Nathanael Greene and the Myth of the Valiant Few

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Nathan Greene is the Revolutionary Warfare general most associated with unconventional warfare. The historiography of the southern campaign of the revolution uniformly agrees he was a guerrilla leader. Best evidence shows, however, that Nathanael Greene was completely conventional -- that his strategy, operations, tactics, and logistics all strongly resembled that of Washington in the northern theater and of the British commanders against whom he fought in the south. By establishing that Greene was within the mainstream of eighteenth-century military science this dissertation also challenges the prevailing historiography of the American Revolution in general, especially its military aspects. The historiography overwhelmingly ... continued below

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Smith, David R. December 2017.

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  • Smith, David R.

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Nathan Greene is the Revolutionary Warfare general most associated with unconventional warfare. The historiography of the southern campaign of the revolution uniformly agrees he was a guerrilla leader. Best evidence shows, however, that Nathanael Greene was completely conventional -- that his strategy, operations, tactics, and logistics all strongly resembled that of Washington in the northern theater and of the British commanders against whom he fought in the south. By establishing that Greene was within the mainstream of eighteenth-century military science this dissertation also challenges the prevailing historiography of the American Revolution in general, especially its military aspects. The historiography overwhelmingly argues the myth of the valiant few -- the notion that a minority of colonists persuaded an apathetic majority to follow them in overthrowing the royal government, eking out an improbable victory. Broad and thorough research indicates the Patriot faction in the American Revolution was a clear majority not only throughout the colonies but in each individual colony. Far from the miraculous victory current historiography postulates, American independence was based on the most prosaic of principles -- manpower advantage.

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  • December 2017

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  • Jan. 27, 2018, 7:36 a.m.

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Smith, David R. Nathanael Greene and the Myth of the Valiant Few, dissertation, December 2017; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1062831/: accessed November 17, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .