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Old 01-11-2019, 01:54 AM
 
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This is a military history questions

When did the nobility start becoming officers, meaning ranked in that fashion modern militaries are known for? And when did the officer corp/club of Europe become open for all and from any station in life?

In the USA we had no nobility, so were did the Continental army and its incarnation for the next 200 years get its officers from? Was it just children of only the wealthy? What about Latin America after they broke from Europe?

Was it the opposite way for the old school Navies? Men like Henry Morgan, Francis Drake, Horatio Nelson came from humble backgrounds. Nelson's father was a priest.
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Old 01-11-2019, 05:12 AM
 
Location: Glasgow Scotland
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Originally Posted by NJ Brazen_3133 View Post
This is a military history questions

When did the nobility start becoming officers, meaning ranked in that fashion modern militaries are known for? And when did the officer corp/club of Europe become open for all and from any station in life?

In the USA we had no nobility, so were did the Continental army and its incarnation for the next 200 years get its officers from? Was it just children of only the wealthy? What about Latin America after they broke from Europe?

Was it the opposite way for the old school Navies? Men like Henry Morgan, Francis Drake, Horatio Nelson came from humble backgrounds. Nelson's father was a priest.
Not so humble Nelson... in those days he d be considered quite well off..not noble though.. Nelson was born into a moderately prosperous Norfolk family and joined the navy through the influence of his uncle, Maurice Suckling, a high-ranking naval officer himself. Nobles or those with money.. could buy themselves a position or get out of any millitary service too Ive read....Francis Drake humble dont kid He was the oldest of the twelve sons[12] of Edmund Drake (1518–1585), a Protestant farmer, and his wife Mary Mylwaye. The first son was alleged to have been named after his godfather Francis Russell, 2nd Earl of Bedford.
Drake Jewel, on loan at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London
At the age of eighteen he was purser of a ship which sailed to the Bay of Biscay. At twenty he made a voyage to the coast of Guinea.[19] In 1563, Drake, aged 23, made his first voyage to the Americas, sailing with his second cousin, Sir John Hawkins, on one of a fleet of ships owned by his relatives, the Hawkins family of Plymouth.
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Old 01-11-2019, 08:04 AM
 
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Nobility was always in charge of armies -- you can go back to the biblical era for that. Fast forward to knights and their retinues. In terms of relatively modern armies, most nobles weren't officers, and most officers weren't noblemen. The typical European officer was from the middle or upper-middle class. Men of that social station typically became business men, military officers or they went into religious orders.

As far as the US is concerned, early militia commanders were prominent civilians of appropriate social class. During the the later colonial times and during the civil war, officers were typically elected by their respective companies, or they were appointed because of their social and/or political prominence.
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Old 01-11-2019, 08:23 AM
 
Location: Elysium
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Originally Posted by NJ Brazen_3133 View Post

Was it the opposite way for the old school Navies? Men like Henry Morgan, Francis Drake, Horatio Nelson came from humble backgrounds. Nelson's father was a priest.
Which begs the question when did the priest start coming from the ordinary families without the universal education system running and where one of the extra boys from the noble class?
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Old 01-11-2019, 10:24 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJ Brazen_3133 View Post
This is a military history questions

When did the nobility start becoming officers, meaning ranked in that fashion modern militaries are known for? And when did the officer corp/club of Europe become open for all and from any station in life?

In the USA we had no nobility, so were did the Continental army and its incarnation for the next 200 years get its officers from? Was it just children of only the wealthy? What about Latin America after they broke from Europe?

Was it the opposite way for the old school Navies? Men like Henry Morgan, Francis Drake, Horatio Nelson came from humble backgrounds. Nelson's father was a priest.
It will vary depending on the specific country.

In the case of Britain, nobility appointed to what are currently recognized military ranks in the army started at least mid-seventeenth century, with the establishment of the English Army in 1660. George Monck was appointed as the first General by Charles II. Other currently recognized ranks evolved over time as the size and complexity of army organizational structure increased. Some nobility were appointed to the top ranks, while others, like Winston Churchill, started at the bottom as a second lieutenant.

British Army Ranks

In the US, talented officers such as Andrew Jackson and U.S. Grant were drawn from commoners who had proved their mettle in battle and thus had risen up within the ranks accordingly.

I think Nelson was descended from nobility on his mother’s side (Walpole family).

Last edited by mingna; 01-11-2019 at 10:43 AM..
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Old 01-12-2019, 12:12 AM
 
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Originally Posted by joe from dayton View Post
Nobility was always in charge of armies -- you can go back to the biblical era for that. Fast forward to knights and their retinues. In terms of relatively modern armies, most nobles weren't officers, and most officers weren't noblemen. The typical European officer was from the middle or upper-middle class. Men of that social station typically became business men, military officers or they went into religious orders.

As far as the US is concerned, early militia commanders were prominent civilians of appropriate social class. During the the later colonial times and during the civil war, officers were typically elected by their respective companies, or they were appointed because of their social and/or political prominence.
I believe there existed officer rankings going back to East India Company. Where did they pull the people for those roles during that period of colonialism/imperialism?
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Old 01-12-2019, 01:51 AM
Status: ""I yam what I yam, and that's all what I yam." -- Popeye" (set 6 days ago)
 
Location: New Mexico
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Check out the named units recruited during the early days of the US Civil War. The local "big man" in commerce or politics was the closest thing to local nobility and they often recruited units named after the self-appointed leader or community. Sometimes that got out of hand.

In the middle ages, the local lords were called upon to raise troops for the king's campaigns and would serve as the leader (if able to do so). That provided some common allegiance and discipline that might not have been there otherwise.
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Old 01-12-2019, 09:27 AM
 
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Originally Posted by NJ Brazen_3133 View Post
I believe there existed officer rankings going back to East India Company. Where did they pull the people for those roles during that period of colonialism/imperialism?

Since Britain practiced primogeniture, many lower officers of aristocratic background were drawn for colonial posts from second-born sons onward, or those who were distantly related to aristocracy. This was a common “respectable” route for those not first-born who did not want to take the religious career route. It was how they could make their fortune and gain entry to a higher military career or politics.

Because its colones grew to be so vast, I believe Britain was not able to maintain a very large British-derived military presence, instead often supplementing wirh local forces.
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Old 01-15-2019, 07:55 PM
 
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as late as the Crimean war (1850s) and English gentleman could purchase a military rank
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Old 01-16-2019, 06:40 AM
 
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America, and later France during it's revolutionary period, really started the practice of promoting based on merit and not by family position. Not totally, you usually (not always) still had to be politically connected some way, but it was much easier to be promoted up "from the ranks".
Indeed, in England you could purchase a promotion as long as, of course, you first had the aristocratic background and were a juniour officer.

Part of this made sense however - The enlisted ranks of the army were filled with, for lack of a better term, the outcasts of society. Soldiering was a tough job, not well paid, enlisted men were treated brutally, many of the soldiers were criminals, thugs and theives, they couldn't read or write, or were just picked up off the streets to become soldiers and sailors, or just released from jail, or were induced to take the king's shilling when drunk.
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