Mercenaries in the American Revolution

10 February 2009

Richard Bradshaw, “A Review of Mercenaries: The History of a Norm in International Relations, by Sarah Percy,” Mercenary Matters, February 2009 (continuing Mercenaries and Norms, January 2009)

Chapter 1 of Percy’s Mercenaries, entitled “Norms, Their Influence, and How They Can Be Studied,” provides a useful overview of how scholars supporting various theoretical positions have analyzed issues relating to mercenaries, but unfortunately it bases its own argument in favor of the constructivist viewpoint on inaccurate historical evidence. Percy explains that scholars generally agree about what a norm is but differ over whether and to what degree norms influence the behavior of states. She compares the “rationalist” views of structural realists, who argue that norms “have no independent effect on state behavior,” [1] with the also “rationalist” approach of neoliberals, who regard the role of norms as “limited or instrumental” but that might create a “cost” which a state needs to consider in making a decision.[2] Then she compares these views to those of constructivists who insist that norms “are crucial to explaining politics because they constitute state identity, and therefore interests.”[3] Since the interests of states regarding “the desirability of deploying private force have changed enormously, in ways that cannot be accounted for by material factors,” Percy argues, “norms against mercenary use can help explain how state interests on the question of private force have changed and if they are  likely to remain the same.”[4]

According to constructivists, international law “actually reflects norms.” Norms often have an ethical component, and the anti-mercenary in particular “has a strong ethical component.” Norms also “shape what states define as their interests” and “set the rules of the game.”[5] Percy thus rejects the claim of structural realists who insist that states determine their interests by examining the distribution of power in an international system and act accordingly. But when she offers an example to illustrate how norms influence the behavior of states, Percy repeats conventional and inaccurate historical views which no well-read student of the American Revolution would credit. She states that during the American Revolution, the rebels defined their new state as a republic which was “doubly virtuous” because it depended upon a citizen army and it fought against mercenaries. To have used mercenaries “would have been difficult because it would have been deeply at odds with American identity.”[6] In fact, the American rebels began engaging Indian auxiliaries even before the clash at Lexington and Concord, the Continental army employed European soldiers of fortune and included several foreign legions, and citizen-soldier militiamen and provincial troops soon became less important than a standing army increasingly composed of foreigners, paid substitutes, slaves, and other poor and marginal members of colonial societies.[7]

In July 1775, Ethan Allen of Vermont sent a message to the Iroquois in which he promised that if their warriors would join with him “like Brothers and Ambush the Regulars,” he would “Give you Money Blankets Tomehawks Knives and Paint and the Like as much as you say…”[8] On 19 April 1776, George Washington wrote a letter to the president of the Continental Congress in which he asserted “it will be impossible to keep” the American Indians “in a state of neutrality” and so “I submit to congress, whether it will not be better immediately to engage them on our side.”[9] On 28 May 1776, the day after George Washington arrived in Philadelphia for consultation regarding military matters, Congress resolved “that it is highly expedient to engage the Indians in the service of the United Colonies.” On 3 June Washington was authorized to employ two thousand Canadian Indians, and on 14 June the Congress’s commissioners of the northern department were authorized “to engage the Six Nations in our interest on the best terms that can be procured.” In other words, the commissioners were to employ Indians at the best price possible. On 17 June Washington was authorized “to offer a reward of one hundred dollars for every commissioned officer, and thirty dollars for every private soldier of the King’s troops that they should take prisoners in the Indian country on in the frontier of these colonies.”[10]

Nevertheless, with a view of soliciting sympathy for their cause, the Americans decided to address an open letter to the people of Ireland in which they complained that “the wild and barbarous savages of the wilderness have been solicited by gifts to take up the hatchet against us, and instigated to deluge our settlements with the blood of defenseless women and children.”[11] 

An early as the 1840s, historian Jared Sparks remarked that: 

During the former wars in America between the English and the French, it has been customary on each side to solicit aid from Indians, and employ them as auxiliaries. Such had been uniform practice of the first settlement of the country, and it was to be presumed that the same system would be pursued in the Revolution…[12]

Then, alluding to the ferocity and savagery of the Indians, the Sparks added:

it is no wonder that the policy of seeking their alliance, or even permitting there any, should be regarded by every friend of humanity with unqualified reprobation. Writers of all parties have united in condemning the practice, so unjustifiable in itself, and so hostile to the principles of civilization, while at the same time belligerents of all parties have continued to follow it, even down to the late war [of 1812] between England and the United States….It has been usual in America to represent the English is much the more censurable on this score in the revolutionary war….But such is not the equitable mode of touching on the subject… historical justice must award to the Americans their due share of the blame. [13]

To paraphrase this passage in the language of contemporary international relations theory, despite the existence of a strong norm against employing mercenaries, the Americans used mercenaries from the moment they stepped ashore in Virginia, and continued to do so through the French and Indian Wars, the American Revolution, and the War of 1812. Clearly it was not “difficult” to employ mercenaries even if it was “deeply at odds with American identity.”[14]

Despite the fact that “writers of all parties” were “united in condemning the practice” of hiring mercenaries, which was “so hostile to the principles of civilization,” the establishment and expansion of British colonies in the Americas was assisted, at every stage, by the employment of mercenaries.[15] John Smith of Jamestown fame was “by trade a mercenary, a soldier of fortune,”[16] and even the Pilgrims who established a colony at Plymouth Rock took the precaution of hiring Miles Standish, “the Hero of New England,” as a military contractor before setting sail.[17] Lion Gardiner, an English soldier employed as mercenary by the Prince of Orange, was hired by the Connecticut Company as a military contractor in 1635, and became the first British settler of New York. Captain John Underhill worked as a military contractor for both Massachusetts Bay Colony and for New Amsterdam under the Dutch.[18]

Recently, again, historian Daniel Marston noted that:

The fact that German troops for you as part of the British Army in North America called great consternation amongst the American colonial population and like-minded people in Great Britain. Their presence has historically been given as a reason why the American people dislike and distrust mercenaries. This is a simplistic and somewhat critical argument, especially considering that the American commanders apparently had no qualms about accepting the services of various soldiers of fortune from Europe.[19]

