Citizens More than Soldiers: The Kentucky Militia and by Harry S. Laver

By Harry S. Laver

Historians mostly depict nineteenth-century militiamen as drunken buffoons who stumbled into crooked traces, poked one another with cornstalk guns, and necessarily shot their commander within the bottom with a rusty, antiquated musket. voters greater than squaddies demonstrates that, on the contrary, the defense force remained an energetic civil establishment within the early 19th century, affecting the era’s nice social, political, and monetary transitions. in reality, given their measure of neighborhood involvement, militiamen have been extra influential in Kentucky’s maturation than the other formal group organization. Citizens greater than infantrymen finds that the armed forces used to be no longer the atrophied remnant of the Revolution’s minutemen yet an ongoing association that maintained an enormous presence in American society. This learn additionally exhibits that citizen-soldiers participated of their groups by way of developing neighborhood, neighborhood, and nationwide identities, reinforcing the social hierarchy, advancing democratization and get together politics, conserving the general public peace, encouraging fiscal job, and defining suggestions of masculinity. A extra exact knowing of the militia’s contribution to American society extends our comprehension of the evolutionary tactics of a maturing kingdom, displaying, for instance, how citizen-soldiers promoted nationalism, inspired democratization, and maintained civil order. electorate greater than infantrymen isn't a standard army heritage of campaigns and battles yet fairly the tale of citizen-soldiers and their contribution to the transformation of yank society within the 19th century. (20081101)

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Extra resources for Citizens More than Soldiers: The Kentucky Militia and Society in the Early Republic (Studies in War, Society, and the Militar)

Sample text

The trends among enlisted men confirm the trends among officers; and not unexpectedly, the men who filled the ranks were not as successful, either economically or politically, as those who led. In the years before the War of 1812, approximately 9 percent of enlisted men owned slaves, each owning approximately four. Slightly less than 16 percent owned land, while nearly 30 percent owned at least one horse. Only two won elections to the state House of Representatives. Enlisted men who served during the War of 1812, like their officers, achieved greater economic success than militiamen of any other period.

None, however, won political office. The data on Mexican War enlisted men also resembles that of their officers. These were by far the poorest militia of any period. Less than 8 percent owned slaves, less than 3 percent owned land, and only 6 percent owned a horse. These numbers, while not definitive, do suggest certain trends. Least surprising is the relative degree of wealth and political office-holding enjoyed by the officers. During the early decades of the nineteenth century, the men who wielded financial and social power often doubled as political and militia leaders.

Nonetheless, even white male unity had its limits. Poor white men marched in the parades and joined their officers and town elders with a cheer and swallow as each toast was read, but none ever found himself initiating the ritual. Such was the exclusive province of the better sort.

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