With the propriety and decorum which characterize the society of gentlemen, the United States Naval Academy and its youth, 1845-1861

by Hunter, Mark C.

Abstract (Summary)
This thesis is a social history of naval officer education at A~apolis. Maryland from 1845 to the outbreak of Civil War. Naval Academy historians have largely conducted administrative histories without looking too deeply at the students. their goais. or life at the institution. Even though the students were adolescents. no one has looked at the intersection of Academy and youth history. nor has anyone placed law and discipline there neithin this frame\\.ork. This thesis will show that the establishment of the Naval School at Amapoiis in 1845 represented a continuity with the oider naval education system. but by 1849reforrns began kvhich broke this continuity with the School's renaming to the Academy in 1850 and then the establishment of a four-year training program. The Academy showed a greater concsrn nith the students as youths ~vho needed a longer period of nurturing before going to sea. This \vas exemplified in 1851 with the establishment of the summer training cruises u.hich provided the students with a safe environment for introduction to sea life. The Academy becarne a intermediate place where middle-class youths were introduced to naval Iife. This new Academy was more in tune with the middle-class view that adolescents should be raised in a safe transitional area. and it catered to youths just beginning lifè away from their parents. unlike the older youths of the School era. Youth historians have disco~eered that in this period middle-class youths went frorn iearning the sarne trades as their fathers. ofien at home. to having more personal career choice. But in return the middle class u-anted their children schooled for a future career in a controlled. structured environment w.hich catered to them as " youths " rather than " adults. " This thesis will show that the Academy became a transitional phase in these middle-class youths' lives while they decided if they liked a naval career.
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Source Type:Master's Thesis



Date of Publication:01/01/1999

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