New User Special Price Expires in

Let's log you in.

Sign in with Facebook


Don't have a StudySoup account? Create one here!


Create a StudySoup account

Be part of our community, it's free to join!

Sign up with Facebook


Create your account
By creating an account you agree to StudySoup's terms and conditions and privacy policy

Already have a StudySoup account? Login here

HY 480 Week 3 Notes

by: Rhiannon Hein

HY 480 Week 3 Notes HY 480

Rhiannon Hein
GPA 3.886

Preview These Notes for FREE

Get a free preview of these Notes, just enter your email below.

Unlock Preview
Unlock Preview

Preview these materials now for free

Why put in your email? Get access to more of this material and other relevant free materials for your school

View Preview

About this Document

These notes cover John Shy chapters 5 &10, which we went over in class on Tuesday and Thursday. Please note that HY 480 is currently behind what is listed on the syllabus.
Survey of Military History
Dr. Harold Selesky
Class Notes
25 ?




Popular in Survey of Military History

Popular in History

This 7 page Class Notes was uploaded by Rhiannon Hein on Sunday February 7, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to HY 480 at University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa taught by Dr. Harold Selesky in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 22 views. For similar materials see Survey of Military History in History at University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa.


Reviews for HY 480 Week 3 Notes


Report this Material


What is Karma?


Karma is the currency of StudySoup.

You can buy or earn more Karma at anytime and redeem it for class notes, study guides, flashcards, and more!

