A Scientific Way of War: Antebellum Military Science, West by Ian Clarence Hope

By Ian Clarence Hope

While religion within the Enlightenment was once waning somewhere else by way of 1850, on the usa army Academy at West aspect and within the minds of academy graduates serving in the course of the nation Enlightenment pondering endured, announcing that struggle was once governable by means of a grand idea available during the learn of army technological know-how. officials of the normal military and teachers on the army academy and their political superiors all believed strongly within the hazard of buying an ideal wisdom of conflict during the right curriculum.
A medical approach of War analyzes how the doctrine of army technology advanced from instructing particular Napoleonic functions to embracing topics that were useful for conflict in North the US. Drawing from a wide range of fabrics, Ian C. wish refutes previous fees of a scarcity of professionalization within the antebellum American military and an overreliance at the teachings of Swiss army theorist Antoine de Jomini. as an alternative, wish indicates that inculcation in West Point’s American army curriculum ultimately got here to supply the military with an officer corps that shared a standard doctrine and customary ability in army challenge fixing. The proliferation of army technology ensured that at the eve of the Civil battle there existed a particularly American, and clinical, means of war.

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52 Despite the limitations in the academy’s curriculum, the beginning of the Jeffersonian era did nonetheless mark a turning point in the current of military thought in the United States, and it moved steadily away from British ways. The insistence on neutrality during the Napoleonic wars left the United States isolated, and as links with England diminished, so did English ideas regarding the preeminence of martial genius. Under Jefferson, Americans began to embrace military science instead. With its establishment, the West Point academy slowly became the formal center of American military thinking, which was becoming decidedly scientific.

Pierre Charles L’Enfant, took up Duportail’s efforts.  .  .  . 27 L’Enfant also promoted education, describing arithmetic, geometry, mechanics, architecture, hydraulics, drawing, and natural philosophy as essential. The duties of American engineer officers would include the surveying, planning, and construction of fortifications, magazines, and arsenals for mobilization and the calculation of peacetime garrison requirements for each post. His statements were remarkably prescient. L’Enfant, like Duportail, was transplanting the notion of Vauban’s ceinture de fer to America.

These forces provided auxiliary military capability to the British regulars periodically garrisoned in the colonies during conflicts against France and Spain. The volunteer provincial regiments of the French and Indian War became indispensable and were prototypes for Washington’s Continentals during the Revolution. Volunteer companies also served as associations for transmission of knowledge, including subjects of military science such as casting cannon, storing gunpowder, building local fortifications, and mounting artillery pieces.

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