Marston added that some of these European soldiers of fortune, “notably Frederick William Augustus, Baron von Steuben and Guilbert Mottier, Marquis de Layfayette, played instrumental roles in the development of the Continental Army and were accordingly awarded high-ranking positions.” He also noted the existence of  several “foreign” legions fighting for the Americans, “including Pulaski’s Legion, Von Heer’s Provost Corps and Brigadier-General Charles Tuffin Armand’s Independent Chasseurs.”[20]

Additionally, once the French officially entered the war as allies of the Americans, the French forces employed considerable number of mercenary troops within their ranks.  Nearly one-fifth of the French Army in France and overseas was made up of foreign [mercenary] troops; the famous Lauzon Legion, which served with distinction in the American colonies, was made up of foreigners whose word of command was German.[21]

As for the Revolutionary military officers, in 1777 John Adams complained to his wife Abigail that they were “Scrambling for Rank and Pay like Apes for Nuts.”[22]

[1] J.J. Mearsheimer, “The False Promise of International Institutions,” International Security 19, 3 (1994-5): 7, Percy, Mercenaries, 15.

[2] N. Tannenwald, The Nuclear Taboo: The United States and the Non-use of Nuclear Weapons Since 1945 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009?), Percy, Mercenaries, 16.

[3] Percy, Mercenaries, 17, citing M. Finnemore, “Constructing Norms of Humanitarian Intervention,” in P.J. Katzenstein, ed., The Culture of National Security: Norms and Identities in World Politics (New York: Columbia University Press, 1999), J.T. Checkel, “The Constructivist Turn in International Relations Theory,” World Politics 50, 2 (1998), 326, and A. Wendt, Social Theory of International Politics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), 21.

[4] Percy, Mercenaries, 17-18.

[5] Percy, Mercenaries, 18-22.

[6] Percy, Mercenaries, 25.

[7] Jared Sparks, The Life of George Washington, 3 vols. (Boston: Tappan and Dennet, 1843), III, 141n; Andrew McFarland Davis, “The Employment of Indian Auxiliaries in the American War,” English Historical Review 2 (October 1887): 709-728; J.M. Sosin, “The use of Indians in the war of the American Revolution: a reassessment of responsibility,” Canadian Historical Review 46 (1965): 101-21; Richard S. Walling, “Nimham’s Indian Company of 1778: The Events Leading up to the Stockbridge Massacre of August 31, 1778,”, n.d., (accessed 26 January 2009); Wilcomb E. Washburn, “Indians and the American Revolution,”, http://www. American; Charles Patrick Neimeyer, America Goes to War: A Social History of the Continental Army (New York: New York University Press, 1997), 21; John Resch, “Continental Army Veterans: From Outcasts to Icons,” Veterans of Foreign Wars Magazine, 1 June 2002; Justin Ewers, “The Real Revolution,” U.S. News & World Report, 7 July 2008, 40-42; Robert K. Wright, Jr. “‘Nor Is Their Standing Army To Be Despised’: The Emergence of the Continental Army as a Military Institution,” in Ronald Hoffman and Peter J. Albert, eds., Arms and Independence: The Military Character of the American Revolution (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, for the United States Capitol Historical Society, 1984), 69.

[8] Barbara Graymont, The Iroquois in the American Revolution” (Syracuse, NY: 1972), 68.

[9] Jared Sparks, The Life of George Washington, 3 vols. (Boston: Tappan and Dennet, 1843), III, 261-63; Andrew McFarland Davis, “The Employment of Indian Auxiliaries in the American War,” English Historical Review 2 (October 1887): 709-728, at 721.

[10] Quotes from Davis, “Indian Auxiliaries,” 721.

[11] Quoted in Davis, “Indian Auxiliaries,” 722.

[12] Jared Sparks, The Life of George Washington, 3 vols. (Boston: Tappan and Dennet, 1843), III, 141n.

[13] Jared Sparks, The Life of George Washington, 3 vols. (Boston: Tappan and Dennet, 1843), III, 141n.

[14] Percy, Mercenaries, 25.

[15] Regarding the motives of the colonists, see Susan Ronald, The Pirate Queen: Queen Elizabeth I, her Pirate Adventurers, and the Dawn of Empire (New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 2007).

[16] William L. Shea, The Virginia Militia in the Seventeenth Century (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1983), 10.

[17] Susan Martin Miller, Miles Standish: Plymouth Colony Leader (Philadelphia: Chelsea House Publishers, 2000), 8-11.

[18] Luke, “Captain John Underhill,” 3.

[19] Daniel Marston, The American Revolution, 1774-1783 (London: Taylor & Francis, 2003), 20.

[20] Daniel Marston, The American Revolution, 1774-1783 (London: Taylor & Francis, 2003), 20.

[21] Daniel Marston, The American Revolution, 1774-1783 (London: Taylor & Francis, 2003), 20-21.

[22] Joseph J. Ellis, Passionate Sage: The Character and Legacy of John Adams (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2001), 45. Also see Historical Papers and Addresses of the Lancaster County Historical Society (Lancaster, PA: Lancaster County Historical Society, 1918), 115; John K. Robertson and Bob McDonald, “A Brief Profile of the Continental Army,” The Revolutionary War, 1999-2008,

Mercenaries and Norms

25 January 2009

Richard Bradshaw, “A Review of Mercenaries: The History of a Norm in International Relations, by Sarah Percy,” Mercenary Matters, 25 January 2009

Sarah Percy’s book claims to be a history of the proscriptive norm against (or general moral objection to) the use of mercenaries. Its argument that “the anti-mercenary norm has restricted state use of mercenaries” is intended to contribute to the theoretical debate about how norms influence the behavior of states and “to provide a practical guide for policymakers.”[1] In terms of international relations theory, it adopts a constructivist approach which emphasizes the importance of socially constructed ideas rather than immutable human nature and thus it criticizes the arguments of realists regarding the reasons for employing citizen-soldiers rather than mercenaries. It is a book with many merits which will be discussed in subsequent posts, but its historical depth and geographical scope are both disappointing and its basic argument is unconvincing. This post provides a critique of the book’s basic aims and arguments.

