Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



Between 1803 and 1835, the U.S. Army established a significant presence throughout parts of the American South, most notably in Louisiana, Florida, and near ports and cities along the Atlantic Coast. Although several factors contributed the Army’s growth in these regions, one of the most important was slaveholders’ increasing reliance upon it to expand and protect American slavery. For many white southerners, the Army’s critical task in protecting their treasured institution was to suppress slave revolts and to prevent the conflagration of war and revolution that had engulfed other slave societies throughout the Caribbean and Latin America. Throughout this period, a series of slave conspiracies and revolts terrified the slaveholding South and many national leaders of the increasing possibility of slave war in the United States. Fearful that the Native, enslaved, and free black populations of these regions might revolt and spark a larger conflict, southern officials and slaveholders increasingly embraced a standing army. They pressured state legislators, Army officers, and national leaders for a larger, more active, and enduring presence of U.S. troops in their communities. Many of their efforts succeeded and resulted in the federal manning of arsenals and the establishment of Jackson Barracks in New Orleans. That story, the subject of this dissertation, reveals the Army’s role in protecting slavery, the origins of southern militarism, and the importance of slave revolts to the history of the American South.



Committee Chair

Sheehan-Dean, Aaron



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