Dr. Samuel Watson

Dr. Samuel Watson




Professor Watson taught at Houston Community College, Texas Southern University, and the University of St. Thomas in Houston between 1993 and 1999. He began his service at West Point in 1999 as an assistant professor in the Military History Division, moved to the American History Division in 2002, was promoted to associate professor in 2005, and to full professor in 2013. Professor Watson chairs the USMA Faculty Manual Committee, serves on the Superintendent’s Civilian Faculty Advisory Council, chaired the Academic Freedom Advisory and the Library committees, and has led or participated in more than twenty cadet and new instructor training staff rides at West Point. He is an author and editor for The West Point History of the American Revolution, The West Point History of the Civil War, and The West Point History of Warfare. In 2014 his books Jackson's Sword and Peacekeepers and Conquerors together won the Society for Military History’s Distinguished Book Award. Professor Watson is an elected trustee of the Society for Military History, and served as its northeastern regional coordinator, on its Moncado Article Prize Committee, and as chair of its Coffman First Manuscript Prize Committee. He served as a reviewer for federal National Historical Public Records Commission grant applications for the Papers of the War Department (1784-1800) and the Papers of Ulysses Grant. He has served as a book manuscript referee for thirteen presses and as an article manuscript referee for twelve different scholarly journals. He has written nearly eighty book reviews in scholarly journals and has presented more than forty papers at academic conferences, as well as more than twenty talks to the public.

Ongoing Research Projects

Editor, The Oxford Handbook of American Military History (Oxford University Press)
Federal Diplomats:  The U.S. Army Officer Corps on the Early National Frontier, 1784-1813 (University Press of Kansas)

“James Monroe, the Army, and American National Security:  A Lifetime of Connection Fraught with Paradox,” Virginia Magazine of History and Biography (forthcoming, January 2020).

Publications & Presentations

Peacekeepers and Conquerors: The Army Officer Corps on the American Frontier, 1821-1846 (University Press of Kansas, 2013).  
Jackson's Sword: The Army Officer Corps on the American Frontier, 1810-1821 (Kansas, 2012).
Editor and chapter author, The West Point History of the American Revolutionary War
(Simon and Schuster, 2017).  Army Historical Foundation Distinguished Writing Award, 2017.
Editor, The West Point History of the Civil War (Simon and Schuster, 2014).  
Army Historical Foundation Distinguished Writing Award, 2014.
Volume editor for North America to 1900, for The West Point History of Warfare (2013).  
Society for Military History/George C. Marshall Foundation Prize for the Use of Digital Technology Teaching Military History, 2016.
West Point History of Warfare chapter 24, “Warfare and the American Nation-State:  
Military Development, 1783-1845.” 
“Military Learning and Adaptation Shaped by Social Context: The U.S. Army and Its ‘Indian Wars,’ 1790-1890,” Journal of Military History [JMH] 82 (April 2018): 371-412.
 “Andrew Jackson, Territorial Expansion and Civil-Military Relations,” in James E. Cusick and Sherry Johnson, eds., Jackson in Florida, 1814-1821 (Florida Historical Society Press, 2016), 287-95.
“Surprisingly Professional: Trajectories in Army Officer Corps Drawdowns, 1783-1848,” in Jason W. Warren, ed., Drawdown: The American Way of Postwar (New York: New York University Press, 2016), 73-106.
“Florida Forays, Fiascos, and Conquests:  Andrew Jackson, John Quincy Adams, and the First Seminole War,” Routledge Handbook of U.S. Military and Diplomatic History (2015).
 “The Army Secures the Mississippi Valley:  Officers, Filibusters, and Spain, 1793-1798,” Southern Studies:  An Interdisciplinary Journal 20 (Winter 2013-14): 33-63.
 “Conquerors, Peacekeepers, or Both?  The U.S. Army and West Florida, 1810-1811, a New Perspective,” Florida Historical Quarterly (Fall 2013): 69-105.
“Trusting to ‘the Chapter of Accidents’: Contingency, Necessity, and Self-Constraint in Jeffersonian National Security Policy,” Journal of Military History 76 (October 2012): 973-1000.
“Continuity in Civil-Military Relations and Expertise:  The U.S. Army during the Decade before the Civil War,” Journal of Military History 75 (January 2011): 221-50.
“Seminole Strategy, 1812-1842,” in William Belko, ed., America’s Hundred Years War: U. S. Expansion to the Gulf Coast and the Fate of the Seminole, 1763-1858 (University Press of Florida, 2010), 155-80.
“Soldier, Expansionist, Politician: Eleazer Wheelock Ripley and the Dance of Ambition in the Early American Republic,” in Gene A. Smith, ed., Nexus of Empire: Loyalty and National Identity in the Gulf Borderlands, 1763-1835 (University Press of Florida, 2010), 321-46.
Historiography of “The U.S. Army to 1900,” in James C. Bradford, ed., The Blackwell Companion to American Military History (Blackwell, 2009), 338-59.
“How the Army Became Accepted: West Point Socialization, Military Accountability, and the Nation-State during the Jacksonian Era,” American Nineteenth Century History 7 (June 2006): 217-49.
“Armed Forces, Revolution, and Counterrevolution,” in James V. DeFronzo, ed., Revolutionary Movements in World History, vol. 1 (Santa Barbara, Ca.: ABC-CLIO, 2006).
Compiled and wrote introductory essay for), The International Library of Essays in Military History: Warfare in the USA, 1783-1861 (Ashgate Publishing, 2005) (introduction xv-li).
 “Developing ‘Republican Machines’:  West Point and the Struggle to Render the Officer Corps Safe for America,” in Robert M.S. McDonald, ed., Thomas Jefferson's Military Academy: Founding West Point (University Press of Virginia, 2004), 154-81.
“The Growth of the Professional Army, 1815-1860,” in James C. Bradford, ed., The Oxford Atlas of American Military History (Oxford University Press, 2003).
Chapters to 1865, in Joseph V. Tombrello, ed., The West Point Bicentennial, 1802-2002 (USMA Association of Graduates, 2002), 1-23.
 “Thomas Sidney Jesup: Soldier, Bureaucrat, Gentleman Democrat,” in Michael A. Morrison, ed., The Human Tradition in Antebellum America (Scholarly Resources, 2000), 99-114.
“’This Thankless . . . Unholy War’: Army Officers and Civil-Military Relations in the Second Seminole War,” in David Dillard and Randal Hall, eds., The Southern Albatross: Race and Ethnicity in the South (Mercer University Press, 1999), 9-49.
“Army Officers Fight the ‘Patriot War’: Reactions to Filibustering on the Canadian Border, 1837-1839,” Journal of the Early Republic 18 (Fall 1998): 485-519.
“Knowledge, Interest, and the Limits of Military Professionalism: The Discourse on American Coastal Defense, 1815-1860,” War in History 5 (July 1998): 280-307.
 “The Uncertain Road to Manifest Destiny: Army Officers and the Course of American Territorial Expansionism, 1815-1846,” in Sam W. Haynes and Christopher Morris, eds., Manifest Destiny and Empire: American Antebellum Expansionism (Texas A&M Press, 1997), 68-114.
“Manifest Destiny and Military Professionalism: Junior U.S. Army Officers’ Attitudes toward War with Mexico, 1844-1846,” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 99 (April 1996): 467-498.
“Flexible Gender Roles during the Market Revolution:  Family, Friendship, Marriage, and Masculinity among U.S. Army Officers, 1815-1846," Journal of Social History 29 (Fall 1995): 81-106.
“Religion and Combat Motivation in the Confederate Armies,” JMH 58 (January 1994): 29-55.