“Mercenaries,” the book begins, “are part of the fabric of the history of war,” and “as long as there have been mercenaries, there has been a norm against mercenary use.” [2] This may be true, but Percy does not in fact examine the existence of this norm since the earliest objections to the use of mercenaries were expressed, but focuses instead on the evolution of a norm in Europe since the 12th century CE. Taking issue with those who have argued that using mercenaries came to be “considered a moral problem” at the time of the French Revolution or as late as the twentieth century,[3] she argues that the “ethical objection” which “lies at the centre of the norm against mercenaries has been present in essentially the same form from the Middle Ages until today.” Since that time, Percy suggests, there have been “two shifts away from mercenary use,” one between the fifteen and seventeenth centuries CE, and another in the nineteenth century. [4]

What about objections to the use of mercenaries raised by writers since antiquity and in the rest of the world? Percy notes that war has been waged “by soldiers of fortune since classical Greece and Rome,”[5] but she ignores arguments about of the use of mercenaries by Greek and Roman who clearly influenced those with “ethical objections” to the use of mercenaries in Europe ever since. Greek philosophers, orators, playwrights and artists all began a debate about the proper role and character of soldiers which, in turn, influenced Roman writers such as Livy who were such an important influence on Renaissance humanists such as Machiavelli.[6] Any historical study of anti-mercenary norms should at least acknowledge and summarize ideas that Socrates, Plato, Isocrates, New Comedy playwrights such as Menander, Diodorus, Polybius and others expressed about citizen-soldiers and professional troops.[7]

Percy also ignores arguments about the use of mercenaries in other parts of the world. The mandarins of ancient China trained in Confucian classics, the ancient Indian political economist Kautilya, [8] the so-called Indian Machiavelli, and the Muslim historian Ibn Khaldun all discussed the employment of mercenaries.[9] Percy demonstrates no knowledge of the existence of such arguments throughout most of history and most of the world. The depth and breadth of her historical research is disappointing.

For over two thousand years, Chinese mandarins trained in the Confucian classics often shared an ideological preference for conscription of farmers rather than the employment of foreigners to fill the ranks of the Middle Kingdom’s armies, but despite this, they very frequently employed nomadic warriors from their borderlands during times of crisis, or whenever they felt it was necessary, regardless of idealistic norms.[10] Even in the mid-nineteenth century, when Chinese court officials dreamed of raising hundreds of thousands of farmer-soldiers to fight the Taiping rebels, hard-headed realists such as Zeng Guofan realized the need to employ well-trained, well-paid troops rather than temporarily mustered militias, and it was with these professional troops whose loyalty was primarily to their paymasters rather than to the Chinese state, who were most effective in defeating the huge Taiping armies. In cities like Shanghai, merchants and other wealthy notables employed foreign mercenaries to establish what came to be called “The Ever Victorious Army,” which also played an important part in defeating the Taiping rebels.

What impact did the anti-mercenary norm of Chinese mandarins have on the composition of the armies in the nineteenth century? It delayed an effective response to the almost fatal threat to the Taiping army, and it failed to prevent a switch from reliance on almost completely ineffective hereditary soldiers and amateur militiamen to well-paid local or foreign mercenary soldiers. At the turn of the twentieth century, the venerable ‘founding father’ of both Communist China and Taiwan, Sun Yatsen, used money collected from numerous overseas Chinese communities to hire mercenaries to launch numerous attacks on Chinese imperial outposts that he hoped would spark a revolution. After the 1911 Revolution finally toppled the Qing dynasty, Sun Yatsen felt compelled to employ mercenaries once again to establish and maintain a local government in southern China which he hoped to use as a base to unite China again, in the form of a republic. It was only when the Chinese communists finally united the country in 1949-50 and imposed a monopoly on the use of force, that the market for military labor declined sharply in China.

The anti-mercenary norm of Chinese mandarins has never effectively or permanently prevented the use of professional soldiers or mercenaries during crises in Chinese history. When new dynasties won ‘the Mandate of Heaven’ and expanded to impose their monopoly on the use of force over large territories, or when governments face serious rebellions, they frequently used mercenaries. Once empires stopped expanding and stability was achieved, the employment of mercenaries diminished. When empires disintegrated, mercenaries flourished. The fluctuating use of mercenaries in the history of China, a country whose leaders have frequently shared an ideological hostility to the use of mercenaries, supports the view that, when states face military crises, anti-mercenary norms do not prevent the turn to a more realist policy of hiring whoever they can, if need be, to address the challenge at hand. To ignore such evidence and restrict one’s vision to Europe since the 12th century is very problematic, to say the least, for a book making theoretical claims about the impact of norms in international relations.

Percy acknowledges that “this norm against mercenary use has not resulted in the disappearance of mercenaries from the world stage, or even, at any point in history [!!!] an effective formal international agreement limiting their use,” but she argues that this “norm against mercenary use is crucial for our understanding of how states have chosen the type of soldier they would use to compose their armies. Without it, we cannot understand why states used mercenaries less and less,” or “why states eventually insisted upon using only their own citizens to make up their armies.”[11] But did states in general start using mercenaries less and less, and did states ever start using only using their own citizens?

