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American History in the Making

Research: From Militia to the National Guard: Jefferson’s Last Stand


Below is an abstract and a copy of the proposed appendices to a research paper in progress at George Mason University under the direction of Dr. Fred Beuttler, Assistant Historian for the US House of Representatives.

ABSTRACT:

Abstract Blog

The militia in the United States of America is a unique reflection of the United States itself. Beginning with the first colonial muster in 1636 and involvement in every major US engagement, the militia and after 1903, the National Guard has been there. The militia ideal is Jeffersonian Democracy at its best. In many ways the militia was diametrically opposed to the notions supporting a professional, standing army just as Jefferson opposed Hamilton’s need for a truly federal government. The conflict between professional army and citizen militia mirrored the conflict of federal versus anti-federal. Leading up to the Spanish-American War in 1898, the militia developed a more comprehensive personality and consolidated national vision for itself. Choosing to embody the Jeffersonian ideals found in the citizen-soldiery, the militia was faced with the need for federal support and partnership with the professional army. In the 1880s, the militia began to see the need for reform and more professional education, training, equipment and more federal financial support to achieve that reform.

The National Guard Association formed to address their growing national concerns. In the post-Civil War environment, the movement initially fractured, but by 1903, the Interstate National Guard Association established itself as the most politically cohesive group and led the reconciliation effort which would form the modern-day National Guard Association of the United States. Here the National Guard needed increased federal support to achieve military relevance beyond what the individual states could provide. The Army wanted a recruiting pool from which to fill their ranks in the event of another war. Neither organization wanted to repeat the mobilization failures which occurred prior to the War with Spain.

The Army, directed by Secretary of War Elihu Root accepted an increasing role of the National Guard and funding in exchange for increased oversight and regulation – a classic Jefferson versus Hamilton exchange. The result was a more Jamesian compromise where the National Guard maintained a significant measure of its own initiative and agency, they reluctantly accepted federal oversight and standardization and the Army gained a measure of influence over a state-based militia force.

CONTENTS:
Introduction

Army/Militia Situation circa 1900

US Population and military Demographics

Budgetary commitments

Opposing Camps: The Volunteer Soldier in America and Military Policy of the United States

Emergence of a national militia

Political Participants in the Reformation

Brigadier General Charles Dick, US Senator and Congressman

President William McKinley, Confederate militiaman

Colonel William Sanger, New York National Guard and Assistant Secretary of War

President Theodore Roosevelt, New York National Guard

Brevet Major General Emory Upton, USA, West Point, author, The
Military Policy of the United States

John A. Logan, author, The Volunteer Soldier in America

Democracy in Practice

Jeffersonian ideal of the militia

Interstate National Guard Association

4th Annual Conference of the Interstate National Guard Association, 1902, Washington, DC

5th Annual Conference of the Interstate National Guard Association, 1903, Columbus, OH

Address to the 5th Annual Conference by Secretary of War Elihu Root

Militia Act of 1903

Implications for Democracy

Jefferson, States’ Rights, and the desire for federal support without constraints

Hamilton, Federal designs on the militia, and desire for oversight

James, compromise, Federal support with Federal oversight

Conclusion

KEY DOCUMENTS

Militia Act of 1903 Milita Act of 1903 transcribed

Militia Act of 1792 Militia Act of 1792

1903 Address by Secretary of War Address by SecWar Root to NGA

BIBLIOGRAPHY (unedited)

Bernstein, Jonathan, interview by Carl Allard Young. Director, National Guard Education Foundation (March 5, 2010).

Center of Military History. American Military History: The United States Armuy and the Forging of a Nation, 1775-1917. Edited by Richard W. Stewart. Vol. I. II vols. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2004.

Cooper, Jerry. Citizens as Soldiers: A History of the North Dakota National Guard. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 1986.

—. The Rise of the National Guard: The Evolution of the American Militia 1862-1920. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 1997.

Doubler, Michael D. I Am the Guard: A History of the Army National Guard, 1636-2000. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2001.

Hill, Jim Dan. The Minute Man in Peace and War: A History of the National Guard. 1st ed. Harrisburg, PA: The Telegraph Press, 1964.

Interstate National Guard Association. Proceedings of the Interstate National Guard Association. Vol. I. II vols. Washington, DC: Inerstate National Guard Association, 1906.

—. “Proceedings of the Interstate National Guard Association, Vol II of II.” Washington, DC: Interstate National Guard Association, 1906. 410 pp.

Logan, John A. The Volunteer Solider of America. Chicago: R.S. Peale & Company, 1887.

Root, Elihu. The Citizen’s Part in Government and Experiments in Government and the Essentials of the Constitution. New York: Arno Press, 1974.

Sanger Family. “Sanger Family Papers, 1792-1956; Bulk 1875-1925.” New York State Library. Edited by Aimee Morgan. 2005. http://www.nysl.nysed.gov/msscfa/sc22786.htm (accessed March 09, 2010).

Stentiford, Barry M. The American Home Guard: The State Militia in the Twentieth Century. 1st ed. College Station, TX: Texas A&M University Press, 2002.

The United States Congress. An Act. Washington: US Government Printing Office, 1792.

—. An Act more effectually to provide for the National Defence by establishing an Uniform Militia throughout the United States. Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 1792.

—. “An Act To promote the efficiency of the militia, and for other purposes.” Public Law No. 3. Washington, DC, January 21, 1903.

—. “The Constitution of the United States of America.” Barnes and Noble Books, 2005.

United States Census Bureau. “1900 Census of Population and Housing.” Vers. Volume 1: Population: Population of States and Territories. Census Bureau. http://www.census.gov/prod/www/abs/decennial/1900.html# (accessed March 8, 2010).

—. “1900 Census of Population and Housing.” Vers. Volume 2: Population Pt 2: Ages. Census Bureau. http://www.census.gov/prod/www/abs/decennial/1900.html# (accessed March 8, 2010).

—. “1900 Census of Population and Housing.” Vers. Volume 3: Vital Statistics pt 1: Analysis and Ratio Tables. Census Bureau. http://www.census.gov/prod/www/abs/decennial/1900.html# (accessed March 8, 2010).

United States Congress. Dick, Charles William Frederick – Biographical Information. http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=D000302 (accessed March 08, 2010).

—. Henderson, David Bremner – Biographical Information. http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=H000478 (accessed March 08, 2010).

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March 18, 2010 - Posted by | 20th Century American Democracy | , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. I envy you getting to do this kind of research.

    Comment by Tony Caldwell | March 19, 2010 | Reply


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