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Prussian Baron von SteubenThe Prussian Baron von Steuben being a newcomer to the Revolutionary cause in America was in a position to see many of the deficiencies in military discipline and their causes The reasons for his unique insight may have been due to the fact that he was distanced from the revolutionary ideals in America and as a result was able to better observe and understand them and ultimately use them to shape his new and successful form of discipline in the Continental Army Most of the commanders of the Continental Army from the commander in chief to the lower officers had subscribed to the traditional European method that relied on fear to achieve discipline This method of fear was probably not essential and had little if any effect in the early days of the war because the soldiers were mostly fighting for their own ideologies To the soldiers the commanders were of little importance The soldiers were going to fight their own fight and leave the battle when they felt it necessary The soldier saw himself as a volunteer a citizen fighting in a group of citizens and as a result did not respond well to the traditional forms of discipline The soldier knew it wasnt necessary for him to serve and he knew that he would not be looked down upon for not serving or leaving the army by his fellow revolutionaries He had the freedom to chose how he wished to serve the revolution and military service was not an obligation One aspect of the traditional European system that Baron von Steuben felt needed change was the relationship between the officers and the soldiers Officers in the Continental Army felt it was necessary to distance themselves from the common soldiers as an officer had an obligation as a gentleman as well This division was along social lines and by separation the officers felt the common soldiers would show even greater respect
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