The Continental Army

TitleThe Continental Army
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsCox, Caroline
EditorGray, Edward G., and Jane Kamensky
Book TitleThe Oxford Handbook of the American Revolution
PublisherOxford University Press

Caroline Cox's essay examines how the Continental Army offered an opportunity for mobility, both social and literal, to the men who served as army participation enabled them to see new places, meet new people and feel part of something larger than themselves. During the American Revolution, tens of thousands of men joined the Continental army to fight Britain and became skilled professionals in the process. Whether enriched or embittered by their time with the army, the tens of thousands of veterans of the Continental community had been part of a new national enterprise in ways their fellow citizens had not. While legally separate from the society that created it, the army nevertheless reflected the tensions of the larger world. It resolved these in an ultimately conservative way, creating an institution in which everyone had assigned status and roles. 

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