Here again, Percy is clearly focusing narrowly on European states during a very limited time period. Like so many other scholars and pen-pushers, Percy perpetuates the idea that the French Revolution was as a great turning point which saw the replacement of the use of mercenaries by citizen soldiers. In the forward to her book, Lord Patten of Barnes states that “the military trade in flesh” was “abandoned” in the wake of the American and French Revolutions.[12] Percy claims as well that after the French Revolution, “For the first time in at least several hundred years, states began to fight wars using their own citizens exclusively, and foreigners disappeared from the armies of Europe.”[13] In another recent book about mercenaries, William Urban claims that at onset of the French Revolution, “an international class of officers had come to dominate the profession of war. And then, almost overnight, they vanished.” [14]

In fact the use of mercenaries declined in only a few regions of the world in the nineteenth century, notably within western Europe and India,[15] but their employment continued and often increased within the Ottoman Empire,[16] Latin America,[17] Africa,[18] China,[19] North America,[20] and Southeast Asia. Furthermore, as the employment of mercenaries declined within western Europe, thousands of European mercenaries found employment overseas and many European nations employed countless mercenaries to expand their spheres of influence and carve out colonies during the nineteenth century.[21]

It is true that in the century between 1814 to 1914, soldiers stationed in western Europe itself were generally citizens of the countries they served. The famous balance of power managed by Metternich and other European statesmen limited (but by no means eliminated) war in Europe until the outbreak of World War I. But it is misleading to say that the use of mercenaries was suddenly replaced by armies of citizen soldiers after the French Revolution. A few European nations dramatically expanded their territorial domination and economic influence throughout the world during this period, and they did so by employing foreign or non-citizen military manpower – not by restricting the manpower of their armed forces to their own citizens.

Once these European nations imposed a near-monopoly on the use of force in their conquered territories, they usually maintained a relatively small standing army composed in large part of local or other colonial subjects, and the market for military labor – and demand for mercenaries – dramatically declined. This is only one example of a pattern which is very evident in world history, namely that when a great power imposes a virtual (i.e. always imperfect) monopoly on the use of force, competition for political power and military manpower decreases, and thus the market for military labor declines. When this monopoly on the use of force disintegrates, then various contenders for power seek military more manpower to impose their local or imperial hegemony on rivals. [22]

Finally, Percy’s review of the existing literature on mercenaries is particularly disappointing. She claims that “There are only six examinations which make a serious and in-depth attempt to deal with pre-nineteenth-centuries.”[23] She cites only a few of many important studies which focus on Europe[24] and ignores significant studies of mercenaries in antiquity,[25] in Byzantium,[26] in India[27] and in Southeast Asia,[28] not to mention studies of military diasporas,[29] etc. There have in fact been a large number of publications about mercenaries in the last few decades. A simple search for “mercenary troops” on turns up over 300, some of which are repeats of course, but the following sample of publications about mercenaries prior to the nineteenth century – in many languages – demonstrates why Percy’s review of the literature is so disappointing.[30]

In summary, the historical depth, geographical scope, literature review, and basic theoretical argument of this book are disappointing, but it is still an important book with many merits which will be highlighted, when appropriate, during the discussion of each chapter.

[1] Sarah Percy, Mercenaries: The History of a Norm in International Relations (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), 10-11.

[2] Percy, Mercenaries, 1.

[3] Percy, Mercenaries, 7.

[4] Percy, Mercenaries, 7. Also see 39.

[5] Percy, Mercenaries, 1.

[6] See Julia Conaway Bondanella and Peter Bondanella, “Introduction,” in Niccolo Machiavelli, Discourses on Livy, trans. Julia Conaway Bondanella and Peter Bondanella (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003), vii-xxii.

[7] On Isocrates, see Isocrates, Panegyric, IV, 64 and 168, Philip, 5.96, Isocrates with an English Translation, trans. and ed. George Norlin (Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1980); on Aristotle, see Politics, V, 6, and Nichomachaean Ethics, and The Politics of Aristotle trans. Barker (Oxford: 1946); on Demosthenes, see Minor M. Markle, III, “Use of the Sarissa by Philip and Alexander of Macedon,” American Journal of Archaeology 82, 4 (Autumn 1978): 488; on Polybius, see Arthur M. Eckstein, Moral Vision in The Histories of Polybius (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995); also see Deno John Geanakopolos, Byzantium: Church, Society and Civilization Seen Through Contemporary Eyes (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1984), 329; on mercenaries in general, see Matthew Trundle. “’Epikouroi, Xenoi and Misthophoroi in the Classical Greek World,” Humanities and Social Sciences 16, 2 (October 1998); Plutarch, The Age of Alexander, “Timoleon,” 28; on the depiction of mercenaries in Aristophanes plays, see Lionel Casson, “The Thracians,” The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin (New Series) 35, 1 (Summer 1977): 4

[8] Roger Boesche, “Kautilya’s Arthaśāstra on War and Diplomacy in Ancient India,” The Journal of Military History 67, 1 (January 2003): 9-37; Roger Boesche, The First Great Political Realist: Kautilya and His Arthashastra (Lexington, KY: Lexington Books, 2003), 66; S.D. Chamola, Kautilya: Arthshastra and the Science of Management (Gurgaon: Hope India Publications, 2007), 49. On mercenaries in ancient India, see D. R. Bhandarkar, Lectures on the Ancient History of India from 650 – 325 B. C. (New Delhi: Asian Educational Services, 1994), 144; Radhakumud Mookerji, Chandragupta Maurya and His Times (New Delhi: South Asia Books, 1999), 165-72; S.D. Chamola, Kautilya: Arthshastra and the Science of Management (Gurgaon: Hope India Publications, 2007), 49.

[9] ʻAzīz ʻAẓmah, Ibn Khaldun: An Essay in Reinterpretation (Budapest: Central European University Press, 2003), 71, 78; Erwin Rosenthal, Ibn Khalduns Gedanken über den Staat, ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der mittelalterlichen Staatslehre (Munich and Berlin: R. Oldenbourg, 1932); Ibn Khaldun, Muqaddimah, trans. Franz Rosenthal (London: 1967); Dieter Weiss, “Ibn Khaldun on Economic Transformation,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 27, 1 (February 1995): 33.

[10] “From the eighth century [CE] onward, a long-service, mercenary soldiery distinct from the farming population tended to predominate, even if the scholars sang the praises of the sturdy (and inexpensive) yeomanry of earlier times. Throughout the imperial history of China, an important role was played by specialized units recruited from among non-Han peoples both within and outside the borders of the empire; these included aboriginal infantrymen from the mountains of the south and cavalryman raised from among nomadic peoples of the steppe frontier.” (David A. Graff and Robin Higham, eds., A Military History of China [Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2002], 10). Also see Nicola Di Cosmo, Ancient China and Its Enemies: The Rise of Nomadic Power in East Asian History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002); Jacques Gernet, A History of Chinese Civilization (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 25, 124, 177: “Historical Chinese Mercenaries & Merc Companies, Equivalent of European & other Cultures?” China History Forum, 2005-2008,;

[11] Percy, Mercenaries, 2.

[12] Lord Patten of Barnes, “Forward,” in Sarah Percy, Mercenaries: The History of a Norm in International Relations (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), v.

[13] Percy, Mercenaries, 95.

[14] William Urban, Bayonets for Hire: Mercenaries at War 1550-1789 (London: Greenhill Books, 2007), 12. The coverjacket of Urban’s book states that “The old-fashioned mercenary was less common” by the mid-1700s, “but he would not disappear until swept away by the volunteer armies of the French Revolution.” Also see the discussion about the French Revolution below.

[15] See subsequent blogs

[16] James J. Reid, Crisis of the Ottoman Empire: Prelude to Collapse, 1839-1878 (Weisbaden: Franz Steiner Verlag, 2000); Peter F. Sugar “A Near-Perfect Military Society: The Ottoman Empire,” in L.L. Farar, Jr., ed. War: A Historical, Political and Social Study (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC Clio, 1978), 95-104; Friedhelm Hartwig, “Expansion, State Power and Reform: The Contest for Power in Hadhramaut in the Nineteenth Century,” in William G. Clarence-Smith and Ulrike Freitag, eds., Hadhrami Traders, Scholars and Statesmen in the Indian Ocean, 1750s-1960s (Leiden: Brill, 1997), 35-50; Khaled Fahmy, All The Pasha’s Men: Mehmed Ali, his army and the making of modern Egypt (New York: American University in Cairo Press, 1997); John P. Dunn, “Neo-Mamluks: Mercenary talent and the failure of leadership in the army of Khedive Ismail (1863-1879),” Ph.D. dissertation, University of Florida, 1996; John P. Dunn, “Americans in the Nineteenth Century Egyptian Army: A Selected Bibliography,” The Journal of Military History 70, 1 (2006): 123-136; Richard Hill and Peter Hogg, A Black Corps d’Elite. An Egyptian-Sudanese Battalion with the French Army in Mexico, 1863-1867 (East Lansing, MI: 1994); Gabriel Guemard, “Pelerins singuliers et soldats de fortune,” Bulletin de la société royale d’archéologie d’Alexandrie 8, 27 (1932): 27-52; See Charles Chaillé-Long, My Life in Four Continents, 2 vols. (London: Hutchinson, 1912), I, 65-67; Duignan and Gann, United States and Africa, 146; William G. Clarence-Smith, “Era: an Introductory Survey,” in William G. Clarence-Smith and Ulrike Freitag, eds., Hadhrami Traders, Scholars and Statesmen in the Indian Ocean, 1750s-1960s (Leiden: Brill, 1997), 1-18; Amnon Cohen, “The Army in Palestine in the Eighteen Century – Sources of Its Weakness and Strength,” Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, 34, 1 (1971): 36-55; Henry Rosenfeld, “The Social Composition of the Military in the Process of State Formation in the Arabian Desert, Part II,” The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland 95, 2 (July-December 1965): 174-194.

[17] Alfred Hasbrouck, Foreign Legionaries in the Liberation of South America (New York: Octagon Books, 1969); Eric Lambert, “Los legionaries británicos,” Bello y Londres, Segundo Congreso del Bicentario, 2 vols. (Caracas: 1980-81), I, 355-76; Eric Lambert, Voluntarios británicos e irlandes en la gesta bolivariana, 3 vols. (Caracas: 1983-93); Matthew Brown, “Esclavitud, castas y extranjeros en las guerras de la Independencia de Colombia,” Historia y Sociedad 10 (2004): 109-25; Matthew Brown, Adventuring Through Spanish Colonies: Simon Bolivar, Foreign Mercenaries And the Birth of New Nations (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2007); D. A. G. Waddell, “British Neutrality and Spanish-American Independence: The Problem of Foreign Enlistment,” Journal of Latin American Studies 19, 1 (1987): 1-18; John Lynch, Simon Bolívar: A Life (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2006), 121-30; Donald Roger Bruce, “Irish Mercenary Soldiers in Brazil, 1827-1828,” The Irish Link 3 (1998): 30; Fernando L.B. Basto, Ex-Combatentes Irlandeses em Taperoa (Rio de Janeiro: Editorial Vozes, 1971); C. R. Boxer, “Brazilian Gold and British Traders in the First Half of the Eighteenth Century,” The Hispanic American Historical Review 49, 3 (August 1969): 454-472; Eugenio V. Garcia, “Antirevolutionary Diplomacy in Oligarchic Brazil, 1919-30,” Journal of Latin American Studies 36, 4 (November 2004): 771-796; Peter Singelmann, “Political Structure and Social Banditry in Northeast Brazil,” Journal of Latin American Studies 7, 1 (May 1975): 59-83; Linda Lewin, “The Oligarchical Limitations of Social Banditry in Brazil: The Case of the ‘Good’ Thief Antonio Silvino,” Past and Present 82 (February 1979): 116-146; Francisco Lothar Paulo Lange, Federico Lange: história de um “Resmungão” da Legião Alemã de 1851 no Brasil, Schleswig-Holstein, Rio de Janeiro, Rio Grande do Sul, Campanha do Uruguai, Colônia Dona Francisca (Joinville) (Curitiba: n.p., 1995); Juvencio Saldanha Lemos, Os mercenários do Imperador: a primeira corrente imigratória alemã no Brasil, 1824-1830 [The mercenaries of the Emperor: the first wave of German immigration to Brazil, 1824-1830] (Porto Alegre: Palmarinca, 1993).

