Full Text

Chapter Forty-two. The Military, Civil Disorder, and Natural Disasters, 1877–2007

Charles A. Byler

Subject History » Military History
Study of History » Historiography

Place Northern America » United States of America

Key-Topics American Civil War, violence, war

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405161497.2010.00044.x


Militaries exist primarily to fight wars, but the historical record is filled with examples of the military serving other purposes as well. A significant aspect of the American military's experience from the late nineteenth century onward involved efforts to re-establish order in cases of civil unrest or to relieve the distress caused by natural disasters. The military's responsibility for helping to maintain domestic order and aid disaster victims meant that soldiers have played an important part in momentous events in the nation's past, including such human-instigated actions as strikes, race riots, and antiwar protests and such acts of nature as floods, earthquakes, and hurricanes. Considering the importance of the military's role in responding to civil disturbances and natural calamities, surprisingly few scholars have written works that focus on the subject of military intervention. Books on specific episodes of disorder and disaster are more common, but many of them merely describe the actions of the troops and offer little analysis of the legal, political, and operational issues that have arisen when soldiers appear on the streets to restore order or assist the victims of disaster. Although the scholarship on military intervention in cases of domestic disorder is not extensive, enough exists to help define some key issues regarding the subject. One issue concerns the decision ... log in or subscribe to read full text

Log In

You are not currently logged-in to Blackwell Reference Online

If your institution has a subscription, you can log in here:


     Forgotten your password?

Find out how to subscribe.

Your library does not have access to this title. Please contact your librarian to arrange access.

[ access key 0 : accessibility information including access key list ] [ access key 1 : home page ] [ access key 2 : skip navigation ] [ access key 6 : help ] [ access key 9 : contact us ] [ access key 0 : accessibility statement ]

Blackwell Publishing Home Page

Blackwell Reference Online ® is a Blackwell Publishing Inc. registered trademark
Technology partner: Semantico Ltd.

Blackwell Publishing and its licensors hold the copyright in all material held in Blackwell Reference Online. No material may be resold or published elsewhere without Blackwell Publishing's written consent, save as authorised by a licence with Blackwell Publishing or to the extent required by the applicable law.

Back to Top