Finding Dennis Hart Mahan: The Professor's Place in Military History
Directed study project
ARMY WAR COLL CARLISLE BARRACKS PA
Pagination or Media Count:
This paper seeks to ascertain the place of Dennis Hart Mahan, professor at the United States Military Academy from 1832-1871, within American military history. The research for this paper commenced with a premise that Mahan has a pervasive influence upon his West Point cadet classes, and thereby upon Civil War generalship. The extensive literature reviewed found that this premise was not widely supported. Mahans place was found to be inconsistent, sometimes championed, but mostly marginalized. This paper discusses three ongoing and overshadowing historiographical contests that seem to contribute to this the hagiographic and political struggles surrounding Civil War generalship the continuing debate regarding Jominis influence before, during, and after the Civil War and in opposing views concerning the professional status of the United States Army in the 19th century. All three obscure any consistent interpretation of what influence this professor may have had upon the military affairs of his day, and suggest that it is time for a comprehensive and independent treatment of him in American military history.
- Humanities and History
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics