Mobilization refers to the deployment of resources for purposeful action to achieve a specific political or social goal. Important resources include people (e.g., troops and security forces, voters, social movements), shared identities (e.g., partisanship, class, ideology, religion), material support (e.g., money to maintain a standing army and weaponry, campaign donations), information (intelligence and strategic plans, campaign and movement issue statements), and organization (level of military professionalism, networks with other social or political groups, campaign volunteers).
Charles Tilly explained how revolutions and similar collective actions are an outcome of mobilization, which is “the process by which a group acquires collective control over the resources needed for action” (Tilly 1978, p. 7). Mobilization flows from organization and determines the level and success of collection action. This basic process also applies to political and military mobilization. Political scientists analyze voting and interstate war, whereas sociologists place greater emphasis on the social qualities of mobilization through social movements and protest.
The level of institutional involvement distinguishes social from political mobilization. Mass social mobilization includes protest that pressures a government to institute or reverse a course of action. Rebellions, revolutions, and nationalist movements lie at the extreme end of popular social mobilization and seek comprehensive social and political change that usually is accompanied by violence (Snyder 2000). Those actions often are responded to with countermobilization efforts by government security forces and the military (Tilly 1978, Skocpol 1988). In contrast, political mobilization occurs in accordance with prescribed institutional rules (see Table 1).
Electoral mobilization refers to the basic process of popular participation in democratic politics or in some cases staged elections, as in the former Soviet Union. Partisans organize citizens into institutionalized actions to reelect or change political leaders. Political parties serve as conduits for providing voters with information about
|Types of political and social mobilization|
|source: Adapted from Claudia Dahlerus, Do Targets Matter? Repressive Targeting in East Central Europe, unpublished Ph.D. dissertation (University of Colorado, Boulder, 2001).|
|Government (military and security forces)||War, domestic security actions (martial law, protestpolicing)||Coup d’ etat. counterinsurgency|
|Popular (citizens, mass)||Electoral campaign voting||Protest, rebellion ethnic nationalism, revolution|
where a party and its candidates stand on a range of issues. Parties are most active in the campaign stage of elections, recruiting supporters, disseminating information, and contacting voters to ensure that loyal and potential supporters turn out on election day (Verba, Schlozman, and Brady 1995).
Costs often are attached to electoral and protest mobilization. Thus, the dilemma for social scientists lies in explaining what influences mass mobilization in the first place. There are behavioral, structural, and cultural arguments that explain the causes of mobilization. For example, behavioral theories explain how political parties and interest groups are the main vehicles of voter mobilization because they minimize information costs. The role of social movements in mobilizing support for minor parties is also important, especially in times of heightened polarization. Although voting has costs (time, acquiring information about candidates and parties), protest adds the costs and risks of being injured, arrested, or labeled a dissident and a threat to the political status quo. These reasons are highlighted to explain the challenges of mobilizing people into social movement actions such as protests and demonstrations as opposed to electoral mobilization.
High levels of popular involvement in campaigns are associated with electoral success at the polls (Rosenstone and Hansen 1993, McCann, Rapaport, and Stone 1999). Recruiting supporters through phone banks, door-to-door campaigning, and, increasingly, the Internet is important in mobilizing people to support a party and get them to vote on election day. E-mail listservs and campaign Web sites have come to play a role in electoral mobilization in industrialized democracies such as the United States. Presidential candidate Howard Dean represented a major shift in campaigning in the 2004 U.S. presidential election. Much of his support was generated through his campaign Web site, which became an efficient and low-cost method for disseminating information, acquiring donations, and persuading people to get involved in the campaign.
Social movements are equally successful in using the Internet for getting their messages to the public, building networks, and mobilizing supporters. The continued growth of the Internet in developing countries increasingly allows parties and movements to exploit the low cost and expansive reach of the Internet for political and social mobilization.
Distinct from political and social mobilization, military mobilization involves actions directed externally in an offensive or defensive manner against other countries or occupying powers. War mobilization, for example, occurs when a government prepares to engage in hostilities with another country, as in the cases of World Wars I (1914–1918) and II (1939–1945). Internal military mobilization involves the use of security forces to bring about domestic order, as in martial law, and is used when the military stages a coup d’état and assumes the role of government, usually through a junta.