[18] Richard Bradshaw and Ibrahim Ndzesop, “African Armies and Warfare, 1750-1914,” in James H. Overfield, ed., World History Encyclopedia, Volume 15: Age of Revolutions (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-Clio, 2008); Richard Bradshaw and Ibrahim Ndzesop, “Mercenaries, Military Manpower and State-Building in Precolonial Africa,” forthcoming. Also see John Lonsdale, “The European scramble and conquest in African history,” in J.D. Fage and Roland Oliver, eds., The Cambridge History of Africa, Vol. 6, From 1870-1905 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985), 711; Roland Oliver, “Discernable Developments in the Interior c. 1500-1840,” in Roland Oliver and Gervase Mathew, eds., History of East Africa, 2 vols. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1963), I, 209-210; David Birmingham, “The forest and savanna of Central Africa,” in John E. Flint, ed., The Cambridge History of Africa, vol. x, c. 1790-1870 (Cambridge: 1976), ch. 7; Richard Gray, A history of the southern Sudan 1839-1889 (Oxford: 1961), 46-69; Joseph C. Miller, “Cokwe trade and conquest in the nineteenth century,” in Richard Gray and David Birmingham, eds., Pre-colonial African trade (Oxford: 1970), 175-201; Philip Curtin, Steven Feierman, Leonard Thompson and Jan Vansina, African History (London: 1978), 339-43, 357-59, 389; John Iliffe, A modern history of Tanganyika (Cambridge: 1979), 62; Aylward Shorter, “Nyungu-Ya-Mawe and the ‘Empire of the Ruga-Rugas’,” The Journal of African History 9, 2 (1968): 235-259; Aylward Shorter, Nyungu-Ya-Mawe: Leadership in the 19th Century Tanzania (Nairobi: 1969); Kevin Shillington, The Colonisation of the Southern Tswana (Johannesburg: Ravan Press, 1985), 140; Clapperton Mavhunga, “Firearms Diffusion, Exotic and Indigenous Knowledge Systems in the Lowveld Frontier, South Eastern Zimbabwe, 1870-1920,” Comparative Technology Transfer and Society 1, 2 (2003): 221; Alvin Kienetz, “The Key Role of the Orlam Migrations in the Early Europeanization of South-West Africa,” The International Journal of African Historical Studies 10, 4 (1977): 563; K. L. Little, “A Mende Musician Sings of His Adventures,” Man 48 (March 1948): 27; Eugene L. Mendonsa, West Africa: An Introduction to its History, Civilization and Contemporary Situation (Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press, 2002), 156; Raymond M. Taylor, “Warriors, Tributaries, Blood Money and Political Transformation in Nineteenth-Century Mauritania,” The Journal of African History 36, 3 (1995): 419; Richard F. Burton, “The Lake Regions of Central Equatorial Africa, with Notices of the Lunar Mountains and the Sources of the White Nile; Being the Results of an Expedition Undertaken under the Patronage of Her Majesty’s Government and the Royal Geographical Society of London, in the Years 1857-1859,” Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London, 29 (1859): 13-14.

[19] Philip A. Kuhn, Rebellion and Its Enemies in Late Imperial China: Militarization and Social Structure, 1796-1874 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University, 1980); Edward Allen McCord, The Power of the Gun: The Emergence of Modern Chinese Warlordism (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993); Diana Lary, “Warlord Studies: Review Essay,” Modern China 6, 4 (October 1980); Richard S. Horowitz, “Beyond the Marble Boat: The Transformation of the Chinese Military, 1850-1911,” in David A. Graff and Robin Higham, eds., A Military History of China (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2002), 153-174; Kwang-Ching Liu and Richard J. Smith, “The military challenge: the north-west and the coast,” in Kwang-Ching Liu and John K. Fairbank, eds., The Cambridge History of China, Volume 2, Late Ch’ing, 1800-1911, Part 2 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1980), 202-274; Richard S. Horowitz, “Beyond the Marble Boat: The Transformation of the Chinese Military, 1850-1911,” in David A. Graff and Robin Higham, eds., A Military History of China (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2002), 153-174; Richard J. Smith, “Barbarian Officers of Imperial China: Ward, Gordon, and the Taiping Rebellion,” Ph.D. dissertation, University of California Davis, 1972; Caleb Carr, The Devil Soldier: The American Soldier of Fortune Who Became a God in China (1994); Roger R. Thompson, “Military Dimensions of the ‘Boxer Uprising’ in Shanxi, 1898-1901,” in Hans Van de Ven, ed., Warfare in Chinese History (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 2000), 288-320; Marie-Claire Bergère, Sun Yat-sen, trans. Janet Lloyd (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1998); Jonathon Fenby, Chiang Kai-Shek: China’s Generalissimo and the Nation He Lost (New York: Carroll & Graf, 2003); Daniel S. Levy, Two-Gun Cohen: A Biography (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1997).

[20] Gene A. Smith, Filibusters and Expansionism: Jeffersonian Manifest Destiny, 1800-1821 (Tuscaloosa: 1997); Robert E. May, Manifest Destiny’s Underworld: Filibustering in Antebellum America (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2002). Charles H. Brown, Agents of Manifest Destiny: The Lives and Times of the Filibusters; Frederic Rosengarten, Jr. Freebooters Must Die! The Life and Death of William Walker, the Most Notorious Filibuster of the Nineteenth Century; Laurence Green, The Filibuster: The Career of William Walker; Harris Gaylord Warren, The Sword was Their Passport: A History of American Filibustering in the Mexican Revolution; Hermann B. Deutsch, The Incredible Yanqui: The Career of Lee Christmas (London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1931); “General Lee Christmas, a Dumas Hero in Real Life; How a Visit to an Oculist Changed Him from a Humdrum New Orleans Engineer to an Adventurer and Soldier of Fortune in Honduras,” New York Times, 15 January 1911.

