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Thoughts on War$
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Phillip S. Meilinger

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780813178899

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813178899.001.0001

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Soldiers and Politics

Soldiers and Politics

Exposing a Myth

(p.141) 10 Soldiers and Politics
Thoughts on War

Phillip S. Meilinger

University Press of Kentucky

When discussing the American military tradition, writers usually state that the US military has always been divorced from political affairs. Even cursory research into the subject reveals the opposite; the military has often played a major role in domestic politics, and for most of our history that role was considered normal and healthy. During the nineteenth century it was common practice for US generals to dabble in politics and to actually run for political office while still in uniform. Yet, such events are passed over lightly by historians, and many still write of an American military tradition stressing the noninvolvement of the military in politics throughout our history. That is a misreading of events, but the situation did change in the aftermath of World War II, especially around the time of the Vietnam War.

Keywords:   American military tradition, George Washington, U. S. Grant, Winfield Scott, Zachary Taylor, American Civil War, Reconstruction, Korean War, Douglas MacArthur, Dwight Eisenhower, combatant commanders

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