Military mobilization is often explained by reference to rational choice models such as expected utility models to predict whether a government will decide to mobilize its armed forces for outright war (Small and Singer 1982, Huth and Russett 1984). The initial onset of mobilization may be used as a deterrent tactic, as in the case of saber rattling.
Rationalist explanations of military mobilization privilege the role of elite decision makers, in particular a chief executive such as a president, prime minister, or monarch and that leader’s close circle of military advisors. The decision to mobilize entails a cost-benefit analysis of the presence or absence of factors that predict the likelihood of a successful strike or invasion. Material resources such as troop size and weaponry figure prominently, as do support from allies and others in the international community (e.g., the United Nations) and domestic support in democracies.
ANALYSES OF MOBILIZATION
Social scientists interested in popular social mobilization approach military and government mobilization from a different analytical perspective. Theda Skocpol (1988) and Charles Tilly (1978), for example, explain government mobilization as a response or preemptive action that is an obstacle to social and political mobilization. In other words, mobilization of the police against protestors and counterinsurgency actions by security and military forces are types of government mobilization that commonly are referred to as repression. In this sense mobilization is interactive. The military mobilizes against the populace, which may continue its protest and insurgency or curtail its mass mobilization. In some cases the military moves to thwart elections (popular political mobilization).
Mobilization also can be analyzed by tracing the chronological evolution of different emphases on key actors and actions. Analyses of World Wars I and II focus on specific qualities of troop mobilization and the weapons arsenals of the major adversaries, including Germany, the United States, and Great Britain (Small and Singer 1982). This practice continued through the beginning of the cold war between the Soviet Union and the United States, in which mobilization also included proxy wars in Korea and Vietnam and border skirmishes. Internal military mobilization received greater attention as civilian and postcolonial governments in Latin America and Africa were toppled by military coups from the 1950s through the 1970s.
Interest in electoral mobilization developed in the 1950s with the rise of the behavioral revolution in the social sciences and studies of democratic participation in the United States and Europe. At about the same time attention to popular mass mobilization was prompted by protests in democracies such as the United States and France and insurgencies in states beset by military coups in Latin America and many postcolonial states. Beginning in the 1990s, there were attempts to explain the sources of the democratic revolutions in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, along with the outcome of the first elections in those fledgling democracies.
As democracies have continued to emerge, popular mobilization is used more frequently in the social sciences to describe movements that are intended to accomplish internal political change through protest along with voting. Increasingly, social movements are vehicles that press for change through both extrainstitutional and institutional collective action (Tarrow 1994). The broader term collective action may come to supplant mobilization in electoral and social mobilization studies.
Mobilization refers to a fluid set of social and political behaviors. Mobilization may be violent (war, insurgency) or nonviolent (demonstrations) and institutionalized (voting and formal military action) or extrainstitutional (rebellions). Social, political, and military mobilization takes place in these different manifestations in both democracies and authoritarian states.
SEE ALSO Campaigning; Cold War; Collective Action; Democracy; Military; Political Parties; Protest; Resistance; Revolution; Social Movements; Social Science; Voting
Dahlerus, Claudia. 2001. Do Targets Matter? Repressive Targeting in East Central Europe. Unpublished PhD dissertation. University of Colorado, Boulder.
Huth, Paul, and Bruce Russett. 1984. What Makes Deterrence Work? Cases from 1900 to 1980. World Politics 36: 496–526.
McCann, James A., Ronald B. Rapaport, and Walter J. Stone. 1999. Heeding the Call: An Assessment of Mobilization into H. Ross Perot’s 1992 Presidential Campaign. American Journal of Political Science 43 (1): 1–28.
Rosenstone, Steven J., and John Mark Hansen. 1993. Mobilization, Participation, and Democracy in America. New York: Macmillan.
Skocpol, Theda. 1988. Social Revolutions and Mass Military Mobilization. World Politics 40 (2): 147–168.
Small, Melvin, and J. David Singer. 1982. Resort to Arms: International and Civil Wars, 1816–1980. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications.
Snyder, Jack. 2000. From Voting to Violence: Democratization and Nationalist Conflict. New York: Norton.