Date Created: 02/07/16
Shy Chapters 5&10 Notes Chapter 5  The British Museum split the American Revolution into two parts: The constructive part  of the political revolution upstairs, and the Revolutionary War downstairs. o In the historiography of the conflict, it is typical to split the revolution into  political and social and military. o This separation is essentially false to the historical event, because people living  through the Revolutionary years made no such artificial separation (Shy tries to  put them back together). o You have to know how society impacts war and vice versa. o To cross this dividing line (between the upstairs and downstairs) and to restore  some of the unified reality of two hundred years ago, is the task of this essay.  The military operations of the American Revolution make sense only when they are  placed in their political and social context. o The nature and character of American society profoundly affected the outcome of  the Revolutionary war.  It is possible to identify certain social characteristics common to each colony. o These social characteristics strongly affected the struggle for independence. o The characteristics are as follows:  The population of colonial America grew very rapidly during the first  three­quarters of the eighteenth century, perhaps more rapidly than any  other society.  The availability of a virtually unlimited supply of land eliminated periodic starvation, chronic malnutrition, and much of the epidemic disease.  Very high rate of immigration after 1700s.  The relatively homogenous population of English were joined by  Scoth­Irish and Germans.  A quarter of a million Africans were forced to migrate to the  colonies. o Blacks, who had solved the chronic labor shortage, also  caused a growing fear of bloody insurrection.  Immigration was a primary factor in spreading people over the  land.  Emergence of a social elite.  Prosperity gave a minority of early settlers the chance to acquire  wealth and status.  The position of the colonial elite was precarious because he ruled  only by consent and depended on the British letting it exercise its  power.  Threatened by rapid growth and diversification.  “Institutional weakness”: The lack of European­type structures for the  maintenance of order.   There was no governmental bureaucracy.   Even slavery was looser in practice than law. o Tightening of slavery came after the Revolution.  “Provincialism”: the basic attitude, toward themselves and the outside  world, that set Americans off from European societies.  Provincialism meant a love­hate relationship with Britain and with  European civilization generally.  The colonial elite admired Britain and Europe, but many resented  or feared their superiority and strength.  Americans felt morally superior to Europe and never tired of  saying so, but they also knew America was inferior.  But the question remains: what impact did these features, or society, have on the war?  At the outset, it was the sheer energy and prosperity of American society that shaped the  war. o When new British policies had threatened the economic and political positions of  the American elite, that elite mobilized public opinion behind it and against  British authority.  The lack of any specialized military organization meant that virtually everyone went to  war. o Numbers as much as anything were the backbone of American strategy in the  beginning.  “Provincialism” of American leaders led American strategy away from reliance on  popular military forces (militia) and toward organization of something like a regular  army. o Washington said the militia was worse than useless, and that the creation of a  European style army was essential.  Shy suspects native American leaders stressed a regular army because they felt a need to be seen as cultivated, honorable, and respectable men. o It was never a very good army and never very large, but it did keep the British  army pinned down and concentrated, which left most of the country free to be  contested between Americans. o It also created a chance for men, as officers, to achieve reputation on a national  scale.  Popular enthusiasm of 1775 began to give out rapidly and became hardly visible by 1777. o Internal divisions and conflicts of late colonial America weakened the war effort. o The lack of any effective mechanism to mobilize manpower for war, once local  and popular pressure had begun to weaken, forced the Revolutionaries to fall back on other means, mostly economic incentive.  Men were almost never drafted, some men were hired to fight. o There was economic differentiation between those who served actively for long  periods in the war and those who did not. o This method of raising an army had several effects:  It further weakened the role of higher kinds of motivation  It contributed to the bankruptcy of the war effort evident by 1778.  Weak personal motivation and governmental bankruptcy combined to  produce the real crises of the latter of the war:  The mutinies  High rates of desertion  Defection  Virtual collapse of the war effort from central control back onto  state and local levels.  The American war for Independence is highly inefficient, but ultimately, it is effective,  because with the help of the French, it does force the British to recognize the  independence of the United States (Selesky’s view, not Shy’s).  The method of waging war seemed a perversion to revolutionary ideals.  The sheer size and wealth of late colonial America, plus the ability of its leadership to  mobilize the society, made initial resistance possible, but the “provincialism” of most  leaders and the lack of strong institutions and internal conflicts led to a degeneration in  the quality and strength of the war effort.  Throughout the war, the nature of American society caused British leaders to misread  their strategic problems.  The British had concluded from looking at American society that they were “soft”, more  like the prosperous farmers and artisans of England and Europe, and little inclined to  active military service.  British underestimated the extent to which public opinion sustained the initial rebellion  independently of those leaders who had initiated it. o This made Americans more effective (initially) than they had been in the colonial  wars.  British failed to think that through the way in which their military strategy could be  politically effective; they simply assumed armed force could “work” in America as it had  in Europe and Ireland.  Britain fomented a civil war their side never seemed able to win. o It was too late, many Americans were already disillusioned by the previous lack  of British success o The Americans who would fight for them were bitterly angry people bent on  vengeance and not restoration of law and order.  People bent on vengeance do not create stable political resolutions; they  create conflict. o Most loyalists went to the British side because they were socially and numerically weaker. o British arming of Cherokees and calls for black slaves to turn against their  masters had similar counterproductive effects.  This foments a race war. People aren’t going to sit around and watch their  slaves get armed, so they go to the American cause. o The British army may have stepped into the great issue in American history: the  “tyranny of the majority”  Nothing did more in the later stages of the war to keep the Revolution alive than the  British effort to activate loyalist minorities.  Without French intervention, the revolution could not possibly have ended when or the  way in which it did. o It marked the difference between American success and failure. o George Washington is extremely successful in not losing, but not losing is  extremely different from winning. Chapter 10  Military historians have been trying to explain the question of the American Revolution  for a very long time: o How does one answer the question of how one of the greatest military powers in  history could have been defeated by a few million scattered, inadequately armed,  and badly trained colonials. o Many historians however, like to explain British defeat in terms of British  mistakes without looking at what the Americans may have done well.  Did the American Revolution change American society? o Can we ask about the military conflict—revolutionary in structure? Revolutionary in effects?  Much writing on military history of the Revolution is contaminated with preoccupations  of military theory, especially those with the “principles of war”, which lie at the center of  military science in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.  Shy wants to correct the illusion that the American Revolution, including its war,  somehow took palceo utside the dynamics of violence that have afflicted revolutionary  struggles elsewhere.  Do the doctrines, studies, and general experience of “revolutionary warfare” in the  twentieth century provide some insight into the American Revolutionary War? o Shy’s answer, with due caution and qualification, is yes.  