Internal Military Intervention in the United States
1. Defining the Problem Page 2

Title/Summary page

1. Defining the Problem
Pages 1-2

2. Internal Military Interventions before 1877
Pages 3-4-5

3. The Era of Industrial Warfare
Pages 6-7-8-9

4. Internal Military Interventions since World War II
Pages 10-11

5.Internal Military Surveillance
Pages 12-13

6. Internal War and the External Enemy
Pages 14-15-16

7. Relevance for Peace Researchers and Activists
Pages 17-18-19

Table I

Page 20

Table II

Page 21

Table III

Page 22

Page 23

Copyright Agreement
Page 24


The data have been subdivided into a number of sub-categories in Table III in order to facilitate comparisons with data from previous periods of history. The categories of civil rights, labor disputes, anti-war and anti-nuclear activities, college disturbances, interventions in overseas possessions, those involving American Indians, and prison disorders have been listed separately, leaving the interventions in urban riots in the category of 'civil disturbances' . These categories, along with suppression of unemployed activities, guarding prisoners, and pursuit of bandits and bank robbers, correspond to those used by the government sources for the earliest periods where full data are available.

The history of internal interventions in the USA can be divided into three periods marked by two watersheds, the Civil War and World War II. Prior to the Civil War and Reconstruction, the principal targets of internal interventions were slaves and Native Americans. After the wave of strikes of 1877, the principal target shifted to labor activists, beginning what was called in those days the class war or industrial warfare. World War II marked another watershed, after which the principal target shifted from organized workers to the disorganized unemployed who took part in urban riots. Although the number of troops used in internal interventions has varied from year to year, the overall rates of intervention have not changed very much from one historical period to another.

The main body of this article consists of a description of internal military interventions in the three periods of US history that are indicated above. Following that, consideration is given to internal military surveillance, which has tended to peak during periods of external war, and to the blaming of internal military actions on an external enemy image. Finally, it is argued that the study of internal military intervention and the development of non-violent alternatives to its functions would be a substantial contribution to the abolition of war and militarism and the construction of a culture of peace.

(End of chapter)

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