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American lawyers like to celebrate themselves as practitioners of peaceful dispute resolution. On public and professional occasions they proudly proclaim their loyalty to the rule of law over brute force. From the very beginnings of colonization, however, lawyers in America have been primary wagers of war. Leaving aside for the moment professional soldiers who only proliferated in significant numbers in the late 19th century, lawyers as an occupational group have been uniquely prominent in American history as invaders, battlefield commanders and soldiers, militia leaders, armed revolutionaries, filibusters, rebels, paramilitary intelligence agents, proponents of militarism, and civilian war managers. Over the course of four centuries, American lawyers have enthusiastically organized war, led war, and fought war. This article argues that war has shaped American lawyers professionally as well as personally, and that lawyers have in turn shaped the American way of war.