Citizens More than Soldiers


Citizens More than Soldiers

The Kentucky Militia and Society in the Early Republic

Harry S. Laver

Studies in War, Society, and the Military Series

230 pages
12 tables, index


December 2007


$45.00 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

December 2007


$45.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

Historians typically depict nineteenth-century militiamen as drunken buffoons who stumbled into crooked lines, poked each other with cornstalk weapons, and inevitably shot their commander in the backside with a rusty, antiquated musket. Citizens More than Soldiers demonstrates that, to the contrary, the militia remained an active civil institution in the early nineteenth century, affecting the era’s great social, political, and economic transitions. In fact, given their degree of community involvement, militiamen were more influential in Kentucky’s maturation than any other formal community organization.
Citizens More than Soldiers reveals that the militia was not the atrophied remnant of the Revolution’s minutemen but an ongoing organization that maintained an important presence in American society. This study also shows that citizen-soldiers participated in their communities by establishing local, regional, and national identities, reinforcing the social hierarchy, advancing democratization and party politics, keeping the public peace, encouraging economic activity, and defining concepts of masculinity. A more accurate understanding of the militia’s contribution to American society extends our comprehension of the evolutionary processes of a maturing nation, showing, for example, how citizen-soldiers promoted nationalism, encouraged democratization, and maintained civil order. Citizens More than Soldiers is not a traditional military history of campaigns and battles but rather the story of citizen-soldiers and their contribution to the transformation of American society in the nineteenth century.

Author Bio

Harry S. Laver is an associate professor of history at Southeastern Louisiana University.


"This exceptional look into the non-military contributions of the post-Revolution militia to U.S. society is useful to any historian of the early republic or civil-military relations."B. A. Wineman, Choice

“Scholars and students of the American militia system will find this well organized and well written book to be an insightful and valuable addition to their professional libraries. Mr. Laver accomplishes his goal of interpreting the militia’s impact on the early republic’s growth. The arguments put forth widen the scope of existing studies and provide depth for the exploration of militia influences on local communities, politics, and masculinity today. Citizens More Than Soldiers is an excellent social history of a military subject.”—Journal of Military History

Table of Contents

List of Tables   


1. Rethinking the Social Role of the Militia   

2. The Hunters of Kentucky   

3. Public Gatherings and Social Order    

4. Stability and Security in a Time of Transition    

5. Proponents of Democracy and Partisanship

6. A Refuge of Manhood 

7. Fighters, Protectors, and Men   

Conclusion: Citizens More than Soldiers  





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