Accession Number:



The Evolution of U.S. Military Policy from the Constitution to the Present, Volume 1. The Old Regime: The Army, Militia, and Volunteers from Colonial Times to the Spanish-American War

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Technical Report

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RAND Corporation Santa Monica United States

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Tracing the evolution of the U.S. Army throughout American history, the authors of this four-volume series show that there is no such thing as a traditional U.S. military policy. Rather, the laws that authorize, empower, and govern the U.S. armed forces emerged from long-standing debates and a series of legislative compromises between 1903 and 1940. Volume I traces the history of U.S. military policy from the colonial era through the Spanish-American War. This period is critical for understanding the genesis of the basic structure of todays Army and the various factors that informed that structure. For a combination of strategic, cultural, economic, ideological, and political reasons, in the 18th and 19th centuries the United States did not establish a standing army large enough to handle a major conflict and instead relied on a variety of mechanisms for raising volunteer units and marshaling state militias to expand or augment the Army. The Spanish-American War 1898 was a major turning point The difficulties the United States faced in raising and equipping a large-enough Army for the conflict prompted led to major reforms in the early 20th century

Subject Categories:

  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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