Harvard professor Stephen Peter Rosen has been asking himself why Americans are so much more warlike than other democracies. His basic argument is that the root of American culture is fused from Puritan northerners, and the Scots-Irish who settled the South and Appalachia. The Puritains were basically peaceful folk, unless their lawful authority calls them to war, in which case their sense of order makes them intensely violent. General Sherman is one of his examples of this type. The Scots-Irish were "Born Fighting," as Senator Jim Webb titled his book about them; and indeed, the professor relies heavily on Senator Webb's work in his analysis. (Sen. Webb was following President Theodore Roosevelt, whose The Winning of the West was among the first to recognize that the Scots-Irish had been as important as the old Cavalier class in determining Southern culture.)
These two cultures fought Indians, then fought each other in the Civil War; and after that, the fusion of the cultures made Americans quick to take anger at any affront (the Scots-Irish influence); once that anger had translated into the democratic government endorsing the war, the Puritans likewise would be wholly on board, and Americans would fight to the finish.
The professor believes that the Puritans now look to international institutions for authorization, no longer having full faith in America's own internal institutions. In order to get the Puritans on board, then, you have to meet what Puritan Sen. John Kerry called "the global test." (You probably recall Scots-Irish Sen. Zell Miller's response to that concept, delivered at the 2004 Republican National Convention.)
That's enough by way of introduction. Have a look at the piece, and let's discuss it in the comments.