Against All Enemies Foreign and Domestic – Barrye L. Price


All who enter the rolls of military service of the United States swear to an oath to support and defend the nation. Although much has been written about the encounters between the US armed forces and foreign adversaries (both within the borders of the United States and abroad), historical scholarship is not as extensive with respect to the Army’s role against a domestic foe—with the exception of the Indian Wars and the American Civil War. This study examines the use of federal troops (active duty unites and Federalized National Guardsmen) in quelling racial violence throughout US history—with the lion’s share of its focus on race riots during the twentieth century.  Special attention has been directed towards two symbolic events which illustrates the continued importance of the military’s role in internal security:” events in Washington, DC after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on April 4, 1968; and the ensuing riot in Los Angeles, California after the Rodney King beating trial verdict on April 29, 1992.  Although attention is given to the military’s involvement in quelling civil disturbances throughout America’s history, the primary focus of this study is the use of federal troops in Washington and Los Angeles.

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