[21] Richard Bradshaw, “Mercenaries: 1750-2000,” in Peter Sterns, ed., Encyclopedia of Modern World History (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007); Richard Bradshaw and Ibrahim Ndzesop, “African Armies and Warfare, 1750-1914,” in James H. Overfield, ed., World History Encyclopedia, Volume 15: Age of Revolutions (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-Clio, 2008); David Killingray and David Omissi, eds., Guardians of Empire: The Armed Forces of the Colonial Powers (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1999); Gayl D. Ness, and William Stahl, “Western Imperialist Armies in Asia,” Comparative Studies in Society and History 19, 1 (January 1977): 2-29; Alfred Hasbrouck, Foreign Legionaries in the Liberation of South America (New York: Octagon Books, 1969); H. L. Wesseling, The European Colonial Empires 1815-1919, trans. Diane Webb (Harlow, UK: Pearson Education, 2004); Douglas M. Peers, ed., Warfare and Empire: Contact and Conflict Between European and non-European Military and Maritime Forces and Cultures (Aldershot: Variorum, 1997); Karl Hack and Tobias Rettig, Colonial Armies in Southeast Asia (London: Routledge, 2006); Timothy Parsons, “‘Wakamba Warriors are Soldiers of the Queen’: The Evolution of the Kamba as a Martial Race, 1890-1970,” Ethnohistory, 48? (1999):xx-xx; David Killingray, “Guarding the Extending Frontiers: Policing the Gold Coast, 1865-1912,” in David Anderson and David Killingray, eds., Policing the Empire: Government, Authority and Control, 1830-1940 (Manchester: 1991); Timothy H. Parsons, The African Rank-and-File: Social Implications of Colonial Service in the King’s African Rifles, 1902-1960 (Portsmouth, NH: 1999); Timothy H. Parsons, “African Participation in the British Empire,” in Philip D. Morgan and Sean Hawkins, eds., The Oxford History of the British Empire: Black Experience and the Empire (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), 257-285; Robert Foran, The Kenya Police, 1887-1960 (London: 1962); John McCracken, “Coercion and Control in Nyasaland: Aspects of the History of a Colonial Police Force,” Journal of African History 28 (1986):127-47; J. Malcolm Thompson, “Colonial Policy and the Family Life of Black Troops in French West Africa, 1817-1904, The International Journal of African Historical Studies 23, 3 (1990):423-453; S.C. Upkabi, “West Indian Troops and the Defence of British West Africa in the Nineteenth Century,” African Studies Review 17, 1 (April 1974):133-150; Myron J. Echenberg, Colonial Conscripts: The Tirailleurs Senegalais in French West Africa, 1857-1960 (Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 1991); A. Flamant, La Force Publique de sa naissance à 1914: Participations des militaries à l’histoire des premières années du Congo (Brussels: Institut Royal Colonial Belge, 1952; Shaw, “Force Publique, Force Unique,” Ph.D. diss., Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, 1984; Lt.-Col. E.V. Jenkins, A History of the King’s African Rifles, formerly known as the Uganda Rifles (Entebbe: Government Press, 1912); W. Lloyd-Jones, King’s African Rifles (London & Bristol: Arrowsmith, 1926); Hubert Moyse-Barlett, The King’s African Rifles: A study in the military history of East and Central Africa 1890-1945 (Aldershot: Gale and Polden, 1956); Christopher Owen, The Rhodesian African Rifles (London: Leo Cooper, 1970); Myron Echenberg, “Slaves into Soldiers: Social Origins of the Tirailleurs Sénégalais,” in Paul E. Lovejoy, ed., Africans in Bondage: Studies in Slavery and the Slave Trade (Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 1986); David Killingray, “Imagined Martial Communities: Recruiting for the Military and Police in Colonial Ghana, 1860-1960,” in Carola Lentz and Paul Nugent, eds., Ethnicity in Ghana: The Limits of Invention. London: 1999); Anthony Clayton and David Killingray, Khaki and Blue: Military and Police in British Colonial Africa (Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 1989); Kenneth Gandar Dower, The King’s African Rifles in Madagascar (Nairobi: East African Command, n.d.).

[22] Bradshaw, “Mercenaries: 1750-2000.”

[23] Percy, Mercenaries, 2.

[24] She cites John McCormack, One Million Mercenaries (London: Leo Cooper, 1993), and K.A. Fowler, Medieval Mercenaries: 1: The Great Companies (Oxford: Blackwell, 2001) as two books “which make a serious and in-depth attempt to look at pre-nineteenth century mercenaries,” (2), which suggests that the following studies concerned with pre-nineteenth mercenaries do not qualify as serious: W.M. Reger, “In the service of the Tsar: European mercenary officers and the reception of military reform in Russia, 1654-1667,” Ph.D. dissertation, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1997; John Schlight, Monarchs and Mercenaries: A Reappraisal of the Importance of Knight Service in Norman and Early Angevin England (Bridgeport, CT: 1968); John Miller Gilbert, Tudor Mercenaries and Auxiliaries (Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 1980); R. A. Stradling, The Spanish Monarchy and Irish Mercenaries: The Wild Geese in Spain, 1618-68 (Portland, OR: Irish Academic. 1994); Christopher Gravett and Christa Hook, Norman Knight AD 950-1202 (Oxford: Osprey, 1993); John Marsden, ; William Caferro, Mercenary Companies and the Decline of Siena (Baltimore, MD: John Hopkins Press, 1998); William Caferro, John Hawkwood: An English Mercenary in Fourteenth-Century Italy (Baltimore, MD: John Hopkins Press, 2006); Kenneth M. Sutton, Catalan Domination of Athens, 1311-1388 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1948); Jep Pascot, Les almugavares: Mercenaires Catalans du moyen age (1302-1388) (Brussels: 1971); M.E. Mallett, Mercenaries and Their Masters: Warfare in Renaissance Italy (London: The Bodley Head, 1974); Reinhard Baumann, Landsknecht: Ihre Geschicte und Kulture vom späten Mittelalter bis zum Dreißigjährigen Kreig (Munich: 1994); Seven Isaac, “The Problem with Mercenaries,” in Donald J. Kagay and I.J. Andrew Villalon, eds., The Circle of War in the Middle Ages (Woodbridge: 1999), 100-110; John Marsdon, Galloglas: Hebridean and West Highland Mercenary Warrior Kindreds in Medieval Ireland (Edinburg: Tuckwell Press, 2003); M.G. McLaughlin, The Wild Geese: The Irish Brigades of France and Spain (London: 1980); M. Murtagh, “Irish Soldiers Aboad, 160-1800,” in T. Bartlett and K. Jeffery, A Military History of Ireland (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996); I. Ross Bartlett, “Scottish Mercenaries in Europe, 1570-1610: A Study in Attitudes and Policies,” Critical Improv, 1-10,; (and see below)

[25] Serge Yalichev, Mercenaries of the Ancient World (London: Constable, 1997); Gunter L. Seibt, Griechische Söldner im Achaimenidenreich (Bonn: Habett, 1977); Alan Richard Schulman, “Kings, Chronicles and Egyptian Mercenaries,” Bulletin of the Egyptological Seminar 5 (1983); Henry George Fischer, “The Nubian Mercenaries of Gebelein during the First Intermediate Period,” Kush: Journal of the Sudan Antiquities Service 9 (1961): 44-80; William A. Ward, Two Unrecognized Hupsu Mercenaries in Egyptian Texts (Kevelaer: Verlag Butzon & Bercker, 1980), etc.

