Academic journal article Military Review

William Harding Carter and the American Army

Academic journal article Military Review

William Harding Carter and the American Army

Article excerpt

WILLIAM HARDING CARTER AND THE AMERICAN ARMY, Ronald G. Machoian, Oklahoma University Press, Norman, 2006, 388 pages, $39.95.

When one thinks of the reformers who influenced the development of the Army in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the names Emory Upton and Elihu Root come to mind. Although Upton and Root certainly contributed to the Army's reform impulse, in William Harding Carter and the American Army, Ronald G. Machoian notes that the all-but-forgotten Carter was a key figure behind the efforts to professionalize the officer corps and rationalize the American approach to war. Machoian argues that Carter's efforts to develop a lifelong Army education system and build the Army's general staff structure helped the military transition from an old frontier constabulary army to a "new" army that was better able to address the security needs of an emerging world power.

Machoian emphasizes that Carter's military service coincided with both the massive societal changes that transformed American society in the last decades of the 19th century and with Progressive Era professionalization in the civil sector (from roughly 1890 to 1920). Thus, Carter had his feet planted in both the "old" and "new" armies. As a boy, he was a volunteer messenger for the Union Army during the 1864 Battle of Nashville and, after his graduation from West Point in 1873, he served with distinction in campaigns against the Apache and the Sioux. …

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