One measurable effect of war might have been to widen the gap between richer and  poorer Americans.  The structural feature of modern revolutionary wars that has most impressed intelligent  observers is not the use of guerrilla tactics but the triangularity of the struggle. o Two armed forces contend less with each other than for the support and control of the civilian population. o The government and its forces are reluctant to perceive this essential traingularity, while rebels use whatever strength they can muster to break links between  governor and governed.  Revolutionary violence is less an instrument of physical destruction than one of  persuasion. o Ideally, government ceases to function because no one any longer obeys and the  old authority is displaced by revolutionary organization without massive  confrontations of conventional warfare. o You want to get the hearts and minds of people on your side.  Hope remains as long as the revolutionary organization survives. o You’ve got to do what you can militarily and political to undercut hope  The above model of modern revolutionary warfare is not completely the same as the  American Revolutionary War, but fits at some points close enough to be worth exploring.  Part­time soldiers were not adequately focused upon because many thought they played  at the fringes of the war. o Even Washington, who disliked militiamen, reveals the neglected importance and  frequency of what was labeled in the twentieth century as unconventional warfare.  Most regarded toe success and survival of the Continental army as the chief military  factor on which the Revolution depended.  American strategy from 1775­1783 was keyed to conventional operations. o By being militarily conventional, American Revolutionaries created at least the  illusion of unified purpose, military strength, and political respectability.  The record of British experience provides a uniquely valuable way of looking at the war. o British officers’ persistent efforts to understand in order to act effectively gives us the chance to consider the Revolutionary War apart from the parochial concerns  and commitments that may have paralyzed the effort to understand it as  Americans.  The petite Guerre of the rebel militia had important social consequences.  In the war for independence, the intimidation of the lukewarm was essential in creating  the resistance movement.  British efforts to interpret and put down rebellion in the American colonies divide into  three distinct stages. o Before the war, British governments had defined their American problem as one  of law enforcement and the maintenance of order  policy on this belief failed because of sympathy for the few individuals  who were punished.. o After the destruction of tea, the British government adopted a new interpretation,  which was that insurgency had a center—Boston—and that this center could be  isolated and punished.  This new policy assumed that other colonies were disturbed by the latest  acts of Boston insurgents and oculd be intimidated by the example made  of Boston.  Police thus needed to depend on overwhelming force to achieve clear­cut  success within a single geographical point.  Of course this assumption was wrong. o With the outbreak of actual fighting, the British began believing that the  government faced a fairly conventional war that could be conducted along  classical lines.  Game seemed to be one of maneuvering in order to bring the rebel army  (the Continental, which was formed European style) to a decisive battle or  to destroy it without costly fighting.  The assumption seemed to be that success in conventional operations  would automatically bring restoration of political control in the wake of  military victory. o The assessments of civilian attitudes became more important than it had been in  1776 and affected planning in two ways:  Because the unexpected continuation of the war for another year strained  British military manpower, one British force would move to Philadelphia.  The other would move down the Camplain­Mohawk­Hudson corridor.  The campaign was a disaster, primarily because of the  miscalculation of objectives and of time­space factors through an  erroneous conception of the civilian environment within which  military operation were to be conducted. o The outline of the third and last British strategy took a year to emerge from the  confusion that followed the defeat at Saratoga. For the first time, civilian  population came to be the major factor in planning.  It was seen that Loyal and neutral civilians had to be organized and  protected before any lasting results could be achieved and that the great  pool of civilian manpower also accounted for the resilience of the rebel  main armies.  It was decided to begin the new campaign in the South, which was seen as  the soft underbelly of the rebellion with its scattered population and fear of slave uprisings and Indian tribes.  At last it was understood that the recruitment of Loyal provincial troops  merely for use in conventional operations had deprived an area of the very people who might control it.  High priority was given to local self­defense forces.  British strategy had finally become a comprehensive plan of pacification  directed against a revolutionary war.  New strategy was linked to political situation in Britain itself. o The government had justified a costly and controversial war on the ground that  Britain had to defend Loyal Americans against rebel vengeance. o The crown believed that most Americans, given the choice to choose freely,  would choose the Crown.  In the end, the third southern campaign failed: why? o Small groups of rebel irregulars could not be eliminated altogether. o Neither side had the capability of protecting the civilian population fully and a  ferocious guerrilla war spread throughout South Carolina, into Georgia, and  through North Carolina.  Almost every  British action appears to have exacerbated the situation.  Neither British nor rebel leaders regarded the bloody civil war in the South as “favorable” to their side: both tried to curb it in order to gain political control and prevent alienation  of potentially friendly civilians.  Every major British troop movement in the American Revolution created shock waves of  civilian behavior in the surrounding area.  British record reveals the response of the whole population to the multifarious stimuli of  war.  What emerges from the British record, is a picture of the great middle group of  Americans. o Almost certainly a majority of the population, these were the people who were  dubious, uncertain, and afraid who felt there was nothing at stake that could  justify involving themselves and their families. o These people lost from sight in the Revolutionary Record or are dismissed as “the  timid.”  From a British perspective, it appears a great many of these people ^^ were changed by  the war. o Beginning as uneasy, potentially loyal subjects of the Crown and ending up as  knowing, wary citizens of the United States. o The war was a political education conducted by military means, and no one  learned that more than the apathetic majority.  The British and their allies were fascinated by the rebel militia. o The militia enforced law and maintained order wherever the British army did not. o From the British point of view, the rebel militia was one of the most troublesome  and predictable elements in a confusing war. o From the British viewpoint, the militia was the virtually inexhaustible reservoir of rebel military manpower.  Under the circumstances, enrollment in the militia could be a test of loyalty.  “The militia also looked like a great spongy mass that could be pushed aside or maimed  temporarily but that had no vital center and could not be destroyed”  Eventually almost every colonial county had a point where men had to either take arms in an emergency or to do something that would visibly label them as suspicious or disloyal  persons.  The Revolutionary War, considered as a political education for the masses, helps to fill  the explanatory gap of how America managed to win, provided we are willing to  extrapolate a little from the evidence.  The broad popular basis of military organization forced thousands of more or less  unwilling people to associate themselves openly and actively with the cause.  Another massive effect of the war was the rapid erosion of deferential political behavior. o Once they had seen and even taken part in the hounding, humiliating, and perhaps even killing men known as their superiors, it would’ve been hard for them to re­ attain the same unthinking respect for wealth and status.  One last visible effect of the war on American politics was the sharpening of the struggle  between central and local authority.  Difficulty has always lain with discerning and describing the affects of the war and in  explaining them without resort to some mystical notion of American character.