[26] Sigfús Blöndal, The Varangians of Byzantium. An Aspect of Byzantine Military History, trans., revised and rewritten by Benedikt S. Benedikz (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1978), cf. Walter Emil Kaegi Jr., “Review of The Varangians of Byzantium, by Sigfús Blöndal.” Speculum, 56, 1 (January 1981): 99-100.

[27] Jozef J. L. Gommans, Horse-traders, mercenaries and princes: the formation of the Indo-Afghan empire in the eighteenth century (1993); Jozef J. L. Gommans, The Rise of the Indo-Afghan Empire, c. 1710-1780 (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1999); Dirk H. Kolff, Naukar, Rajput & Sepoy: the ethnohistory of the military labour market in Hindustan, 1450-1850 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002); S. N. Gordon, “Scarf and Sword: Thugs, Marauders and State Formation in Eighteenth Century Malwa,” Indian Economic and Social History Review 6 (1969): 403-430.

[28] Michael W. Charney, “Arakan, Min Yazagi, and Portuguese Mercenaries: the Relationship between the Growth of Arakanese Imperial Power and Portuguese Mercenaries on the Fringe of Mainland Southeast Asia, 1517-1617,” Ph.D. dissertation, Ohio University, 1993.

[29] Grant G. Simpson, The Scottish Soldier Abroad, 1247-1967 (Edinburgh: John Donald Publishers; Savage, MD: Barnes & Noble, 1992);

[30] Matthew Glozier, Marshal Schomberg, 1615-1690, ‘the ablest soldier of his age’: International Soldiering and the Formation of State Armies in Seventeenth-century Europe (Brighton; Portland, OR; Sussex Academic Press, 2005); Matthias Rogg, Landsknechte und Reisläufer: Bilder vom Soldaten: ein Stand in der Kunst des 16. Jahrhunderts. Krieg in der Geschichte, Bd. 5. (Paderborn: Schöningh, 2002); Paul Schmitthenner, Das freie Söldnertum im abendländischen Imperium des Mittelalters [Free Soldiers during the…Middle Ages] München: Beck, 1934); Jep Pascot, Antoine-Pierre-Marie-François-Joseph Lévis-Mirepoix, and Joan Oliver, Els almogàvers: l’epopeia medieval dels catalans, 1302-1388 (Barcelona: Edicions Proa, 1972); Jep Pascot and Joan Oliver, Els almogàvers: l’epopeia medieval dels catalans (Barcelona: Proa, 1995); Thédorit Foudras, Les Belges au Mexique; récits et histoires militaires (Bruxelles: Sacré-Duquesne, 1869); Hans Jacob Barstad, Om Normænds deltagelse i det danske hjelpekorps i Irland og Flandern, 1689-1697 (Oslo: I kommisjon hos J. Dybwad, 1928); Gilbert John Millar, Tudor Mercenaries and Auxiliaries 1485-1547 (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1980); Christos Nicolas Stephanides, “Mercenaries in History and the Modern Era,” M.A. Thesis, Southwest Missouri State University, 2004; Matthew Glozier and David Onnekink, War, Religion and Service: Huguenot Soldiering, 1685-1713 (Burlington, VT: Aldershot, 2007); Gráinne Henry, The Irish Military Community in Spanish Flanders, 1586-1612 (Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 1992); Seán Duffy, The World of the Galloglass: Kings, Warlords and Warriors in Ireland and Scotland, 1200-1600 (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2007); George B. Clark, The Irish Soldier in Europe, 1584-1815 (Bethesda, MD: Academic Press, 2002); Stephan Selzer, Deutsche Söldner im Italien des Trecento (Bibliothek des Deutschen Historischen Instituts in Rom, Bd. 98. Tübingen: Niemeyer, 2001); Peter Blastenbrei, Die Sforza und ihr Heer: Studien zur Struktur-, Wirtschafts- und Sozialgeschichte des Söldnerwesens in der italienischen Frührenaissance. Heidelberger Abhandlungen zur mittleren und neueren Geschichte, n.F., Bd. 1. Heidelberg: C. Winter, 1987); Jack Cagill, Mercenary of the Gods: Memoirs of a Greek in Service to Judah and Egypt (Claremont, CA: Regina, 2004); Allan J Kuethe, Juan Marchena Fernández, Lyle N McAlister, Soldados del rey: el ejército borbónico en América colonial en vísperas de la independencia (Castelló de la Plana [Spain]: Universitat Jaume I, 2005); Anna Chiara Fariselli, I mercenari di Cartagine (La Spezia: Agorà, 2002); Masaya Suzuki [鈴木眞哉], Sengoku teppō, yōheitai: tenkabito ni sakaratta Kishū Saikashū [戦国鉄砲・傭兵隊: 天下人に 逆らった紀州雑賀衆] (Tōkyō: Heibonsha, 2004); Hisashi Fujiki [藤木久志,] Zōhyōtachi no senjō: chūsei no yōhei to doreigari [雑兵たちの戦場: 中世の傭兵と奴隷狩り](Tōkyō: Asahi Shinbunsha, 1995); Paolo Petta, Stradioti: soldati albanesi in Italia, sec. XV-XIX. Lecce: Argo, 1996); Steven W. Isaac, “The military role and social context of mercenaries during the reign of Stephen,” M.A. thesis, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, 1993.


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