I am taking my history senior colloquium on the Military History of America with a focus on war and society. So far I am thoroughly enjoying it. If I were, which I am not, going to make a career out of history, I think I would want to go into military history.
The first book on our reading list is A Respectable Army:The Military Origins of the Republic, 1763-1789 I haven’t read much, only a couple of chapters, but it’s really fascinating. It starts of by describing the ideological origins that made militia preferable to standing armies in the eyes of the founding fathers. I found the part about the duty of the citizen soldier and his personal virtue to be particularly interesting. The notion that a man of property fighting for his own interests of liberty, freedom, property and perhaps even life versus a paid soldier with no particular investments in the cause, would in some way fight more honorably, harder and with an awakened sense of morality and virtue makes so much sense. On the other hand though, many times American history, especially that of the Revolutionary War period is romanticized and we make everyone out to be the perfect, virtuous, citizen-soldier, the ideal.
Anyway, as I continue to read, I will update you on my latest discoveries.