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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Bruce W Hevly
HSTAA 212
Seattle Campus

The Military History of the United States From Colonial Times to the Present

Development of American military policies, organizational patterns, tactics, and weaponry, from beginnings as a seventeenth-century frontier defense force to the global conflicts and military commitments of the twentieth century. Interaction and tension between need for an effective military force and concept of civilian control of that force.

Class description

This course will provide a narrative overview of American military and naval history from the 18th century until the late twentieth. It emphasizes the range of historical approaches that can be applied to this subject. We will examine the development of institutions such as the professional standing Army, Navy, Marine Corps and (in the recent past) Air Force; state militias and National Guards, as well as Volunteer units; Selective Service; command and general staffs; and the history of technical expertise in the services. We will also discuss key episodes in periods of conflict from the Colonial Period to the beginning of the twenty-first century, and the processes of integrating the armed services, dealing with the concerns of military veterans in civil society, and the memory and memorialization of armed conflict.

Student learning goals

Students should have command of the basic narrative of US military and naval history.

Students should understand the evolution of military institutions in the US.

Students will learn to discuss the intersection of civilian and military cultures, as conditioned by public and political values.

Students will consider how military institutions shaped ideas of citizenship and behavior for the civilian population.

Special emphasis on the history of science and technology in the military context.

General method of instruction

Lectures, with discussions of lecture topics and assigned readings as possible. This is designed to be a large lecture class; out of class interaction with instructors (lecturer and teaching assistants) in office hours and other venues encouraged but not required.

Recommended preparation

No prerequisites; some background in American history may be useful.

Class assignments and grading

Readings in primary and secondary sources, in weekly units.

Several short papers in response to assigned readings; two midterm exams plus a a final examination.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Bruce W Hevly
Date: 01/22/2014