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American Military History: A Survey From Colonial Times to the Present, 2nd Edition

By William Thomas Allison, Jeffrey Grey, Janet G Valentine

Published by Routledge

Published Date: Jul 12, 2012

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Serves as a foundation for undergraduate courses in American military history.


American Military History is uniquely tailored to American military history courses. Organized chronologically, the text begins at the point of European conflict with Native Americans and concludes with military affairs in the early 21st century.


The content and style will appeal to history majors and non-majors and is designed to allow instructors flexibility in the structure of their course.


Learning Goals

Upon completing this book readers will be able to:

  • Understand the central themes and events in the American military history
  • Relate these themes to American history as a whole\
  • Know the issues beyond war that have contributed to the American military experience

Table of Contents

Found in this section:

1. Brief Table of Contents

2. Full Table of Contents



Chapter 1 The First American Way of War

Chapter 2 The Colonies and Wars for Empire

Chapter 3 Independence and the Birth of a National Military

Chapter 4 The Young Nation and Its Young Military Challenged

Chapter 5 The Second War of Independence

Chapter 6 Agents of Empire

Chapter 7 Toward a Professional Military

Chapter 8 Civil War & Reconstruction

Chapter 9 Becoming a Modern Military

Chapter 10 “Over There”

Chapter 11 The Interwar Years

Chapter 12 A Second Great War

Chapter 13 Postwar Reform and New Military Challenges

Chapter 14 Challenges of the Cold War

Chapter 15 Vietnam

Chapter 16 Military Challenges in a Changing World

Chapter 17 Into the Twenty-First Century




Chapter 1: The First American Way of War


The American Colonies and the British Military Tradition

Colonial Militia and Military Organization

A Clash of Cultures

Virginia and the Powhatan

Document: John Smith’s Proposal to Subjugate the Powhatan

New England’s Pequot War

King Philip’s War


Further Reading



Chapter 2: The Colonies and Wars for Empire


The Colonies: Strategic Contours

King William’s War

Queen Anne’s War

King George’s War

The Great War for Empire (1756—1763)

Document: George Washington Describes Braddock’s Defeat to Robert Dinwiddie, July 18, 1755


Further Reading



Chapter 3: Independence and the Birth of a National Military


Toward A Break with Great Britain

The War for Independence

The Northern Phase (1775—1777)

The Southern Phase (1778—1781)

The Naval War

The Final Campaign

The End of the Continental Army

Document: Washington Returns His Commission to Congress

A New Constitution

The Constitution and Military


Further Reading



Chapter 4: The Young Nation and Its Young Military Challenged


Building an Army

Fighting Indians and Insurrection

An Academy at West Point

Building a Navy

The Quasi War

Jefferson’s Gunboats

The Tripolitan War

Document: Congressional Resolution Praising Commodore Preble

The Chesapeake—Leopard Affair

The Hunger for Expansion


Further Reading



Chapter 5: The Second War of Independence


A Declaration of War

First Moves–Western Canada

Document: “We have met the enemy and they are ours”–The Battle of Lake Erie

The Niagara Campaign

The Campaign of 1814

The War Ends

The Beginnings of a Professional Military


Further Reading



Chapter 6: Agents of Empire


The Military and a Changing Nation

The Army and the West

The Naval Expeditions

Document: Perry Describes Burial of a Marine in Japan

Frontier Constabulary and Indian Affairs


Further Reading



Chapter 7: Toward a Professional Military


Napoleon and a Revolution in Warfare

War with Mexico

Document: Congressman Abraham Lincoln Supports General Taylor for President in 1848


Further Reading



Chapter 8: Civil War & Reconstruction


Yanks and Rebs

Strategic and Technological Contours

Civil War Armies

The Eastern Theater (1861—1863)

Document: Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain’s After-Action Report from Little Round Top

The Western Theater (1861—1863)

The Naval War

Grant Takes Command



Further Reading



Chapter 9: Becoming a Modern Military


Indian Wars

The National Guard

Renewed push toward Professionalism

Building a Modern Navy

War with Spain

Document: Theodore Roosevelt Reports from Santiago de Cuba

Insurrections and Rebellions


Further Reading


Chapter 10: “Over There”


Proving Ground: The Punitive Expedition

“Over There”

Document: Captain Harry Truman Writes Home to Bess, 1918

The Navy in the Great War

The American Air War

Impact of American Involvement in the Great War


Further Reading



Chapter 11: The Interwar Years


Postwar Duties

The Army of the United States

Doctrine For Airpower

Document: Colonel Billy Mitchell’s Statement to the Press, September 1925

First Line of Defense: The Fleet

The Marine Corps and the Development of Amphibious Warfare

War Planning


Further Reading



Chapter 12: A Second Great War


Preparing for War

The War in the Pacific

Mediterranean Theater and the Rise of American Leadership

Northwest Europe (1944—1945)

Document: Eisenhower’s Personal Memorandum of June 3, 1944

Women and Minorities in the War Effort

The Bomb


Further Reading



Chapter 13: Postwar Reform and New Military Challenges


Defense Reorganization and Creation of an Independent Air Force

Revolt of the Admirals

Integration of the Armed Forces

Document: Executive Order 9981

Containment and the Military

The Korean War

Phase I: The United Nations Defensive (June 27—September 15, 1950)

Phase II: The United Nations Offensive (September 15—November 2, 1950)

Phase III: The Communist Chinese Forces (CCF) Intervention (November 3—January 24, 1951)

Phase iv: First United Nations Counteroffensive (January 25—April 21, 1951) and Chinese Spring Offensive (April 22—July 8, 1951)

Phase v: Fighting while Negotiating (July 9, 1951—July 27, 1953)


Further Reading



Chapter 14: Challenges of the Cold War


Strategic Contours

NATO and Preparing for War in Europe

Eisenhower’s New Look

The Rise of Civilian Strategists


Regional Challenges

Quemoy and Matsu

The Middle East

U-2 Shoot Down

Document: Eisenhower Responds to U-2 Shoot Down

Kennedy and the Cold War

Building a Flexible Response

The Berlin Crisis

Missiles in Cuba


Further Reading



Chapter 15: Vietnam


Early American Involvement

The Advisors’ War

Americanizing the War

The Air Campaign

Naval Operations


Document: A Medal of Honor at Hue


Anti-War Activism

Peace with Honor

The American Experience in Vietnam


Further Reading



Chapter 16: Military Challenges in a Changing World


Toward a New Military

Reforming Training, Rethinking Doctrine

Cold War and the Military

DESERT ONE, Lebanon, Grenada, and Defense Reorganization

“No More Vietnams”

Document: American Objectives in the Gulf War

Peacekeeping and Nation Building


Further Reading



Chapter 17: Into the Twenty-First Century


A New War


Challenges for the Future


Further Reading