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Sample Essay on the Us Army Since 1877

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Sample Essay on the Us Army Since 1877


The United States army is believed to have been created in 1784 according to Coffman (2009). There have been a lot changes and development in the American army since 1877. The changes have been seen in terms of their organization, composition, weapons and technology used, and the tactics since their formation. The changes have been attributed to the ever-growing complexities of the war, growth in technology, changes in the US foreign policies.


The US Army Since 1877

During the Indian war, the leadership of the United States army was under General Sherman. General Sherman had wanted the increase in the peace time army to 80000 although the policy makers were against it terming it as strenuous to the federal budget proposing 50,000.During this time, the Negro soldiers were serving as the volunteers in the army.

The army department consisted of both administrative and technical departments. A lot of dedication and professionalism characterized Sherman’s leadership. After his time, Phillip H. Sheridan took over from 1883-1888. Later, John Schofield became a leader from 1988 to1895. However, the successors of Sherman did not make much impact in their leadership.

The regular army was created by an act in the year 1866 and it continued to exist even beyond 1877. It mostly consisted of the West Point graduates and the veterans of the Civil war volunteer service. The leaders during the war included Nelson Miles, Henry Lawton, William Shaffer, and Adna Chaffee. 

The commissions were formed to address the issues on how to improve the qualities of the army service. They proposed to improve the quality of the people being recruited into the army as well as improving their pay and living standards.

            The recruitment exercise was devolved to the rural areas in order to get the health young men from the firms that could make the best soldiers. The training criteria were also upgraded to boost the quality of the army.

The year 1898 when the Spanish American war broke, the US army could be described as being somnolently decaying. There were always struggling for promotion and political interference in the army matters. The war secretary was Russell A. Alger (Cosmas,1998).

There were many reforms in recruitment, training and promotion before the Spanish American war. Specialized training was adopted by setting special colleges to offer specific trainings. The weapons were still poor because of little funds to buy better weapons.

Most of the commanders during this war were from the volunteer and regular units. Only one graduate from the west point was the command. The special officers like engineers were also included within the army during this period.

The US army had grown and well established by the start of the First World War. They joined the war in 1917 in order to offer training, operation and equipment to the French and Britain led army. Harry Truman had been elected as the lieutenant of 2d Missouri Field Artillery by that time. His leadership was recognized by the transformations he brought into the unit.

The army invented and designed machine guns that were used during this war. They designed and provided 260 heavy and 768 light machineries led by John. M Browning. The congress drafted an act that will allow the men who have turned twenty-one to join the military. 

During the year 1913, the leader Maj. Gen. Leonard Wood developed a program of training the college students. The graduates of these training colleges and camps played a key role in the First World War.

The US army on the other hand, benefitted from the French and British army the art of using the chemical weapons. The 12000 men US army that joined the war in mid July 1917 was trained on how to use these weapons.

Code talkers were utilized for the first time by the American army utilized for the first time during the war. This was later used to communicate with several other tribes during the subsequent Wars (Bateman, 2004).


According to the evidence from the study above, throughout all the wars the US army common soldiers were mostly Negros lower class citizens. However, with the growth in technology and the need to improve the army performance, the graduates and other elite members of the society were recruited and trained as soldiers.   Initially, the recruitment for the army focused in the urban areas; the focus was later focused in rural areas to recruit the health farm boys whose energy was needed in the military. The training in early wars was very casual. However, with the growth of technology and other sophisticated weapons, there was need to set up special training programs and institutions for special trainings. The army officers have been changing throughout the wars. As seen in the discussion above, several wars have had different lieutenants, war secretaries and chiefs of staff. The greatest strengths of the US army are the ability to rise up to the occasion when called upon. They are always willing to embrace the changes in tactics and technology. The greatest weakness is that the US army is always the center of interest from several quotas. Therefore, there is a very big possibility of political interference. 













Bateman, R. L. (2004). U.S. Army officers between World Wars I and II often placed personal ambition above honor. Military History21(2), 72-74.

Coffman, E. M. (2009). The Regulars: The American Army, 1898-1941. Harvard University Press.

Cosmas, G. A. (1998). An army for empire: The United States army in the Spanish-American war. College Station: Texas A & M Univ. Press.



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