St. Clair's Defeat, Whiskey Rebellion & 1812

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    How did the Northwest Indian Wars, St. Clair’s Defeat, the Whiskey Rebellion, and the War of 1812 factor into federal and state attitudes towards the militia system and a professional army?

    Did any of these events significantly alter the American defense system?

    Is there any good reading on this topic?


    The militia’s performance was strikingly bad in the War of 1812. One result was the maintenance of a professional army ever since. I deal with militia as subjects/objects of Republican propaganda in JAMES MADISON AND THE MAKING OF AMERICA, and any account of the War of 1812 — e.g., Hickey’s — will give you the grim story.


    Wayne didn’t deal with the organization of the frontier army much differently from St. Clair, but he was a better Indian fighter and was able to defeat the tribes at the Battle of Fallen Timbers. I would say the War of 1812 had much more to do with the creation of a standing army than anything else, though it must be noted that the United States still essentially used a militia system until WWII.

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