U.S. Military Academy Is Established (Great Events from History: North American Series)
Article abstract: The first military academy and the nation’s first engineering school helps erode Federalist domination of the army officer corps.
Summary of Event
Even after emerging victorious from the Revolutionary War, the United States faced hostile forces from all directions. Monarchical European countries to the east were eager for the American experiment in democracy to collapse. Indians menaced settlement and further advancement in the American West. British Canada occupied the territory to the north and Spain the land to the south and southwest. The new nation obviously needed a system of national defense. Yet a traditional, strong suspicion of standing armies dated back to England’s civil war in the seventeenth century. A large number of Americans feared an aristocracy as the most formidable threat to their democracy; aristocracies, they believed, had their roots in standing armies. Some Americans thought an army of citizen-soldiers led by a trained officer corps might be the answer. The disloyal actions by Continental Army officers at Newburgh in the winter of 1782-1783 and the elitist, self-perpetuating, and politically dangerous Society of Cincinnati formed by Colonel Henry Knox, George Washington’s chief of artillery, and other army officers at the end of the Revolutionary War underscored concerns of those who feared the creation of a military officer class.
Knox was one of the first...
(The entire section is 1038 words.)
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