The Second Way of War: Preserving Male Honor in the Wars of Indian Removal

Lecture Description

Historians generally concede the existence of a distinctive American “way of war” characterized by a preference for rapid, decisive operations. Against both irregular and conventional enemies, the United States has expressed this preference though the application of overwhelming force and firepower—while extending protections only to the noncombatants of “civilized” societies. This 45-minute lecture critically reexamines this consensus and posits the existence of a heretofore unrecognized (and fleeting) “second way of war,” in which the officer corps of the United States Army increasingly reflected the nineteenth-century middle class ideal of restrained manhood and attempted to impose the rules for “civilized” warfare on its Antebellum wars of territorial expansion.

CATEGORIES

Military

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