Although Theodore Roosevelt was not a wartime president, he took his role as commander in chief very seriously. In Command explores Roosevelt’s efforts to modernize the American military before, during, and after his presidency (1901–9). Matthew Oyos examines the evolution of Roosevelt’s ideas about military force in the age of industry and explores his drive to promote new institutions of command: technological innovations, militia reform, and international military missions. Oyos places these developments into broader themes of Progressive Era reform, civil-military tensions, and Roosevelt’s ideas of national cultural vitality and civic duty.
In Command focuses on Roosevelt’s career-long commitment to transforming the military institutions of the United States. Roosevelt’s promotion of innovative military technologies, his desire to inject the officer corps with fresh vigor, and his role in building new institutions for command changed the American military landscape. His attempt to modernize the military while struggling with the changing nature of warfare during his time resonates with and provides unique insight into the challenges presented by today’s rapidly changing strategic environment.
Matthew Oyos is a professor of history at Radford University. He has published articles on Theodore Roosevelt in the Journal of Military History, Presidential Studies Quarterly, and the Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era.
“Matthew Oyos has made an informed, balanced, and provocative contribution to the field of civil-military relations. With great clarity and insight he reveals the contributions of this most activist of presidents in the making of American global military power.”—Brian McAllister Linn, Ralph R. Thomas Professor in Liberal Arts at Texas A&M University l
“This sound, thoughtful, engaging, and persuasive book offers the first comprehensive portrait of Theodore Roosevelt’s involvement with the military. It deepens our understanding of Roosevelt as the first modern American commander in chief and the way his persona drove his interests and shaped his activities. Matthew Oyos makes an indispensable contribution to the scholarship on the presidency, on Roosevelt, and on the modernization of the American military establishment.”—Richard H. Kohn, professor emeritus of history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hil
Table of Contents
Acknowledgments Introduction 1. Beginnings 2. In the Arena 3. The New Hand on the Helm 4. Arms and the Men 5. The Institutions of Command 6. In the Fullness of It All 7. Battles without Blood 8. Looking beyond the White House 9. The Last Crusade Conclusion Notes Bibliography Index