Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation

 

Material Expressions of Class, Status and Authority amongst Commissioned Officers at Fort Yamhill and Fort Hoskins, Oregon, 1856-1866 Public Deposited

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  • During the 19th century the United States Army was a military institution characterized by a hierarchical system of authoritative, social and economic inequality between members of its different military grades. Although necessary for insuring military discipline within the Army this system of inequality also influenced the non-military social lives of commissioned officers and their families and colored much of military life with a non-military consumerist tint. This dissertation examines the material expression of military authority, social status and economic position amongst three grades of commissioned officers who served at two mid-19th century United States Army posts in western Oregon, Fort Yamhill and Fort Hoskins. Using historical and archaeological records associated with 47 company grade officers this dissertation demonstrates that the commissioned officers who served at these posts were highly competitive individuals who used their military rank and military salaries to express their social and economic status through the economic behaviors of conspicuous consumption and conspicuous leisure and to demonstrate their membership as socio-cultural elites within the upper classes of 19th century America.
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