Buy Material

Are you sure you want to buy this material for

25 Karma

Buy Material

BOOM! Enjoy Your Free Notes!

We've added these Notes to your profile, click here to view them now.


You're already Subscribed!

Looks like you've already subscribed to StudySoup, you won't need to purchase another subscription to get this material. To access this material simply click 'View Full Document'

Why people love StudySoup

Bentley McCaw University of Florida

"I was shooting for a perfect 4.0 GPA this semester. Having StudySoup as a study aid was critical to helping me achieve my goal...and I nailed it!"

Janice Dongeun University of Washington

"I used the money I made selling my notes & study guides to pay for spring break in Olympia, Washington...which was Sweet!"

Jim McGreen Ohio University

"Knowing I can count on the Elite Notetaker in my class allows me to focus on what the professor is saying instead of just scribbling notes the whole time and falling behind."


"Their 'Elite Notetakers' are making over $1,200/month in sales by creating high quality content that helps their classmates in a time of need."

Become an Elite Notetaker and start selling your notes online!

Refund Policy


All subscriptions to StudySoup are paid in full at the time of subscribing. To change your credit card information or to cancel your subscription, go to "Edit Settings". All credit card information will be available there. If you should decide to cancel your subscription, it will continue to be valid until the next payment period, as all payments for the current period were made in advance. For special circumstances, please email


StudySoup has more than 1 million course-specific study resources to help students study smarter. If you’re having trouble finding what you’re looking for, our customer support team can help you find what you need! Feel free to contact them here:

Recurring Subscriptions: If you have canceled your recurring subscription on the day of renewal and have not downloaded any documents, you may request a refund by submitting an email to

Satisfaction Guarantee: If you’re not satisfied with your subscription, you can contact us for further help. Contact must be made within 3 business days of your subscription purchase and your refund request will be subject for review.

Please Note: Refunds can never be provided more than 30 days after the initial purchase date regardless of your activity on the site.