Binghamton Research Magazine - Fall/Winter 2011 - (Page 17)
J. David Hacker speaks about his findings.
pattern in survival rates for men and women by looking at the numbers for 1850-1860 and 1870-1880. Then he compared the war decade, 1860-1870, relative to the pattern. Hacker’s method allowed him to get around the problem of differential census counts, too. The 1870 census, for instance, was notoriously poor in the South. But in this context it shouldn’t matter: If it’s bad for men, it’s also bad for women, which preserves the pattern. Hacker added in the conventional estimate of black soldiers’ deaths. On the civilian side, an estimated 50,000 people died as a result of the war. Hacker assumes the number of civilian deaths among white women age 10 to 44 is zero in his model, so that can’t account for his number being higher than the conventional estimate. Hacker says he found approximately 750,000 male deaths beyond what would have been expected over the course of the decade. His estimate includes deaths of men who may have been wounded on the battlefield or contracted a disease in camp and then died at home. It also includes deaths
“Even if the number of war dead was ‘only’ 620,000, that still created a huge impact, especially in the South, and a figure of 750,000 makes that impact — and the demographic shadow it threw on the next two generations of Americans — just that much greater.”
Binghamton University • BINGHAMTON RESEARCH • Fall/Winter 2011
— James McPherson, the preeminent living historian of the Civil War
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