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A Respectable Army: The Military Origins of the Republic, 1763 - 1789, 2nd Edition

A Respectable Army: The Military Origins of the Republic, 1763 - 1789, 2nd Edition

ISBN: 978-0-882-95239-0

Aug 2005, Wiley-Blackwell

241 pages

Select type: Paperback


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When the first edition of this highly successful volume appeared in 1982, the proponents of the “new” military history were just gaining full momentum. Their objective was to reach beyond the traditional focus of military studies—the flow of guns, combat, and tactics that influenced the immediate outcome of battles and martial conflicts, often with little reference to broader historical contexts.

Believing that one cannot fully appreciate the Revolution without reckoning with the War for Independence and its effects in helping to shape the new American republic, Martin and Lender move beyond the deeply ingrained national mythology about the essence of the war effort, so neatly personified by the imagery of the embattled freehold farmer as the quintessential warrior of the Revolution. Then they integrate, not persist in keeping separate, the fascinating history of the real Continental army into the mainstream of writing about the nation-making experience of the United States.

In the process of revising their now-classic text, Martin and Lender drew on their own work as well as the invaluable outpouring of new scholarship over the last two decades. Wherever necessary, they questioned previous arguments and conclusions to render a meaningful new edition that is certain to receive the same kind of positive reception—and widespread acceptance—that its predecessor enjoyed.

Also new to the second edition is a bank of illustrations, a Note on Revolutionary War History and Historiography, and a fully revamped Bibliographical Essay, making A Respectable Armyessential reading for anyone enrolled in the U.S. survey or specialized courses in colonial or military history or the American Revolution.

Foreword VII

Preface XI

CHAPTER ONE: Of Lexington and Concord, and the Myths if 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 20

Notes 27

CHAPTER TWO: 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 60

Notes 63

CHAPTER THREE: Toward an American Standing Army, 1776—1777 65

The Nature of the Continental Army 65

A New Model Army 69

William Howe’s Campaign of 1777 77

The Saratoga Campaign 83

The American Search for Manpower 87

The Old Myth and The New Soldiery 95

Notes 98

CHAPTER FOUR: On and Off the Road Despair, 1777—1779 100

Valley Forge 100

Mounting Anger in the Officer Corps 104

Tables Turned: new Life for the Cause 111

The British Dispersal of 1778 119

Growing Internal Division: Army and Society 127

Notes 135

CHAPTER FIVE: Moral Defeat and Military Turnabout, 1779—1781 137

Dispersed Warfare 137

Patriot Naval Exploits 144

Financial Morass on the Home Front 148

The War in the Southern States 154

Treason, Pensions, and Mutinies 159

Sudden Turnabout: The Road to Yorktown 166

Notes 171

CHAPTER SIX: Of War, National Legitimacy, and the Republican Order, 1781—1789 173

The Yorktown Campaign 173

Formulating a Peace Settlement 181

The Newburgh Conspiracy 187

Transition to a Postwar World 195

Myth and Tradition: A Political/Military Settlement 203

Notes 210

A Note on Revolutionary War History and Historiography 213

Index 225

Illustrations follow page 136


Northern Campaigns 34

Southern Campaigns 125

Clark’s Western Campaigns, 1778—1779 140

Praise for the first edition:

"A Respectable Army is an important book for several reasons. It reminds one once again of Washington's contributions to the nation in the 'new modeling' of the army and more particularly in the establishment of a tradition of civil over military authority. It rejects the historical mythology of a patriotic soldiery and demonstrates that, ironically, it was the unpriveleged classes who fought to preserve the liberties of all citizens. Finally, it compresses the 'new' military history into a compact, readable volume and thereby makes current scholarship accessible to a wide audience." (The North Carolina Historical Review, 1983)

"Clear in organization and style... Provocative reading, it should especially appeal to instructors anxious to engender classroom discussion." (The History Teacher, Spring 1983)

"[James Kirby Martin and Mark Edward Lender] have done their job well. Founded on a close reading of the most recent litrerature, A Respectable Army offers a cogent narrative of the social, political, and intellectual developments that shaped the Revolutionary military establishment as well as a fair-minded assessment of current historiographical controversies." (Journal of Southern History, February 1984)