Has Interest in the Civil War Declined? (poll)

Has Interest in the Civil War Declined?

  • Yes, interest has declined

    Votes: 53 52.0%
  • No, interest has remained steady.

    Votes: 25 24.5%
  • No, interest has increased.

    Votes: 12 11.8%
  • Don't Know

    Votes: 12 11.8%

  • Total voters
    102

Crazy Delawares

Sergeant
Joined
Sep 16, 2008
Location
South Jersey
I voted that it has waned but only in the general sense. I teach the CW in my classes and we get down into the nitty gritty. We talk about tactics and compare them to guerrilla tactics. The kids ask "Why?" This spawns discussion that goes off into so many directions that their interest soars! I come in in my uniform and talk about the everyday life of a soldier in the first person, of course. I distribute hardtack, bullets, shell fragments. I graphically describe an amputation. Whatever to get their attention on the CW and away from their technology. Many times I bring my unit in for an all day encampment. Some students will dress up (for extra credit). We go to Gettysburg Battlefield where I ask students to pick a part of the battlefield that we'll visit and do a short verbal presentation for extra credit. Those presentations are outstanding! I also reward them with a coupon to McDonalds for presenting. It is worth it to me.
After they visit LRT and Devil's Den, where I let them roam free for about 45 minutes, I like to ask them if they plan oncoming back. Almost one half of them say yes! Sometimes they come back to me later that week and tell me that they've already talked to their parents about visiting Gettysburg during the summer!
I think that maybe all we have to do is show them our passion for the CW and the kids will follow, if for no other reason than curiosity.
I know that some schools do not teach CW history very well, if at all. I've seen it first hand. I've experienced it first hand (even at the college level!!!). But we have a mandate to keep green the memory of our CW veterans. I think many or most of the folks on this site do just that. We just have to keep up the good fight and not let ignorance have its way.
Sorry to preach.
 

nitrofd

Retired User
Joined
Jan 20, 2013
Location
north central florida
I voted that it has waned but only in the general sense. I teach the CW in my classes and we get down into the nitty gritty. We talk about tactics and compare them to guerrilla tactics. The kids ask "Why?" This spawns discussion that goes off into so many directions that their interest soars! I come in in my uniform and talk about the everyday life of a soldier in the first person, of course. I distribute hardtack, bullets, shell fragments. I graphically describe an amputation. Whatever to get their attention on the CW and away from their technology. Many times I bring my unit in for an all day encampment. Some students will dress up (for extra credit). We go to Gettysburg Battlefield where I ask students to pick a part of the battlefield that we'll visit and do a short verbal presentation for extra credit. Those presentations are outstanding! I also reward them with a coupon to McDonalds for presenting. It is worth it to me.
After they visit LRT and Devil's Den, where I let them roam free for about 45 minutes, I like to ask them if they plan oncoming back. Almost one half of them say yes! Sometimes they come back to me later that week and tell me that they've already talked to their parents about visiting Gettysburg during the summer!
I think that maybe all we have to do is show them our passion for the CW and the kids will follow, if for no other reason than curiosity.
I know that some schools do not teach CW history very well, if at all. I've seen it first hand. I've experienced it first hand (even at the college level!!!). But we have a mandate to keep green the memory of our CW veterans. I think many or most of the folks on this site do just that. We just have to keep up the good fight and not let ignorance have its way.
Sorry to preach.
I am very happy that you are successful in your endeavor.the school system barely touches upon it here in florida.
 

major bill

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Joined
Aug 25, 2012
Decreased since when? In 1961 many states really concentrated on the anniversary of the Civil War. In 2011 fewer states did so. I think this shows that many states did not see it being important to their people.
 

Lnwlf

2nd Lieutenant
Retired Moderator
Honored Fallen Comrade
Joined
Mar 29, 2011
Location
SOUTHERN Indiana
Folks, try not to go to far afield while parsing out the reasons for increase/decrease in interest. That leads to far afield.

Posted as Moderator
 

mofederal

Major
Joined
Jun 27, 2017
Location
Southeast Missouri
My own interest goes back and forth. I strayed into WWI and WWII reenacting and collecting. I always kept at reading and researching the Missouri Civil War experience. I still see plenty of interest in this part of Mo., which is some part owing to this town having had a battle. There were small battles around the area, and down to New Madrid and Columbus Belmont. We are also close to St. Louis, Mound City, and Marion. We draw a lot of ACW tourism, so it is growing here, and I can see it. We also have an active Civil War Roundtable, which I helped to start. So the interest is growing here for sure.
 
