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

Hunter, Mark C. (1999) "... With the propriety and decorum which characterize the society of gentlemen": the United States Naval Academy and its youth, 1845-1861. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

This thesis is a social history of naval officer education at Annapolis, 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 goals, 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 within this framework. This thesis will show that the establishment of the Naval School at Annapolis in 1845 represented a continuity with the older naval education system, but by 1849 reforms began which 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 concern with the students as youths who needed a longer period of nurturing before going to sea. This was exemplified in 1851 with the establishment of the summer training cruises which provided the students with a safe environment for introduction to sea life. The Academy became a intermediate place where middle-class youths were introduced to naval life. -- 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 life away from their parents, unlike the older youths of the School era. Youth historians have discovered that in this period middle-class youths went from learning the same trades as their fathers, often at home, to having more personal career choice. But in return the middle class wanted their children schooled for a future career in a controlled, structured environment which 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.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/1376
Item ID: 1376
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 294-303.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > History
Date: 1999
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: United States
Library of Congress Subject Heading: United States Naval Academy--History; Midshipmen--Education--United States--History; Naval education--United States--History; United States--History, Naval--To 1900

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