Tarrow, Sidney. 1994. Power in Movement: Social Movements, Collective Action, and Politics. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press.
Tilly, Charles. 1978. From Mobilization to Revolution. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.
Verba, Sidney, Kay Lehman Schlozman, and Henry E. Brady. 1995. Voice and Equality: Civic Voluntarism in American Politics. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
The modern process of preparing armies for war originated in the mid‐nineteenth century. Inherent in the modern usage of the term is the concept of a large national force, as opposed to the smaller professional forces of earlier times—armies that depended upon a warrior class maintained in almost perpetual readiness. As they developed generally, and in response to the Napoleonic Wars, European nations shifted to marshaling the entire nation‐state for war, and building large national armies. The term mobilization was first used in the 1850s to describe the preparation of the Prussian Army for deployment. Since then, it has become commonplace for governments, or states, to raise volunteers and employ conscription to create mass forces. Mobilization of the state harnesses the national economy to the military machine in order to conduct war.
For the United States, the Civil War brought the draft, mass armies, and massive economic changes. With full public support, both Northern and Southern governments raised volunteers, and within a year or two turned to conscription to help field national armies. Both governments tied their militaries to their respective economic bases to sustain the war effort for a prolonged period.
In the years following, America industrialized, expanding markets and interests beyond its own borders. International presence and wartime experience in Cuba and the Philippines kept military issues at the forefront of American policy. Although the armed forces were maintained at a relatively low level, reorganization in 1903 brought a General Staff to oversee the U.S. Army; planning and mobilization became regular missions.
In May 1917, President Woodrow Wilson approved the Selective Service System, which remained an instrument for raising armies in war and the Cold War until 1973. That solved the problem of recruiting and maintaining large national armies, but did not address the other half of the mobilization process. Producing equipment, supplies, and facilities turned out to be a far greater challenge. By sheer economic strength, at the end of World War I, the United States had built an army over 3.5 million strong with equally huge equipment surpluses.
The United States took some lessons from the staging and conducting of World War I. The warmaking had been so massive that an effort was made to standardize at least some of the procedures. The National Defense Act of June 1920 gave the assistant secretary of war responsibility for planning for industrial mobilization and for procurement through the War Department. Planning was done in the War Plans Division of the General Staff. Two initiatives were significant. One was the establishment of the Joint Army and Navy Munitions Board in 1922, which brought the two services together to formulate joint strategy. The second was the creation of the Army Industrial College, which gave officers the opportunity to examine mobilization. Plans and studies followed. In these, availability of supplies and equipment determined the rate at which troops could be absorbed. However, they assumed that production would adjust to strategic plans—expanding and contracting as necessary—and that only one mobilization plan would cover a variety of possible contingencies. Gradual changes in preparedness or a measured transition to a mobilized state did not exist. Manpower and materiel were considered separately.
By the end of the 1930s, plans went beyond the role of the army to examine how the nation should organize the control of industry in war. In 1936, the War Resources Administration was designated responsible for control of wartime finance, trade, labor, and price control. By 1939, industrial mobilization plans stipulated that the War Resources Administration be established as soon as it became practical to do so. Economic mobilization was no longer tied to the outbreak of hostilities.
The army began developing defensive plans in the mid‐1930s, addressing the size and composition of an initial defense force and its support. They sought to mesh production schedules and to bring together rates of troop and materiel mobilization. They also provided for a small, well‐equipped emergency force to ensure security during general mobilization. That was sound enough to become the permanent basis for mobilization. The plans provided for detailed unit and individual training programs, as well as manuals and associated training materials. They established a system for mobilizing men and equipment already available.
The United States began mobilizing for World War II by the end of 1939, despite the American public's alienation from military participation in world affairs. The depression had produced much idle and obsolete industrial capacity. The Roosevelt administration encouraged private expansion of facilities for war production through accelerated depreciation and government financing. Lend‐Lease also helped stimulate production. Mobilization sped up in 1941, expanded dramatically in 1942, and peaked in 1943.
