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At the Constitutional Convention, America’s Founding Fathers foresaw the need for a means to calm national tensions and factional disagreements inherent in a democratic society. While they understood the need for security, they worried about a reoccurrence of a polarizing situation like the Boston Massacre. Throughout the history of the nation, from the Whiskey Rebellion to antiwar protests against the Vietnam War, presidents have struggled to preserve law during times of civil unrest. This entry discusses the history and evolution of military intervention in civil disorder in the United States, including revolts against the federal government, violent labor strikes, and the role of the National Guard in responding to riots and assisting after natural disasters.

Constitutional Debate and Early Military Intervention

As the Constitutional Convention delegates gathered ...

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