. “A General Equilibrium Model of Insurrections.” The American Economic Review 81 (4): 912–21.
Gurr, Ted Robert. 1970. Why Men Rebel. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Harris, J. William. 1998. Plain Folk and Gentry in a Slave Society: White Liberty and Black Slavery in Augusta’s Hinterlands. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press.
Hazlett, Chad. 2013. “Angry or Weary? The Effect of Personal Violence on Attitudes toward Peace in Darfur.” Working Paper.
Horgan, John G., Taylor, Max, Bloom, Mia, and Winter, Charlie. 2017. “From Cubs to Lions: A Six Stage Model of Child Socialization into the Islamic State.” Studies in Conflict & Terrorism 40 (7): 645–64.
Humphreys, Macartan, and Weinstein, Jeremy M.. 2008. “Who Fights? The Determinants of Participation in Civil War.” American Journal of Political Science 52 (2): 436–55.
Key, Valdimer Orlando. 1948. Southern Politics in State and Nation. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press.
Levi, Margaret. 1996. “The Institution of Conscription.” Social Science History 20 (1): 133–67.
Levi, Margaret. 1997. Consent, Dissent, and Patriotism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Lichbach, Mark Irving. 1998. The Rebel’s Dilemma. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
Logue, Larry M. 1993. “Who Joined the Confederate Army? Soldiers, Civilians, and Communities in Mississippi.” Journal of Social History 26 (3): 611–23.
Logue, Larry M., and Barton, Michael. 2007. The Civil War Veteran: A Historical Reader. New York: New York University Press.
McPherson, James M. 1997. For Cause and Comrades: Why Men Fought in the Civil War. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
McPherson, James M. 2003. Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Merritt, Keri Leigh. 2017. Masterless Men: Poor Whites and Slavery in the Antebellum South. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Miguel, Edward, Satyanath, Shanker, and Sergenti, Ernest. 2004. “Economic Shocks and Civil Conflict: An Instrumental Variables Approach.” Journal of Political Economy 112 (4): 725–53.
Minnesota Population Center. 2015. “Integrated Public Use Microdata Series: Version 6.0 [Machine-Readable Database].”
Moore, Albert Burton. 1924. Conscription and Conflict in the Confederacy. New York: Macmillan.
Moore, Will H. 1995. “Rational Rebels: Overcoming the Free-Rider Problem.” Political Research Quarterly 48 (2): 417–54.
National Archives. 2018. “Civil War Records: Basic Research Sources.” http://perma.cc/SP6E-JQXB.
Noe, Kenneth W. 2010. Reluctant Rebels: The Confederates Who Joined the Army after 1861. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.
Olson, Mancur. 1965. The Logic of Collective Action. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Paige, Jeffrey M. 1978. Agrarian Revolution. New York: Simon and Schuster.
Ransom, Roger L., and Sutch, Richard. 2001. One Kind of Freedom: The Economic Consequences of Emancipation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Rosenbaum, Paul R. 1984. “The Consequences of Adjustment for a Concomitant Variable That Has Been Affected by the Treatment.” Journal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series A 203: 24.
Rozenas, Arturas, Schutte, Sebastian, and Zhukov, Yuri. 2017. “The Political Legacy of Violence: The Long-Term Impact of Stalin’s Repression in Ukraine.” The Journal of Politics 79 (4): 1147–61.
Sarris, Jonathan Dean. 2006. A Separate Civil War: Communities in Conflict in the Mountain South. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press.
Scaife, William R., and Bragg, William Harris. 2004. Joe Brown’s Pets: The Georgia Milita, 1861–1865. Macon: Mercer University Press.
Scheiber, Harry N. 1969. “The Pay of Confederate Troops and Problems of Demoralization: A Case of Administrative Failure.” Civil War History 15 (3): 226–36.
Smith, James F. 1838. The Cherokee Land Lottery, Containing a Numerical List of the Names of the Fortunate Drawers in Said Lottery, with an Engraved Map of Each District. New York: Harper & Brothers.
Tatum, Georgia Lee. 2000. Disloyalty in the Confederacy. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.
United States Census Bureau. 1975. Historical Statistics of the United States, Colonial Times to 1970. Washington D.C.: US Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census.
Wallenstein, Peter. 1984. “Rich Man’s War, Rich Man’s Fight: Civil War and the Transformation of Public Finance in Georgia.” Journal of Southern History 50 (1): 1542.
Weiman, David F. 1991. “Peopling the Land by Lottery? The Market in Public Lands and the Regional Differentiation of Territory on the Georgia Frontier.” The Journal of Economic History 51 (4): 835–60.
Weinstein, Jeremy M. 2006. Inside Rebellion: The Politics of Insurgent Violence. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Williams, H. David. 1989. “Gambling Away the Inheritance: The Cherokee Nation and Georgia’s Gold and Land Lotteries of 1832–33.” The Georgia Historical Quarterly 73 (3): 519–39.
Wooster, Ralph A. 1977. The Secession Conventions of the South. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press.
Wright, Gavin. 1978. The Political Economy of the Cotton South. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

American Political Science Review
  • ISSN: 0003-0554
  • EISSN: 1537-5943
  • URL: /core/journals/american-political-science-review
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×
Type Description Title
UNKNOWN
Supplementary materials

Hall et al. Dataset
Dataset

 Unknown
PDF
Supplementary materials

Hall et al. supplementary material
Online Appendix

 PDF (507 KB)
507 KB

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed