Politics and Public Culture: The Revolutionary War Pension Act of 1818

TitlePolitics and Public Culture: The Revolutionary War Pension Act of 1818
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1988
AuthorsResch, John Phillips
JournalJournal of the Early Republic
Date PublishedSummer 1988

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"The Revolutionary War Pension Act of 1818 created a new public policy. The Act provided lifetime pensions to veterans who had served at least nine months in the Continental Army and who were also 'in reduced circumstances' and 'in need of assistance from [their] country for support.' Historians have identified the importance of the pension act as a precedent for later veterans' programs. The act shattered nearly forty years of congressional resistance against awarding lifetime pensions for completing military service, and nearly eliminated veteran efforts to secure pensions through private acts in Congress. In essence, then, the act created the first national military pension establishment, run by the War Department, that also replaced service pension programs operated by a few states. By 1818 the War Department added the administration of service pensions to its responsibility of awarding pensions to disabled veterans."

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