Influence of Indian Warfare on the Development of the United States Army

Influence of Indian Warfare on the Development of the United States Army

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Influence of Indian Warfare on the Development of the United States Army


Throughout history, when two or more armed groups oppose one another in battle, certain tactics are transferred from one to the other. These tactics are usually perceived by either group as superior to their own. This process of transferring tactics often occurs over a length of time, and usually encompass a number of conflicts between the groups. This is a natural phenomenon for armed forces that mimics the Darwinian Theory of Evolution; the strongest survive, the weak die. For a group to become the strongest in armed conflict, it must employ superior tactics and doctrine over its enemy. One method that an armed force uses to become stronger is to adapt the superior tactics of its enemy, incorporating them into its own doctrine.

Today, the United States Army is undoubtedly the strongest armed force in the world. This has not occurred without the Army also adapting tactics used by forces which opposed it throughout its development. One such opposing force were the American Indians. The history of opposition between these two groups can be traced back to the conflicts that occurred between the Amerindians and the English Colonists, whose militias were the ancestor of the U.S. Army.

The colonial militia was an institution of the English that was imported to their colonies in the New World in the sixteenth century. The colonial militias thrived, however, as those of England faded into relative non-existence in the seventeenth century while a new, professional army was developed in their place. No colony could afford to develop a professional armed force because every able-bodied man had to devote all his energy to the economic survival of the colony. ...


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Coakley, Robert W., and Stetson Conn. The War of the American Revolution. Washington: GPO, 1975.

Fennell, Jr., Charles C. "The Civil War: The First Modern War." The American Military Tradition. Ed. John M. Carroll and Colin F. Baxter. Wilmington: Scholarly Resources,Inc., 1993. 3-22.

Mahon, John K., and Romana Danysh. Infantry Part I. Army Lineage Ser. Washington: GPO, 1972.

Overy, David H. "The Colonial Wars and the American Revolution." The American Military Tradition. Ed. John M. Carroll and Colin F. Baxter. Wilmington: Scholarly Resources,Inc., 1993. 3-22.

United States. Dept. of the Army. Soldier's Manual of Common Tasks - Skill Level 1. Washington: GPO, 1990.

Weigley, Russell F. History of the United States Army. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1984.

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