CONNECTING PEOPLE TO IDEAS AND TO EACH OTHER
CONNECTING PEOPLE TO IDEAS AND TO EACH OTHER

Why Do We Salute Volunteer Soldiers but Scorn Professional Warriors?

Since the Mexican-American War, Army Regulars Haven't Always Been Treated as Heroes

In the United States today, citizens often express their patriotism through the celebration of military service. Politicians, sports leagues, and charities ask Americans to show special reverence and gratitude to military personnel.

Such an attitude is not as traditional as it may seem. In the mid-19th century, as the United States faced war with Mexico, professional soldiers were not seen as patriots or exemplars of anything.

In 1846, when President James Polk began his effort to strong-arm Mexico out of much of its territory, the first instrument at hand was …

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