Military Capacity of the US as a Young Nation Essay
The construction of the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1801 was very important in strengthening the young nation’s military capacity. However, Jucar says that the choice of location of this academy at West Point was politically controversial (75). The Continental Army occupied West Point on January 27, 1778, and with the help of Polish Engineer Thaddeus Kosciuszko, developed a fortified garrison that was capable of resisting the advance on the British army.
West Point became an important military base for the young nation. However, in 1779, Major General Benedict Arnold who was the commander of this military base made a plot to sell the garrison to the British army. This act of treason almost brought the young nation that was still struggling to fight the colonial forces to its knees. It took the intervention of the senior commanders of the continental army to protect the garrison from the attack by the British forces.
The choice of West Point as a military academy was politically controversial given its history. The site was a constant reminder of the very first treason committed by a trusted military commander holding a very senior position in the army. To many, the location was chosen to constantly remind the cadets under training that they had to be loyal to their country and that they stand to lose by betraying their country. However, some scholars have argued that the memory of the betrayal should be forgotten hence the location of the academy was inappropriate. Given that General Arnold was never convicted and was successful after defecting to the British camp, it may give the trainees the impression that sometimes one can get away with treason (Lipsky 85).
According to Toll, several factors in the international realm supported the creation of the United States Navy in October 1775 (68). First, the young nation needed to protect its maritime borders from possible invasion by foreign forces. The best way of doing this was through the establishment of a naval force. Soon after the end of the American Revolution War, the country became concerned about the rampant cases of piracy by the Barbary pirates who were operating in the Mediterranean (Morison 112). Their activities were directly affecting trade in the United States. The only way of fighting these pirates was to establish an active naval unit that would protect merchants and their ships while in the high seas.
According to Morris and Kearns, another factor that made it necessary for the United States to establish the navy was because of the need to fight the slave trade and slavery within the continent (45). Soon after gaining independence, the country pledged to fight the slave trade and slavery in the continent. However, it was not easy fighting this established trade because of the weak naval forces. The construction of the United States Navy was, therefore, critical in empowering the American military to fight this trade in the high seas. The Quasi-War of 1798-99 also made it necessary to have a standing army in the high seas (George 78). Since the country had gained independence from the British rule, it was still facing several threats from other foreign forces, including the French forces. To be in a better position to protect itself, it needed a strong naval force.
George, Daniel. The impetus behind the creation of the United States Naval Reserve. New York: Biblioscholar, 2012. Print.
Jucar, Jowati. Military Academy of Malaysia Compared with West Point: Learning Environments and New Technology. New York: Dissertation Com, 2013. Print.
Lipsky, David. Absolutely American: Four Years at West Point. New York: Cengage, 2003. Print.
Morison, Samuel. History of United States Naval Operations in World War II: The Invasion of France and Germany: 1944-1945. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2002. Print.
Morris, James, and Patricia Kearns. Historical Dictionary of the United States Navy. Lanham: Scarecrow Press, 2011. Print.
Toll, Ian. Six Frigates: The Epic History of the Founding of the U.s. Navy. New York: W.W. Norton & Co, 2008. Print.
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