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Accession Number ADA573760
Title General McClellan and the Politicians Revisited.
Publication Date 2012
Media Count 16p
Personal Author E. S. Rafuse
Abstract Along with the Newburgh Conspiracy of 1783 and Harry Truman's tangles with Douglas MacArthur during the Korean War, George B. McClellan's problematic career as a general during the Civil War is frequently held up as one of the great episodes of tension, if not crisis, in the history of American civil-military relations. In 1987, British scholar Brian Holden Reid published an essay in this journal titled 'General McClellan and the Politicians,' in which he provided an insightful and compelling discussion of the events and forces that shaped McClellan's dealings with Washington during his tenure in command. In the decades since the appearance of Reid's essay, though, a rich body of literature has appeared on both the Civil War and the subject of civil- military relations. It seems worthwhile to revisit the subject of Reid's essay and consider what insight the outpouring of recent theoretical literature on civil-military relations may offer on how we think about McClellan's dealings with Washington during his time in command. If one follows the dictates of the authors referred to in this article, and views McClellan as but one member of a national security organization amongst whom a proper dialogue took place during the Civil War in search of concordance, aspects of his conduct that appear condemnable in the Huntingtonian paradigm may be understood as not just acceptable but appropriate. By the same token, complaints by McClellan and his defenders about intrusions into military matters by members of Congress and the Lincoln administration must also be deemed wrongheaded. Freed from the need to worry about whether they adhere to an artificial concept of how generals and statesmen should interact, one needs to focus on the question of effectiveness. In the end, the true test of civil-military relations is whether members of a country's national security structure achieve a complementary relationship between political ends and military ways and means.
Keywords Abraham Lincoln
Civil war(United states)
Civilian-military relations
Community relations
Decision making
George B Mcclellan
Interagency coordination
Military commanders
Military history
Military operations
Military planning
Military strategy
National security
Political parties
President(United States)

Source Agency Non Paid ADAS
NTIS Subject Category 92 - Behavior & Society
74G - Military Operations, Strategy, & Tactics
Corporate Author Army Command and General Staff Coll., Fort Leavenworth, KS.
Document Type Journal article
Title Note Journal article.
NTIS Issue Number 1318
Contract Number N/A

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