Although the United States has historically relied on mobilization to meet its wartime needs, with the start of the Cold War it began to maintain higher levels of military forces in peacetime and to deploy them in close proximity to potential enemies. American strategy assumed a short warning time to respond to its major threat, the Soviet Union. The ebb and flow of the Cold War was such that public consensus allowed the military to maintain a large active force in high state of readiness, with sizable stocks of supplies for logistics support.
The National Security Act of 1947 instituted governmentwide planning by establishing the organizational machinery to implement mobilization and deployment strategy. Management structures include the Department of Defense (DoD), the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The nation's commitment to readiness, in great part, was enabled by the Defense Production Act of 1950, which has since been extended or amended over forty times.
Success in mobilization depends upon the health of the national industrial base, the availability of manpower, the state of international trade, and the condition of the nation's foreign relations. In time of war or urgent national need, it is assumed that the marketplace will provide adequate industrial capacity.
Historically, the National Guard and Organized reserves have been the assets that supported national defense. Currently, America's reserve forces consist of two National Guard components, the army and air guard; and five reserve components, the army, navy, air force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard Reserves. The Guard and organized reserves form the basis for expanding the active component in a military emergency. The National Guard and reserves are similar in that during wartime both are federal forces serving under the president. During peacetime, however, while the reserve is a federal force subordinate to the president, the Guard remains subordinate to the governor of each state, unless federalized by the president.
Mobilization levels depend upon the existence of forward bases, the level of industrial infrastructure, prepositioned equipment, industrial preparedness, preparedness planning, and public and congressional support. Ideally, high levels of any or all of those factors ease the entire process. Naturally, all are influenced by perceived threat. Generally, the higher the level of perceived threat, the higher the corresponding levels of support.
There are currently five levels of mobilization, governed by Title 10 of the U.S. code: selective, presidential selected reserve call‐up, partial, full, and total. These levels are not necessarily sequential. One level may precede another, but may not; they need not build upon one another. Certain policies and programs that immediately increase unit resources and readiness are available only when the president and Congress mobilize the reserve components of the armed forces. Conscription supports the expanding force structure, as determined by Congress and the president, but is not tied to any level of mobilization.
Selective mobilization is the expansion of the active forces by activating units and individuals of the selected reserve to protect life, federal property, and functions, or to prevent disruption of federal activities. This includes the call‐up of the National Guard, which can be done only for a specific purpose, such as the suppression of insurrection or conspiracy, prevention of unlawful obstructions or rebellions or abridgments of civil rights, to repel an invasion, or to execute the laws under legal authorities.
Presidential selected reserve call‐up gives the president authority to augment the active force with up to 200,000 members of the reserve component for up to 90 days, with an extension of a further 90 days. It does not require a declaration of national emergency, but does require a report to Congress within twenty‐four hours.
Partial mobilization requires presidential or congressional declaration of national emergency. The total force level could be as high as 1 million members of all services for up to twenty‐four months or less by presidential authority. If the presidential selected reserve call‐up already is in effect, the levels are cumulative; the ceiling is 1 million. A partial mobilization allows all selected reserve units and individuals (individual ready reserve, standby, and retired reserve) to be ordered to active duty.
Full mobilization is the state that exists when all units in the current force structure are called to active duty, fully equipped, fully manned, and sustained. Assumptions are that presidential selected reserve call‐up and partial mobilization have been completed and Congress has declared war or a state of national emergency. All reserve components are ordered to active duty for the duration of the war or emergency plus six months; industrial mobilization is initiated; allies are called on for support according to their treaty commitments.
Total mobilization is the expansion of the active armed force and the activation of additional units beyond the approved force structure. All additional resources, including production facilities, may be mobilized to support and sustain the active forces.
Overall, mobilization reflects American national and military history. As the nation has grown, physically and economically, so has its standing in the international community. Given the size of the armed forces today, their technological level and equipment requirements, and the diversity of threat and mission, the process of mobilization has become both more complex and more significant to the eventual success of the military force.
[See also Demobilization; Militia and National Guard; National Defense Acts; Reserve Forces Act; War Plans.]
Jacques S. Gansler , The Defense Industry, 1980.
Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mobilization, JCS no. 21, 1983.
Robert L. Pfaltzgraff, Jr., and Uri Ra’anan, eds., The U.S. Defense Mobilization Infrastructure, 1983.
