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The Long Road to Annapolis: The Founding of the Naval Academy and the Emerging American Republic

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The United States established an academy for educating future army officers at West Point in 1802. Why, then, did it take this maritime nation forty-three more years to create a similar school for the navy? The Long Road to Annapolis examines the origins of the United States Naval Academy and the national debate that led to its founding.

Americans early on looked with suspicion upon professional military officers, fearing that a standing military establishment would become too ...

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The Long Road to Annapolis: The Founding of the Naval Academy and the Emerging American Republic

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Overview

The United States established an academy for educating future army officers at West Point in 1802. Why, then, did it take this maritime nation forty-three more years to create a similar school for the navy? The Long Road to Annapolis examines the origins of the United States Naval Academy and the national debate that led to its founding.

Americans early on looked with suspicion upon professional military officers, fearing that a standing military establishment would become too powerful, entrenched, or dangerous to republican ideals. Tracing debates about the nature of the nation, class identity, and partisan politics, William P. Leeman explains how the country's reluctance to establish a national naval academy gradually evolved into support for the idea. The United States Naval Academy was finally established in 1845, when most Americans felt it would provide the best educational environment for producing officers and gentlemen who could defend the United States at sea, serve American interests abroad, and contribute to the nation's mission of economic, scientific, and moral progress.

Considering the development of the naval officer corps in relation to American notions of democracy and aristocracy, The Long Road to Annapolis sheds new light on the often competing ways Americans perceived their navy and their nation during the first half of the nineteenth century.

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Editorial Reviews

John Lehman
William Leeman has given us an excellent history of the politics and personalities animating the long debate over whether to establish a naval academy, with many interesting anecdotes along the way.
—The Washington Post
From the Publisher
Anyone interested in the struggle for a naval academy or the history of the early republic will find The Long Road to Annapolis an absorbing study.--Naval Institute Proceedings

Leeman has made an able contribution to scholarship on the United States Navy in the context of the history of the early republic.--Register of the Kentucky Historical Society

The first major study to place the history of the United States Naval Academy within a broad national and intellectual context . . . an important contribution to the historiography on education in the early American republic.--History of Education Quarterly

The Long Road to Annapolis is an excellent addition to the growing scholarly attention being paid to Annapolis. It is an accessible, well-researched book that demonstrates Leeman's keen capacity for compelling narration.--The Journal of American History

Well-written, crisp and effectively organized. . . . Leeman has painted a picture of the maturing nation's divide between those who were satisfied with time-honored methods of military training and those who embraced new concepts of broader education for the nation's military leaders. . . . Fills a significant gap in an important chapter of the evolution of not only the U.S. Navy, but also the nation as a whole.--Charleston Post and Courier

An excellent history of the politics and personalities animating the long debate over whether to establish a naval academy, with many interesting anecdotes along the way. . . . A fine tale of how the Naval Academy came to be.--John Lehman, The Washington Post

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807833834
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 6/1/2010
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 312
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

William P. Leeman is assistant professor of history at the United States Military Academy at West Point.
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