Feeling Like a Citizen: The American Legion’s Boys State Programme and the Promise of Americanism

  • Susan A. Miller
Part of the Palgrave Studies in the History of Emotions book series (Palgrave Studies in the History of Emotions)


If the experience of war can ever really be called typical, then for a member of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF), Private First Class Edward W. Miller had a fairly typical encounter with the First World War. He enlisted in June 1917 two months after the United States entered the conflict, but wasn’t shipped to France until April of the following year, where he fought in some of the war’s last major engagements at Château Thierry, Champagne-Marne and the Meuse Argonne. Although gassed on the Western Front, his injuries did not preclude him from serving in the US occupation forces in France at the war’s end; lingering health concerns did, however, briefly land him in a veterans’ hospital upon his return home. Nor was Miller’s military service the only experience that marked him as an average representative of his generation. Born somewhere in the Balkans, he had arrived in the United States in the early years of the twentieth century amidst the heaviest waves of immigration from Southern and Eastern Europe. Like many young immigrant men (Miller was 22 when he enlisted in the AEF), he was eager to prove his loyalty to his adopted country by voluntarily returning to Europe — dressed in an American military uniform.


Emotional Socialization Fellow Citizen Emotional Community American Legion Girl Scout 
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© Susan A. Miller 2015

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  • Susan A. Miller

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