During the American Revolution, the active forces (Patriots) in the field against the King’s tyranny never amounted to more than 3% of the colonists. They were in turn actively supported by perhaps 10% of the population. In addition to these revolutionaries were perhaps another 20% who favored their cause but did little or nothing to support it. Another one-third of the population sided with the King (by the end of the war there were actually more Americans fighting FOR the King than there were in the field against him) and the final third took no side, they were neutral, and just waited to see who would win.
Today, “less than 0.5 percent of the population serves in the armed forces, compared with more than 12 percent during World War II” (NY Times). So, 3% doesn’t sound like much, but compared to those that serve now, it is a lot.
Wondering how many people made up the 3 percent? The Continental Army, the Patriots, was not much of an army at all. It was made up of about 15,000 untrained, armed civilians, who were mostly farmers. They had very little money and few weapons or supplies. The British were the strongest military on the planet back then, and were driven out!
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