Chapter Two Sent to Committee

Hard work is paying off. I’m getting fairly positive feedback as I move into the third and final chapter of this thesis. I hope to have that chapter finished next week. Below are the opening paragraphs to chapter two, enjoy!

 

At the end of the First Seminole War, civilian authority faced a dire problem. The officer corps of the nation was not completely subservient to constitutional authority, nor were they suited to face the problems of the young nation. Officers of that era represented more of their individual social standings blended with their own views of nationalism and republicanism. This led them to act without objectivity and in accordance with their own beliefs and status. Additionally, because of certain military disasters involving militia in the War of 1812, the dual army tradition was weakened. However, major reformers such as Secretary of War John C. Calhoun and Superintendent of the United States Military Academy Sylvanus Thayer, provided means necessary to establish a new military class; one that would be subservient to civilian authority as well as educated to address the problems of the nation. During the “Age of Jackson,” such a military class emerged.

West Point served a foundational role in creating the professional officer corps of the antebellum military. The Academy fostered a social environment that when matched with the required curriculum and military drill, molded officers into a homogenous cohesive class due to their common experiences and education. West Point cadets emerged from the Academy as junior officers that helped mold the officer corps of the U.S. Army into a more subservient and professional unit, where officers served for longer periods of time. In this lengthened time served, the officer corps performed in various functions but one of the most important was the building of the nation’s infrastructure. Through this, the officer corps took on a role as agents of manifest destiny by helping economic prosperity and expansion on the frontier.  Because of this function, the officer corps demonstrated increased professionalization and subservience to civilian authority, setting them apart from their predecessors in the War of 1812 and the First Seminole War.

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