I am curious about the Lost Cause Mythology. I hear a lot about it in Academic circles. It seems there are claims that reenactments are suffering and even articles from Salon suggesting people stop going. People should have lost interest in the war. or at least that what colleges are recommending.
So what do the numbers say?
The Antietam National Battlefield’s peak visitation year was 1986, when more than 700,000 visitors came to the battlefield. In the 1990s, however, attendance took a sharp decline, plummeting to around 181,000 in 1993. In 2008 (the year of the Great Recession) attendance was 352,548. In 2012 (the 150th anniversary of the battle), attendance rose to 510,921, a 45% increase from 2008. Attendance declined to 370,832 in 2013, but that is still a 5.2% increase in attendance from 2008.
Chickamauga/Chatanooga National Military Park’s peak visitation year was 1970, when more than 1.7 million visitors came to the battlefield. Interestingly enough, a sharp decline to 674,400 followed in 1971, which is the lowest annual attendance to the site since 1960. Following years of steady growth after 1971 and several years surpassing the one million mark, attendance took another decline in 2001 to 749,913. In 2011 (the first year of the Sesquicentennial), attendance surpassed the one million mark (1,036,699) for the first time since 1998. From 2001 to 2011 annual attendance increased 38.2%.
Cameron McWhirter’s Wall Street Journal articles points out that visitation to Gettysburg National Military Park in 2013 (1,213,349) has declined sharply from its peak visitation year in 1970, when nearly 7 million came to the park. These numbers are accurate, but McWhirter conveniently leaves out the fact that in 1979 attendance declined to 994,035, the only year since 1960 in which Gettysburg failed to attract at least one million visitors. So it seems to me that we should be asking what happened from 1970 to 1979 for visitor attendance to take such a sharp decline in the 1970s rather than comparing attendance between 1970 and 2013. Compared to 1979, visitor attendance today is actually up 22%. The Great Recession of 2008 hurt visitor attendance to Gettysburg and the site has not returned to its pre-recession attendance levels (which hit 1.8 million in 2002), but visitor attendance is still up 16.5% from 2009.
Shiloh National Military Park’s peak visitation year was 1961, when 927,400 visitors came to the site. Visitor attendance fell to 317,046 in 2010, but in 2012 (the 150th anniversary of the battle of Shiloh), attendance rose to 587,620, a stunning 85% increase in attendance over two years. Attendance remained high in 2013 with 536,206 visitors.
Vicksburg National Military Park’s peak visitation year was 1984, when 1,112,881 visitors came to the battlefield. From 1991 to 2004 annual visitation hovered around the 800,000 to one million mark, but since 2004 the park has seen a steady decline in attendance. During the 2008 recession attendance declined to 555,109, and attendance numbers during the Sesquicentennial continue to hover around that number with the exception of a 41.6% jump in attendance to 796,035 in 2011, the first year of the Sesquicentennial.
Fort Sumter National Monument’s peak visitation year was 2002, when 922,776 visitors came to the site. In fact, the twenty-first century has been a boon for Fort Sumter. Attendance from 2000 to 2001 rose 188% from around 319,000 visitors to 919,000 visitors, and annual attendance to Fort Sumter continues to hover around 850,000 during the Civil War Sesquicentennial.
The White House had 611,207 visits in 2016 compared to Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park’s 2,360,256 visits.
Now lets compare that to todays colleges that are concerned with the Lost Cause Mythology.
According to Forbes
Among soft skills, managers were even more united in their opinions of where they see a dearth. According to PayScale’s survey, 60% of managers claim the new graduates they see taking jobs within their organizations do not have the critical thinking and problem solving skills they feel are necessary for the job. Additionally, 56% of managers said recent grads do not pay attention to detail and 46% said the young workers would do well to hone their communication skills. Some 44% of managers reported a lack of leadership qualities and 36% reported lower-than-needed interpersonal and teamwork skills.
And CNN Money
“The enrollment decline at for-profit institutions is different. Some for-profit schools have been criticized heavily for offering “worthless degrees” and leaving students with big debt.”
Of course with all this being said. What is the real lost cause?
Analyzing Visitor Attendance to Civil War Sites During the Sesquicentennial By https://pastexplore.wordpress.com/2…-civil-war-sites-during-the-sesquicentennial/on
College enrollment is dropping. Bad sign? http://money.cnn.com/2016/05/20/news/economy/college-enrollment-down/index.html
These Are The Skills Bosses Say New College Grads Do Not Have? by , https://www.forbes.com/sites/karste…y-new-college-grads-do-not-have/#6a4544a65491