This closely argued, deeply researched volume (more than one-third comprising references and bibliography), based on extensive private papers from across the United States, is readable and interesting, and its history of organized violence in early American life has contemporary resonance. It is a story of idealism vs. realism, the transformation of America into a great republic and empire at the hands of regular soldiers. It also traces how those once favorable to militias and hostile to regular forces eventually became a standing army’s greatest champions. Echoing Niccolò Machiavelli and Oliver Cromwell, the demand for highly effective forces, such as England’s New Model Army, replaced the idealistic preference for republican militias over the perils of dictatorship that might attend permanent forces. Regulars in the United States were not only more effective in battle, but they often were also more cost-effective than local militias. Wooster’s thesis is that Americans may have resisted...
The United States Army and the Making of America: From Confederation to Empire, 1775–1903 by Robert Wooster
Matthew Hughes; The United States Army and the Making of America: From Confederation to Empire, 1775–1903 by Robert Wooster. The Journal of Interdisciplinary History 2022; 52 (4): 620–622. doi: https://doi.org/10.1162/jinh_r_01782
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