Mobilizing Armed Force In The American Revolution

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The article “Mobilizing armed Force in the American Revolution,” written by John Shy, discusses the attitudes of the long term soldiers compared to the short term soldiers in the American Revolution. The long term soldiers had different motivating factors than of the short term soldiers. They were the men who George Washington could truly count on in the war of the colonists against the British government. William Scott was named “Long Bill” because he was one of the few soldiers who stayed in the war for years. In this article, Shy compares two types of men who served in the American Revolution: men who served year after year in the regular army and men who served from time to time in the militia. “Long Bill” was a soldier who served long term. Soldiers who served in the regular army were usually lower class farmers. They were men who struggled to make ends meet because they had small parcels of land; the majority being taken by wealthy aristocrats. “Long Bill’s” primary motivation was not for America’s independence from Britain, but the wealth and prestige that came along with it. Working in the regular army promised him advancement in life that his previous life could not provide. Shy presents these two types of soldiers with the two standard images of the response to revolutionary war. One of the images was of towns jumping to action when Paul Revere carried the message that the British were coming. The other image was of the hungry, frozen, and naked men who suffered at Valley Forge. The men who jumped to action because of Paul Revere’s message were short term soldiers. These soldiers did not attach themselves to the revolutionary cause with selfless devotion. Short term soldiers, described by George Washington in Chapter 7 of our text book, had “such an unconquerable desire of returning to their respective homes.” They deserted George Washington and went back
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