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date: 01 April 2023

Military, The. 

Source:
The Oxford Companion to United States History
Author(s):
David F. TraskDavid F. Trask

The military exists principally to counter external threats to the nation, although on occasion it may react to domestic unrest such as civil disorder. The American military has often mirrored other nations’ armed forces, but unique circumstances have led to significant differences as well. Two influences account for these variations. European rulers often used their armies to exploit the citizenry. Many immigrants abhorred such treatment and harbored antimilitarist sentiments, which tended to limit the military and denied it an influential societal function. Moreover, the American colonies did not require a large military. To provide local defense and maintain order, voluntary (although sometimes conscripted) militia performed temporary, part-time service.... ...

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