by SWJ Editors
Back to the Future
A Study of Post Partisan Warfare Reconstruction
by Lieutenant Commander Larry H. Henke
Small Wars Journal
In 1780, British Redcoats decimated the Continental Army in the South following the siege of Charleston and the subsequent battle at Camden. Afterward, all that remained were civilian guerilla fighters to pick up the torch and sustain the American cause for freedom. From here grew a bitter partisan war pitting neighbor against neighbor as the British Redcoats, with the aid of American Loyalists, maneuvered to remain in control.
Historically, the violent overthrow of an autocratic rule creates a governmental void, with the victorious insurgent army filling the void and imposing their brand of autocracy over the state. Examples include the French Revolution, Russian Revolution, Chinese Revolution, and more recently the Cuban and Somali Revolutions. The cycle has rarely led to the successful formation of a democracy; however, the United States of America is arguably the sole exception. How is it then that following the violent irregular warfighting of the American Revolution the factions, both Patriot and Loyalist, were able to put aside their differences, unite for the popular common good?
This article analyzes the events that led to the American uncommon unification following the bitter partisan fighting of the American Revolution. From this study, the author identified common threads in events, commonality of thought, or ideals that fostered the birth of a united nation following guerilla warfare within. The focus did not center on a model for construction of a Constitutional Republic, but instead the focus was on gleaning the basis for popular unity following irregular conflict. From these insights into the historic experiences of the partisan fighters in the American Revolution, a framework for present day and future rebuilding nations was collected.