Social Reform in the United States Navy, 1798-1862

Social Reform in the United States Navy, 1798-1862
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Harold D Langley
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The interests of most naval historians and of American historians who focus on war and diplomacy are on such topics as strategy, leadership, naval ships and battles. In contrast, this book explores the effort to change the rules, regulations and actions of officers which affected the lives, morale and the retention rates of enlisted men in an effort to build and hold a better quality of native born Americans and the strength and effectiveness of the U.S. Navy.
In the decades before the American Civil War various political, social, and religious groups agitated for reforms in American society that would be in keeping with its professed democratic and national principles. One such organization was the American Seaman’s Friend Society, which lobbied for improvements in the enlistment, discipline, and treatment of sailors in the Merchant Marine and the Navy. Their causes were embraced by some naval officers, members of Congress, and a few Secretaries of the Navy. This history explores the circumstances and people in and out of the Navy who eventually convinced Congress to enact reforms to improve the conditions of service of naval enlisted men and to lay the foundation for a career enlisted force.

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