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Ft. Leavenworth Series – Denis Mahan and the Foundations of American Theory

April 1 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Virtual Event

During the first half of the nineteenth century, no military thinker arguably had more impact on the United States Army than Denis Hart Mahan.  By the time he graduated at the top of his class at West Point in 1824, Mahan had become a protégé of Superintendent Sylvanus Thayer, whose wide-ranging reforms would win him recognition as “Father of the Military Academy.”  In 1830, Mahan accepted appointment as Professor of Civil and Military Engineering at West Point and carried his mentor’s work forward in the decades that followed.  Mahan’s writings and influence on the officers who, after surviving “Old Cobbon Sense’s” classroom, would dominate the Army nearly to the end of the 19th century made him one of the most important figures in the evolution of American warfare.  This talk will describe Mahan’s life,  his role in shaping the military academy, the ideas that he promoted in the army, and his place in the American military experience.

Submit your questions for Dr. Rafuse to for the question-and-answer portion of the program.

This program is closed-captioned for the hearing impaired. 

This special program will be live-streamed to the institute’s YouTube channel and to its website, Due to continuing concerns regarding the novel coronavirus pandemic, the program will only be available online. Follow the Dole Institute on FacebookInstagram, or Twitter for updates regarding this and future programming.

Ethan S. Rafuse received his Ph.D. from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and since 2004 has been a member of the faculty at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, where he is a professor of military history.

The Ft. Leavenworth Series

The Ft. Leavenworth Series is an annual roster of lectures focusing on significant historical events, usually with an emphasis on military history. Each lecture is presented by faculty from the United States Army Command and General Staff College in Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas. Established by General William Tecumseh Sherman in 1881, the CGSC is the graduate college for U.S. Army and sister service officers. The esteemed faculty and guests of the CGSC provide unique and captivating insights into the history of military conflict from the ancient to the modern ages at the Dole Institute of Politics.

The Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics is dedicated to promoting political and civic participation as well as civil discourse in a bipartisan, philosophically balanced manner. It is located on KU’s West Campus and houses the Dole Archive and Special Collections. Through its robust public programming, congressional archive, and museum, the Dole Institute strives to celebrate public service and the legacies of US Senators Bob Dole and Elizabeth Dole.


April 1
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

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