John M. Schofield and the Politics of Generalship

Overview

In the first full biography of Lieutenant General John McAllister Schofield (1831-1906), Donald Connelly examines the career of one of the leading commanders in the western theater during the Civil War and the role of politics in the formulation of military policy during both war and peace in the latter half of the nineteenth century.

Connelly relates how Schofield, as a department commander during the war, had to cope with contending political factions that sought to shape ...

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Overview

In the first full biography of Lieutenant General John McAllister Schofield (1831-1906), Donald Connelly examines the career of one of the leading commanders in the western theater during the Civil War and the role of politics in the formulation of military policy during both war and peace in the latter half of the nineteenth century.

Connelly relates how Schofield, as a department commander during the war, had to cope with contending political factions that sought to shape military and civil policies. Following the war, Schofield occupied every senior position in the army--including secretary of war and commanding general of the army--and became a leading champion of army reform and professionalism. He was the first senior officer to recognize that professionalism would come not from the separation of politics and the military but from the army's accommodation of politics and the often contentious American constitutional system.

Seen through the lens of Schofield's extensive military career, the history of American civil-military relations has seldom involved conflict between the military and civil authority, Connelly argues. The central question has never been whether to have civilian control but rather which civilians have a say in the formulation and execution of policy.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
This engaging biography addresses all phases of the military career of John M. Schofield. . . . Connelly shines in analyzing Schofield as an adroit, reform-minded administrator.—Journal of American History

Connelly's study of Schofield and the politics of generalship offers pertinent, unforced lessons and insights to anyone interested in the current relationship between the Army and its civilian overseers. On the whole, this work will go a long way towards better informing uniformed professionals about the important links between the military and its civilian leaders.—Military Review

First-rate scholarship here comes as more than a biography of a pivotal Union general and lifetime soldier; it's also a probing study into the complex relationship between our country's military establishment and civilian leadership.—Blue and Gray

An excellent work, one deserving of the attention of anyone desirous of understanding both Schofield's career and the army's transformation between 1865 and 1900.—Journal of Military History

A good study of the interrelationships between the military and the government. . . . A very interesting read.—Civil War News

Supported by extensive research . . . persuasive.—Historian

Connelly breaks new ground in his biography of John Schofield. . . . It adds significantly to our understanding of American military professionalism in the nineteenth century.—Civil War History

Connelly does much to redress the balance in this well-written work, and offers a simple reason for Schofield's relative obscurity: political controversy often dogged this hard-fighting general who ironically preached a doctrine of professionalism predicated upon cooperation between civilian and military leaders.—Military History of the West

Provides both range and depth to every major facet of Schofield's military career. . . . The strengths of this book are many and include solid scholarship and a clear writing style.—Army History

Connelly's discussion of political and civil-military relations is superb, and perhaps the most useful aspect of this thoughtful book.—Army Magazine

Historians, Civil War enthusiasts, and military specialists will appreciate this book, which focuses on the life of General Schofield at the intersection of politics and the military.—Louisiana History

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807830079
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 4/17/2006
  • Series: Civil War America Series
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 488
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Donald B. Connelly is associate professor of joint and multinational operations at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. A retired U.S. Army military intelligence officer, he has also served as historian at U.S. Special Operations Command, MacDill Air Force Base, Florida.

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