Cowards and Heroes: Group Loyalty in the American Civil War
36 Pages Posted: 6 Dec 2001 Last revised: 25 Oct 2010
Date Written: December 2001
What motivated men to risk death in the most horrific war in U.S. history when pay was low and irregular and military punishment strategies were weak? In such a situation creating group loyalty by promoting social capital is of paramount importance and in the Civil War was the cement of both armies. We find that individual and company socio-economic and demographic characteristics, ideology, and morale were important predictors of group loyalty in the Union Army. Company characteristics were more important than ideology or morale. Soldiers in companies that were more homogeneous in ethnicity, occupation, and age were less likely to shirk.
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