Just received this email with a very pertinent question.
I just came across your blog by way of Xavier’s, and saw the mention of “Three Percenters,” which upon further reading I learned refers to the 3% said to have been the active resistance in the Revolution. I write because I have read about the three percent active resistance measure before in a different context, but I have not for the life of me been able to find it and was hoping you might know where I should look.
The quote I had read was from a military officer who was explaining the percentages necessary within a population necessary for the success of a guerrilla war/revolution. Those percentages broke down to three percent active resistance, 23% passive support, 50% neutral, (and maybe 25% active resistance?). If memory serves, the comments were in regards to some of the more recent wars (perhaps Vietnam) rather than the Revolution. It some number of years ago that I read it, before I had reached the point in my schooling to understand the necessity of keeping/identifying one’s sources for such a quote. As such, I have no idea what book it was in or the context or even if those numbers are the exact numbers given by the original source. As mentioned, I have searched the web for various combinations of words with no avail, and would greatly appreciate a source other than the “I read somewhere” that I could refer to when discussing these topics with
Thank you greatly for any help,
To which I replied:
Excellent question. I will find my original source (15 years old though it may be) and let you know, although I won't even begin looking until sometime after the first of the year when I finish with my novel. In the mean time, I can post your question on my blog and see if anyone else has a ready reference.
So, all you amateur Revolutionary historians out there, can you find a footnote for the man? If so, please post it here. Thanks.