A lot of things have changed over the centuries since Europeans began to settle in the Americas. From fighting to survive a winter to a bustling nation of great strength; the same applies to the military, which ever form it took on as either the militias of old or the US Armed Forces at the time of World War 1 (WWI). The military has evolved greatly and have learned a lot from their past failures and successes; such as the the need for a central army, the need for a standing army even in times of ‘peace,’ and the effectiveness of total war.
The first and foremost most important thing that the US Armed Forces has learned is the need for a central army. While the militias of old proved effective in the defense of their towns and villages against Native American raids and wild-life attacks, the government(s) soon realized that they were not effective in battle against nations with central armies. This was made clear in the Revolutionary War. The vast majority of the militias were inadiquitly trained in the military tactics of the day and did not fare well in the line up and shoot style of battles that were fought. Most militia men would flee once the battle commence because they did not have the discipline needed to stand face the enemy while bullets where flying, taking out men all around them. For this very reason, the Continental Congress raised up the Continental Army. The Continental Army was trained to have the discipline to keep on fighting and taking orders even when their fellow brothers-in-arms were dying all around them.
Another important thing that the US Armed Forces learned was the need to have a standing army, even in times of ‘peace.’ After the Revolutionary War, the US Congress did not see it necessary to have a standing army at a federal level in times of ‘peace.’ Instead, each state was charged with keeping and maintaining militias. Congress soon learned that this was a mistake. When Shays’ Rebellion took place, the US Government did not have the means to raise up an army comprised of the states’ militias in time to suppress the rebellion before too much was lost. After the rebels were suppressed, the lawmakers soon saw the errors of their ways and called a convention to write the Constitution of the United States of America, which included a federal, standing military that would exist both in times of war and peace.
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