By Mr. Richard Winship Stewart, Center of Military History (U.S. Army)
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Extra resources for American Military History: The United States Army and the Forging of a Nation, 1775-1917
Modeled on the British House of Commons, these popular assemblies in the colonies rested on a much broader democratic base, since property ownership—the main qualification for voting in Britain and America in this age— 27 was far more widespread in the colonies. The colonial assemblies claimed the same prerogatives vis-a-vis the royal governor that the British Parliament exercised in its relations with the Crown, including control of the purse and regulation of the military establishment of the colony.
This yeoman class was always stronger in England than on the Continent, except in such remote or mountainous areas as Switzerland and the Scandinavian countries. Even after the Norman conquest had brought feudal institutions to England, the ancient Saxon tradition of the fyrd that required every freeman between sixteen and sixty to bear arms in defense of his country remained alive. " Vestiges of feudal institutions survived well into the twentieth century, nowhere more prominently than in European military organizations where the old feudal nobility long dominated the officer ranks and continued its traditions of honor and chivalry.
The Colonial Heritage In the Indian wars and the colonial wars with France, Americans gained considerable military experience, albeit much of it in guerrilla warfare that did not require the same degree of organized effort and professional competence as the European style of warfare. The major effort against the French in Canada had, after all, been directed by the British Government. Many colonials later to become famous in the Revolution had served their military apprenticeship as officers of middle rank in the French and Indian War: George Washington, Israel Putnam, Philip Schuyler, and John Stark, for instance, in provincial forces; Charles Lee, Horatio Gates, and Richard Montgomery in the British Army.