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Amidst Poverty and Prejudice: Black and Irish Civil War Veterans


  • Hoyt Bleakley
  • Louis Cain
  • Joseph Ferrie


This study examines a wide range of health and economic outcomes in a sample of Irish- and African-American Civil War veterans during the postbellum period. The information in our data is from a variety of circumstances across an individual's life span, and we use that to attempt to explain whether the disparities in mortality are related to disparities in life experiences. We find evidence of disparities between Irish and blacks and others in such variables as occupation and wealth, morbidity, and mortality. The data do not reveal disparate outcomes for all blacks and Irish; they only reveal inferior outcomes for slave-born blacks and foreign-born Irish. For the freeborn blacks and native-born Irish, for whom the historical tradition suggests discrimination and prejudice, the data only hint at such problems.

Suggested Citation

  • Hoyt Bleakley & Louis Cain & Joseph Ferrie, 2013. "Amidst Poverty and Prejudice: Black and Irish Civil War Veterans," NBER Working Papers 19605, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19605
    Note: DAE

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    JEL classification:

    • N11 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913

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