HSTAA 212: Sample Examination Questions, the Sequel
1. Explain how the roles assigned to the U.S. Army between 1865 and 1898 "served to
marginalize and alienate if from American society"?
- Turned to once again support national policy. Army used to protect railroad
construction crews, opened new roads, charted unexplored regions, occupied Alaska, improved
rivers and harbors. Forced to hold martial law in the south. Strike breaking. These last two put
them against Southerners and workers, respectively.
2. Discuss the nature of American warfare with the Native American people in the West in the
second half of the 19th century.
- Conflict intensifying because citizens soldiers had been extremely brutal. The
government had signed treaties with Indians but broke them when gold and silver were
discovered and railroads were being constructed the Indians were forced to reservations which
they hated and fought against. Army brought in; must balance between society wanting peace
and some also wanting to wipe them out. Very hostile environment, small number of troops and
inadequate training and weapons, extremes weather, drought, cold, and vast distances. Indians
are worthy adversaries, but whites use strategy(Indians hardly ever do), Indians don’t stand and
fight thus decisive victories require ruthless total war on fixed Indian camps(winter camps were
best because they hunted in the summer). Army used other Indian tribes in almost all battles.
Mostly pursuits and skirmishes.
3. What were the principal ideas advanced by Alfred Thayer Mahan and explain their impact at
home and abroad. How and why was Mahan's influence so different from that of Emory Upton
at that time?
Mahan: America needs “navalism”, naval power is part of greatness and is needed to truly be a great
country. American ships were an embarrassment and old. He wanted a professional, modern navy to
project power abroad. He wrote a book on the history of British naval power from 1660 to 1785. We
needed a powerful battle fleet to take on enemy battle fleets, navy bases, use of coal, give up privateer
use. All this will allow us to go anywhere at sea and limit others from doing that. His ideas were used in
countries around the world. England became great nation by controlling Sea and commerce. US needed
be aggressive in competition for world trade, he wanted to annex Hawaii, wanted colonies
Upton: Did not like the generalship, use of frontal assaults, more skill could have saved lives. He focused
on tactics, simplicity of drills, specialty training, less dense attack formations and intelligent initiative
needed. He ends up arriving at drastic policy change later, America needs large standing professional
army, backed with reserves, professional general class, less civilian control over military matters. Ideas
go against most American traditions, it was based strongly on Germany which would not work here.
4. Why might someone refer to the conflict with Spain as "a splendid little war"? Why might