Joined
Jun 24, 2015
Location
Talladega, Alabama
I think having a Civil War round table group is a great way to keep people interested in the Civil War. We can look at this site as just that. As much as I have read, studied, even worked in the Park system, I have found a wealth of new information here.
For the most part the governmental aspect forums here, I usually do not inject much because that's my weak point but I do read that section to help me learn more about it.
There are many ways to help keep people interested in this era of our history, I've read here on this thread where teachers provide that knowledge. We have the parks that show and tell us the history. I had a history teacher that taught just Civil War history classes for advance history students in high school. I was one of those that took advantage of that opportunity. He also taught an advance history class in WWII. I was in that class also.
Many new books have been written, I was just pricey to the Catton, Freeman, era. The Internet is a wealth of knowledge and reading material.
I remember the day I bought the CD of the O.R.....wow! My own 128 volumes right here on one disc. I was very lucky that my parents had bought me the O.O. Companion atlas through the Southern Historical Society as a Christmas gift one year. I was one happy guy to now have what I consider the apex of Civil War records. I used the Battles and Leaders volumes before that.
But I do believe the overall percentage of people really do not find this as a viable hobby or interesting enough to take the place of what entertains them now. As one poster before really said it well, after the centennial passing of 1961, people then began to think of other things. One hundred years ago is over and now let's study on something less old. WWII was just 16 years past and new books were coming to print as to memoirs and in depth studies of the war was beginning to find their way to bookstores.
Those that did enjoy the Civil War found something new and refreshing starting after 1961. Plus them dang hippies didn't study war, they love peace and flowers. Then Vietnam came about and the nation cringed at the thought of any type war. I fell in line in the mid 70's but through my father interest in war movies and hearing his tall tales of him in service during the Korean conflict.
Then a teacher in high school brought alive the Civil War in 1977 and thus today I'm still interested and learning about it. My two kids? Nope, they never took up wanting to know about the Civil War, heck my daughter could not name you one person in that time frame. My son, he would rather study what happened in Iraq than any other time but to say he spends time doing it, no, he just didn't get that urge to pursue history like I did...I tried.
 

huskerblitz

Major
Joined
Jun 8, 2013
Location
Nebraska
I think having a Civil War round table group is a great way to keep people interested in the Civil War.
This may be hit or miss. As far as I know, Nebraska only has one Civil War Roundtable group. It's a bunch of great people, they really are. But, being in my early 40s, I'm the youngest by far...my guess is nearly 20 years younger than the next youngest. And I think our attendance generally averages around 20 every month.
 

major bill

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Joined
Aug 25, 2012
Many CWRTs have problems keeping enough interest to sty relevant. The CWRT here in Lansing has shut down. we do have two CWRTs within an hour's drive and five CWRTs within a 2 hour drive. However most have seen a drop of people attending meets in the last 10 years.
 

huskerblitz

Major
Joined
Jun 8, 2013
Location
Nebraska
Many CWRTs have problems keeping enough interest to sty relevant. The CWRT here in Lansing has shut down. we do have two CWRTs within an hour's drive and five CWRTs within a 2 hour drive. However most have seen a drop of people attending meets in the last 10 years.
I drive slightly over an hour to attend ours. With two high schoolers and three middle schoolers in my household needless to say I don't make all the meetings like I want to. That's the advantage of being retired (which the vast majority of our group is).
 

DixieRifles

Captain
Member of the Year
Regtl. Staff Shiloh 2020
Joined
Mar 22, 2009
Location
Collierville, TN
To much interest is in things like Game of Thrones or other such things. There is nothing wrong with those things as long as they are put into perspective. Even current history is so skewed that one has to pay close attention to sort out the truth. OK I'll get off my soapbox.

I agree.
For the last 3 weeks, I have wanted to go see a good movie.
Here are my choices at our Cinema 8.

- Transformers
- Planet of the Apes
- "Wish Upon" a girl discovers magic powers
- Spider Man
- Kids- Desicable me
- Kids- Cars 3
leaving only two "reality" movies to choose from
"Baby Driver"
"Big Stick"

Last month there was "Pirates of the Carribean".
Even "Wonder Woman" which was supposed to be about a normal woman turned hero began flying through the air like Superman.
When I watch a movie like "Gods and General's", at least I can picture the events and even use it to study strategy and tactics of the battlefield(and maybe my life). I don't get much out of imaginary beings and blasting away at zombies.

You can have your soap box back.
 

