A Proposed Model to Investigate the Role of Education in the Success of Military Strategy in Florida during the Second Seminole War (1835–1842)
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The Second Seminole War began in Florida in 1835 as a response to increasing hostilities with the Seminole Indians. Various strategies were employed by the United States military, such as relocating the Seminoles onto a reservation within the state of Florida or to a reservation in Oklahoma, but these were largely unsuccessful. One reason for this failure may be traced back to the way the officers of the U.S. Army at that time were educated at West Point Military Academy in New York. West Point had adopted a French-style education system, focusing heavily on engineering, geometry, and philosophy. Florida’s unique swamp-filled landscape was unlike anything previously encountered by the military, however. Effectiveness was also hampered by the fact that much of the interior of the state was unmapped and unexplored. Using GIS and the modern military analysis method of “key terrain, observation and fields of fire, cover and concealment, obstacles, and avenues of approach,” or KOCOA, the interplay between standardized military training and adaptation to a novel environment will be discussed using the Second Seminole War in Florida as a case study.
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