The American Home Guard: The State Militia in the Twentieth Century

Overview


Since colonial times Americans have used the militia to maintain local order during both war and peacetime. States have intermittently created, maintained, deployed, and disbanded countless militia organizations outside the scope of the better-known National Guard. Barry M. Stentiford tells the story of these militia units—variously called home guards, State Guard, National Guard Reserve, and State Defense Forces. Stentiford traces the evolution of the militia over the past century, demonstrating its ...
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Overview


Since colonial times Americans have used the militia to maintain local order during both war and peacetime. States have intermittently created, maintained, deployed, and disbanded countless militia organizations outside the scope of the better-known National Guard. Barry M. Stentiford tells the story of these militia units—variously called home guards, State Guard, National Guard Reserve, and State Defense Forces. Stentiford traces the evolution of the militia over the past century, demonstrating its transformation from an amalgamation of state militia units into the National Guard, a reserve of the army. Ironically, the very existence of the National Guard made the creation of other militia forces necessary during periods of war. The home guards or State Guard were organized to fill the vacuum left when the National Guard was called up, depriving states of an organized militia that could be mobilized for repelling invasions, suppressing riots, controlling strikes, or guarding the waterfront. Stentiford carefully analyzes the challenges that faced the State Guards as states sought to build their new militia with leftover men and material. He also examines the role of the State Guard: providing relief during and after natural disasters, providing military training for future draftees, and broadening participation in military units during wartime by giving a role to men who, because of their age or occupation, could not join the federal forces. The State Guard gained a new significance in the Cold War, especially as the political unpalatability of a draft and reductions in the size of the full-time military expanded the functions of the National Guard in military policy. Today modern state militias, born to an ancient tradition, must define a role for themselves in a society that increasingly views them as anachronistic. They mut also compete ideologically with so-called unorganized militias for the title of true heir to the American militia tradition.
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Editorial Reviews

Michael D. Doubler

“The best account ever of State and local forces mobilized in times of crisis to maintain domestic order. Analyzes an important aspect of national security that has been all but overlooked.”--Michael D. Doubler, author of I Am the Guard: A History of the Army National Guard, 1636-2000
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Product Details

Meet the Author


Barry M. Stentiford, an assistant professor at Grambling State University, holds a Ph.D. in history from the University of Alabama. He spent nine years as an armor officer in the Army National Guard before moving into the U.S. Army Reserve, where he holds the rank of captain.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Note on Terms
Introduction 3
1 Origins of the Dilemma 5
2 Home Guards of the Great War 21
3 Postwar Adjustments 52
4 A National Emergency 83
5 The States Prepare for War 98
6 America Enters World War II 118
7 The State Guard Readies for Action 142
8 Assuming a Greater Role 168
9 The State Guard in the Cold War 192
10 Total Force and the State Defense Forces 214
Conclusion 242
Notes 245
Bibliography 291
Index 311
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