During the last couple weeks of talking about the Confederacy (and the state flag that celebrates it), we've encountered any number of historic inaccuracies in the arguments of those who don't want to change our state flag.
One of them is that (a) not many white Mississippians even owned slaves and (b) that only 6 to 10 percent of Confederate soldiers owned slaves.
Here are the problems with that argument as the chart and link before bring into full relief. As you can see in this excellent MPB documentary, many Confederates soldiers were just 17 or 18 years old. But many of the soldiers' families owned at least one or two slaves.
Based on 1860 Census results, 49 percent of Mississippi households owned slaves at the start of the Civil War, and more than half the population of our state—55 percent—were slaves. Slavery was massive here and directed affected nearly half the white families in Mississippi, including some who weren't as wealthy as the planters who owned many slaves (and who were at first exempt from fighting in the Civil War when the Confederacy instituted a draft, but that's another subject).
The chart below shows the number of slaves in all of the states that existed at the start of the Civil War.
Also, read my column this week, "Driving Old Dixie Down," for many links to historic sources about Mississippi and other Confederate states at the start of the war, including extensive evidence of why the Confederacy formed: in order to have a strong central federal government to force slaves on any new states, and to ensure that it got its runaway slaves back.