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A Rabble in ArmsMassachusetts Towns and Militiamen during King Philip's War$
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Kyle F. Zelner

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780814797181

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814797181.001.0001

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Introduction

Introduction

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction
Source:
A Rabble in Arms
Author(s):

Kyle F. Zelner

Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9780814797181.003.0001

This introductory chapter argues for the importance of studying the interactions between war and society in early American militias. No one before now has systematically examined the identity of soldiers in the seventeenth century, the structure that selected them to fight (and left others safe at home), and the way in which those choices reflected early colonial values. Contrary to some early preliminary studies of military historians, the men sent off to war in seventeenth-century New England were not a representational cross section of their communities. While the peacetime general militia operated under a universal military obligation (of every man from sixteen to sixty) such was not the case during wartime. The militia committees worked hard to protect their towns, families, and the entire society by choosing the right men to send to war and the right men to keep at home.

Keywords:   social history, early American warfare, early American militias, military history, seventeenth-century New England, colonial values

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