DixieRifles

Captain
Member of the Year
Regtl. Staff Shiloh 2020
Joined
Mar 22, 2009
Location
Collierville, TN
BTW, I voted Yes but not based only on the younger generation and the lessons taught at school. I see a decline in the participation of reenactors and events at anniversary of battles. I may be wrong, but I think the membership of the SCV is down from 15 years ago. Of course, the population is growing and that means the number of Civil War enthusiasts have grown. No doubt you will see larger crowds at big events like Gettysburg Anniversary. But as they say: Will it play in Peoria?"
That reminds me. I attended the 150th Anniversary of the Surrender at Vicksburg. Now I said surrender so that was on 4 July---a hot day. Much hotter than an anniversary day at Gettysburg. I thought I would throw that in but it also says that you have to be a CW Nut to make that event.
In summary, I'm not sure what the real yardstick we should use to measure the answer to this question. I would want to know more people are reading and studying their local Civil War history than see a crowd take a quick driving tour of a battlefield or listen to some guys fire old muskets. How do you measure that?
 
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alan polk

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Jun 11, 2012
I agree.
For the last 3 weeks, I have wanted to go see a good movie.
Here are my choices at our Cinema 8.

- Transformers
- Planet of the Apes
- "Wish Upon" a girl discovers magic powers
- Spider Man
- Kids- Desicable me
- Kids- Cars 3
leaving only two "reality" movies to choose from
"Baby Driver"
"Big Stick"

Last month there was "Pirates of the Carribean".
Even "Wonder Woman" which was supposed to be about a normal woman turned hero began flying through the air like Superman.
When I watch a movie like "Gods and General's", at least I can picture the events and even use it to study strategy and tactics of the battlefield(and maybe my life). I don't get much out of imaginary beings and blasting away at zombies.

You can have your soap box back.

That's about like it is in my neck of the woods @DixieRifles. However, they finally showed "Beguiled" in local theaters, and my wife and I went to see it.

I have not read where anyone else here has seen it or not, but I really enjoyed it. The cinematography was incredible.

The biggest thing for me was sitting in the theater and thinking about some of the folks here and what they would think.

To state it simply, after the movie, I looked up the director to make sure she was not from the south. I really think if she were, people here might think it was directed by a southerner and "Lost Cause" inspired.

I'll leave it at that........
 

DixieRifles

Captain
Member of the Year
Regtl. Staff Shiloh 2020
Joined
Mar 22, 2009
Location
Collierville, TN
That's about like it is in my neck of the woods @DixieRifles. However, they finally showed "Beguiled" in local theaters, and my wife and I went to see it.

Is that out, already??
I dont know if I can go see it. That is a remake of a Clint Eastwood movie and you mess with My Main Man.
That is my other soap box complaint---remaking old movies. Arent there any writers in Hollywood?
Of course I had to eat my wirds when "True Grit" came out.
 

Longhall

Private
Joined
Mar 6, 2017
I don't know, my interest has waned over the past thirty years, Used to be I read a book on the subject every week or two.
Then I was drawn into the antebellum period, then the American revolution, the French and Indian war, the founding and growth of the colonies, and now the history of the British isles. I'll never stop reading as long as I am able but history has a way of dragging me around into other periods and places. The British civil war is quite interesting to me as well.
 
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gem

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Oct 26, 2012
With each successive generation after the war, the war seems less relevant so interest does decline.

This is somewhat of a natural phenomena.

Thus, I voted yes.
 

Liam C

Private
Joined
Mar 31, 2013
Location
Australia
Australian here.

Talked about the Civil War for like one class in History, I was really bummed out we didn't discuss more cause I was really looking forward to it. Granted most the class didn't care for various reasons, most of them wanted to get to the World War 1 stuff. It was kinda a shame.

As for how I got interested.....well the movie Glory really enthralled me
 
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Pat Young

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Featured Book Reviewer
Joined
Jan 7, 2013
Location
Long Island, NY
So I see that my partner Michele's church's Book Club has selected Eric Foner's Gateway to Freedom and Colson Whitehead's The Underground Railroad as this month's books. My gf's daughter just read Lincoln in the Bardo.

As I have said before, if we think of Civil War Era history as battles and Civil War novels as Killer Angels, then there may be a declining interest in those. On the other hand I hear more discussion of the Confederacy, slavery, and Reconstruction than I have in years.
 

shermans_march

First Sergeant
Joined
Mar 11, 2017
Location
Colorado, Under A Pile of Snow
I would say that its unfortunately true. This is especially true of my generation, born in the 90's, who have very little interest in history or other important things. It makes me feel older than I am to dislike many things people my age like.
 
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