Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Government and International Affairs

Major Professor

Nicolas Thompson, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Steven Tauber, Ph.D.

Committee Member

M. Scott Solomon, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Julia Irwin, Ph.D.


Army, Conscription, Draft, Patriotism, State, War


The purpose of this project is to examine the growth of the American military service regimes along with how the American State used those regimes to construct American identity. To accomplish this, this project looks at the length of American war as a dependent variable from the types of war fought and the military service regimes. Over the course of this study, we examine four distinct eras: the militia regime, the coercive regime, the Peacetime Draft, and the All-Volunteer Force. Each of these correspond to various types of identity development, which include individual state, regional/national, international, and retrospective identity, respectively. This project takes a mixed-methods approach to examining these variables, using history, general observations, and quantitative data to provide a thorough analysis of how military service helps to shape American identity over time. The results of the analysis show that, over time, the development of American identity in its numerous forms corresponded to the type of military service regime, where individual states created militias and state-identity, conscription regimes created regional and national identities, the Peacetime Draft created an international identity, the lack of conscription created a retrospective identity. By the end, this project shows that the use of the All-Volunteer Force is both lengthening American war, as seen in Iraq and Afghanistan, and leaving open a space where American identity is no longer being constructed by the State.