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A Respectable Army: The Military Origins of the Republic, 1763-1789, 3rd Edition

ISBN: 978-1-118-92388-7
264 pages
June 2015, ©2015, Wiley-Blackwell
A Respectable Army: The Military Origins of the Republic, 1763-1789, 3rd Edition (111892388X) cover image


A fully revised and updated third edition of the most established and innovative historical analysis of the Continental Army and its role in the formation of the new republic.

  • Written by two experts in the field of early U.S. history
  • Includes fully updated coverage of the military, political, social, and cultural history of the Revolution
  • Features maps, illustrations, a Note on Revolutionary War History and Historiography, and a fully revamped Bibliographical Essay
  • Fully established as an essential resource for courses ranging from A.P. U.S. history to graduate seminars on the American Revolution
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Table of Contents

List of illustrations ix

Preface x

1 Of Lexington and Concord, and the Myths of the War, 1763–1775 1

Lexington and Concord 1

Of Standing Armies (Power) and Militia (Liberty) 5

Ideological Transmission 9

The Provincial Militia Tradition 14

The Tyranny of Standing Armies 19

Notes 27

2 The Republican War, 1775–1776 29

A Republican Order as the Goal 29

Regulars Versus Republicans: The British at Bay 33

The Adoption of a Continental Army 39

The British Military Counterthrust 47

The New York Campaign 52

Success and Failure 61

Notes 64

3 Toward an American Standing Army, 1776–1777 66

The Nature of the Continental Army 66

A New Model Rebel Army 70

William Howe’s Campaign of 1777 78

The Saratoga Campaign 83

The American Search for Manpower 87

The Old Myth and the New Soldiery 97

Notes 99

4 On and Off the Road of Despair, 1777–1779 102

Valley Forge 102

Mounting Anger in the Officer Corps 106

Tables Turned: New Life for the Cause 113

The British Dispersal of 1778 120

Growing Internal Division: Army and Society 127

Notes 136

5 Moral Defeat and Military Turnabout, 1779–1781 139

Dispersed Warfare 139

Patriot Naval Exploits 146

Financial Morass on the Home Front 151

The War in the Southern States 157

Treason, Pensions, and Mutinies 164

Sudden Turnabout: The Road to Yorktown 171

Notes 176

6 Of War, National Legitimacy, and the Republican Order, 1781–1789 179

The Yorktown Campaign 179

Formulating a Peace Settlement 187

The Newburgh Conspiracy 194

Transition to a Postwar World 202

Myth and Tradition: A Political/Military Settlement 210

Notes 217

A Note on Revolutionary War History and Historiography 219

Index 232

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Author Information

James Kirby Martin is Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz Cullen University Professor of History at the University of Houston. He has written seven books, including Ordinary Courage: The Revolutionary War Adventure of Joseph Plumb Martin (4th edition, 2012) and Benedict Arnold, Revolutionary Hero: An American Warrior Reconsidered (2000). In addition to his scholarly work, Martin has advised and appeared on television programs airing on the History Channel and has recently begun a successful foray into feature film scriptwriting.

Mark Edward Lender is Professor Emeritus of History at Kean University. He is the author or  editor of several books, including “This Honorable Court”: The United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, 1789–2000 (2006) and Drinking in America: A History (with James Kirby Martin, 2nd edition, 1987). Lender is the recipient of the McCormick, Cincinnati, Keller, and Booth Prizes, as well as the Richard J. Hughes Award, the highest honor granted by the New Jersey Historical Commission.
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"This new edition of a landmark study incorporates the latest scholarship on the Revolutionary War, and presents the conflict in a unified and accessible manner. It is vital to any comprehensive understanding of America's definitive conflict."

 Edward G. Lengel , Professor and Director, Papers of George Washington, University of Virginia

 “A Respectable Army is an insightful, well-written account of the enduring legacy of America's war of independence. The authors have done a wonderful job turning their research into an immensely readable narrative.”

Terry Golway, Director, Kean University Center for History, Politics and Policy

 "There can be no finer introduction to the military history of the American Revolution and the character of the Continental Army than this classic study."

David L. Preston, Professor of History, The Citadel

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