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The Development of the concept of Civilian Authority over the military

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  • aot1952
    The recent discussion regarding Thomas September 1862 treatment , has reminded me of one theme that I think often times we buffs over look. The concept of
    Message 1 of 2 , Apr 5, 2004
      The recent discussion regarding Thomas' September 1862 treatment ,
      has reminded me of one theme that I think often times we 'buffs'
      over look. The concept of civilian authority over the military is
      one that to present day Americans is so deeply ingrained into out
      thinking that it is difficult to understand and appreciate a time
      when that concept was not totally universally accepted. I would
      submit to you that in the 1860s this fundalmental notion of
      democracy was certainly not fully developed or for that matter
      necessarily recognized by all. However, it was certainly a notion
      that BOTH Abe and Jeff Davis were totally committed to and where
      very sensitive to maintaining. I for one have come to the purely
      personal conclusion that the sanctity of the concept was a MAJOR
      reason for Davis' seemingly crazy reaction to the officers of the
      Army of Tennessee's petition in October 1863 and his ultimate
      retention of Bragg in Army command.
      When one considers the historical precedents faced by the politicans
      of 1860s the prospects where pretty good that either the Lincoln or
      Davis political administrations or both would be replaced by some
      form of independent military leadership or dictatorship. Most
      goverments in civil wars to that time had met such fates.
      Just food for thought, I suppose I could be wrong.
      Wakefield
    • hank9174
      Off the top of my head, I d say that the lack of a large standing army makes the rise of a dictator improbable. Many (most) countries maintained professional
      Message 2 of 2 , Apr 5, 2004
        Off the top of my head, I'd say that the lack of a large standing
        army makes the rise of a dictator improbable. Many (most) countries
        maintained professional armies that were expected to follow any, and
        all, orders flowing down the chain of command.

        The democratic, independent and volunteer nature of the American
        soldier makes a military uprising unlikely.

        There may be other reasons as well; I'll let my subconscious chew on
        it during the day...


        HankC




        --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "aot1952" <aot1952@y...> wrote:
        > The recent discussion regarding Thomas' September 1862 treatment ,
        > has reminded me of one theme that I think often times we 'buffs'
        > over look. The concept of civilian authority over the military is
        > one that to present day Americans is so deeply ingrained into out
        > thinking that it is difficult to understand and appreciate a time
        > when that concept was not totally universally accepted. I would
        > submit to you that in the 1860s this fundalmental notion of
        > democracy was certainly not fully developed or for that matter
        > necessarily recognized by all. However, it was certainly a notion
        > that BOTH Abe and Jeff Davis were totally committed to and where
        > very sensitive to maintaining. I for one have come to the purely
        > personal conclusion that the sanctity of the concept was a MAJOR
        > reason for Davis' seemingly crazy reaction to the officers of the
        > Army of Tennessee's petition in October 1863 and his ultimate
        > retention of Bragg in Army command.
        > When one considers the historical precedents faced by the
        politicans
        > of 1860s the prospects where pretty good that either the Lincoln or
        > Davis political administrations or both would be replaced by some
        > form of independent military leadership or dictatorship. Most
        > goverments in civil wars to that time had met such fates.
        > Just food for thought, I suppose I could be wrong.
        > Wakefield
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