An American Profession of Arms: The Army Officer Corps, 1784-1861

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Historians, while recognizing the emergence of a pre-Civil War professional army, have generally placed the solid foundation of military professionalism in the post-Civil War era. William Skelton maintains, however, that the early national and antebellum eras were crucial to the rise of the American profession of arms. Although tiny by today's standards, the early officer corps nevertheless maintained strong institutional support and internal cohesion through a regular system of recruitment, professional training and education, and a high degree of leadership continuity. Through socialization and lengthening career commitments, officers came to share a common vision of their collective role with respect to warfare, foreign policy, Indian affairs, domestic politics, and civilian life. The result, Skelton shows, was the formation of a distinctive military subculture rooted in tightly knit garrison communities across the frontier and along the seaboard from which prominent Civil War leaders would emerge and whose essential character would persist well into the twentieth century.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780700611140
  • Publisher: University Press of Kansas
  • Publication date: 1/28/1993
  • Series: Modern War Studies Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 500
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.11 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Figures, Tables, and Illustrations
Pt. 1 Roots of the American Military Profession, 1784-1815 1
1 Army Organization in the Early National Period 3
2 Recruiting an Officer Corps, 1784-1815 12
3 Military Careers in the Early Republic 34
4 A Frontier Constabulary: Civil-Military Relations, 1784-1815 68
5 Seeds of Military Professionalism 87
Pt. 2 Emergence of the American Military Profession, 1815-1861 107
6 The Era of Army Reform, 1815-1821 109
7 The Organizational Setting, 1821-1861 131
8 The Stabilization of Officer Recruitment 137
9 Social Origins and Career Motivations 154
10 The West Point Experience 167
11 Military Careers in the Antebellum Era 181
12 The Emergence of the General Staff Officer 221
13 Professional Thought and Institutions 238
14 Officers and Enlisted Men 260
15 Officers, Politicians, and Citizens 282
16 Officers and Indians 305
17 Officers, Foreign Affairs, and War 326
18 The Officer Corps in the Sectional Crisis 348
Conclusion 359
Notes 363
Selected Bibliography 447
Index 469
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