Internal Military Interventions in the United States

by David Adams

©Journal of Peace Research
Volume 32, Number 2, 1995, Pages 197-211

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


Data on internal military interventions in the USA are presented for those periods in which they are available from US government sources: 1886-95, 1921-35 and 1943-90. Although the rate of intervention has varied from year to year and the targets of interventions have shifted from industrial workers to urban rioters, the overall rates of intervention have remained near the average during the years: about 18 interventions and 12,000 troops per year. A brief overview is given of the internal military interventions carried out before the Civil War (targeting especially American Indians and slaves), those between the Civil War and World War II, and those since World War II. Internal military surveillance has greatly increased during and after wars. There has been a tendency to blame the internal unrest which has led to military interventions on external enemies, which may have been a factor in preparation for external military action. In conclusion, the study of internal military intervention and the development of non-violent alternatives of conflict management are recommended to peace researchers and peace activists as a contribution to the abolition of war and militarism and to the construction of a culture of peace.

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