This new volume starts with a detailed Introduction that discusses key points of war and military history beginning with ancient civilizations. A broad historical overview of war and the military explores early warfare, why wars are started, anti-war movements and protests, military spending, and the modern fluctuation of military support. A comprehensive Timeline highlights significant events from the establishment of the first policing systems in antiquity to the United States withdrawing their remaining troops from Afghanistan in 2021.
The 28 chapters that follow begin with the formation of a national American army by the Second Continental Congress and end with the newly created Space Force. Fluctuations in public support of the military are discussed in relation to the major conflicts of American history as well as to the evolution of the military. Topics include civilian control of the military through the office of the president, piracy in the early years of the Navy, the establishment of West Point, the Selective Service, the Geneva conventions, the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Cold War, 9/11, African American and Native American participation in the military, and changing perceptions and rights for women and LGBTQ individuals in the military.
From the Revolutionary War to the current US withdrawal from Afghanistan, changes in technology are discussed, as is the nature of war itself, along with public opinion on individual conflicts and its effect on how the government presents military action. As real-time images of actual combat became available to the American people, and as the theater of war changed from the homelands of major world powers to proxy settings in less-powerful countries, a gradual shift occurred, decreasing trust in the government and support for military operations. Finally, nuclear capabilities, drone warfare, and lethal autonomous weapons have raised serious questions regarding international law and what is considered acceptable in combat.
The chapters are as follows:
Each chapter starts with a brief Introduction, List of Topics Covered, and the source document discussed in the chapter. The body of the text discusses the document from its historical context to its relationship to contemporary public opinion. Most documents are reprinted in their entirety and clearly distinguished by a shaded title bar. In addition to helpful subtitles, photos and other images enhance the text, and sidebars provide an often lighter perspective on the time period being discussed. Pull quotes and other visual elements increase accessibility. Each chapter ends with a brief Conclusion, thoughtful Discussion Questions, and a list of Works Used.
The concluding chapter discusses what it means to support the military and alternatives to war. It is followed by the Historical Snapshots —a broad, bulleted overview of political, social, and cultural developments from 1880 to 2021 that help provide context and understanding of the political and social climate of the broad timeframe of the work.
This exciting new series offers a wide range of insights into long-standing issues that Americans are most concerned about, and those that have encouraged vigorous debate among politicians and citizens at large. Using carefully chosen original documents that cover a wide time span, Opinions Throughout History weaves a thoughtful and easy-to-understand analysis of how public opinion is formed and evolves, starting the discussion at an historical, seminal moment, and ending with where we stand today. This comprehensive, timely volume is a must for large public libraries, university libraries and social science departments, along with high school libraries.
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