Roderick L. Vawter , Industrial Mobilization, 1983.
Hardy L. Merritt and Luther F. Carter, eds., Mobilization and the National Defense, 1985.
MOBILIZATION is the process of assembling and organizing troops and matériel for the defense of a nation in time of war or national emergency. It has become a central factor in warfare since the French Revolution and the rise of nationalism. Whereas eighteenth-century powers most often hired mercenaries to fight limited wars, nineteenth-century nations increasingly demanded that every able-bodied citizen respond to mobilization calls. American attitudes toward war further reinforced the concept of total war because threats to public tranquility were interpreted as being illegal and immoral and thus as calling for nothing short of total war to reestablish the peace. In twentieth-century wars, it has been necessary to mobilize not only men and matériel but also psychological support, as illustrated by President Woodrow Wilson's vow to "make the world safe for democracy" and President Franklin D. Roosevelt's call for Germany's "unconditional surrender."
While embracing the notion of total war, the United States, until the twentieth century, was notoriously inept at mobilizing troops and retaining them for the duration of the wars it fought. Congress was ever suspicious of standing armies and of all efficient means that would enable the executive to mobilize the state militia forces, feeling that these instruments might serve partisan causes.
The mobilization problems experienced in the War of 1812 and the Mexican-American War (1846–1848) continued to plague U.S. military efforts throughout the nineteenth century. For instance, the militia system was never workable. This fact, together with the unreliability of the volunteers and the vices of the bounty system, demonstrated the necessity for conscription in any extended war in which the United States was involved. Furthermore, the tendency to mobilize manpower before mobilizing matériel was to create confusion down to World War I.
In the Mexican-American War, mobilization was based largely upon an expansible standing army and the calling of volunteers, because the militia's poor performance in the War of 1812 had demonstrated that the militia system was irredeemable. There were traces of preplanning in this first foreign war, as arms and supplies were provided by the federal government based on the needs of the entire mobilized army.
The Civil War was a total war and thus a modern conflict, although many of the mobilization mistakes of previous wars were repeated. At the outset, few were able to perceive the conflict's full dimensions, and thus mobilization proceeded sporadically. Initially, President Abraham Lincoln called 75,000 state militia troops. But since this element had not been called since 1836 at the outset of the second Seminole War, the 2,471,377 troops on its rolls represented only a paper force in 1861. Next, a call was issued for volunteers; with no effective mobilization plan, the war department was unable to process the overwhelming number of recruits. Later, when the ardor of volunteering cooled, other methods of raising troops were resorted to, such as the draft implemented by the Conscription Act of 1863. Although the act netted few draftees, it forced many to volunteer who otherwise would not have. Other extraordinary measures employed to mobilize manpower included accepting African Americans for army service and organizing special service units to receive invalid volunteers for noncombatant duty.
All the old nightmares of poor mobilization were present in the Spanish-American War (1898), plus some new ones. With no plan of mobilization, there was no integration of manpower with matériel and no training in combined naval and military operations. Only the fact that the war was short and successful helped to ameliorate some of the potentially disastrous problems. A series of postwar reforms was instituted to remedy the worst mobilization shortcomings, among which was the founding of the Army War College in 1901 to study the mobilization process.
U.S. participation in World War I(1917–1918) and World War II (1941–1945) introduced speed into the war-making equation. Although the urgency of mobilization was slightly cushioned by the prior entry of America's allies into both wars, the gigantic scale of mobilization, the increased importance of technology, the total absorption of a sophisticated industrial economy into the war effort, and the huge number of troops, all raised mobilization planning to the highest councils of war.
By the National Defense Act of 1916, the United States avoided some of the desperate measures used to raise manpower in previous wars: uncertain calls for militiamen and volunteers were no longer to be relied on, and draftees were not to make substitutions, purchase exemptions, or receive bounties. Whereas in earlier American wars estimates of manpower requirements had been based largely on guesses of what public sentiment would allow, in World War I, the calls for manpower were limited only by the manpower requirements for industry. Therefore, the great mobilization problems of World War I were not those of recruiting, but of equipping, training, organizing, and transporting the army to the front.
The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 catapulted the United States into the most massive mobilization effort in history. As in World War I, the armed forces and the war industries were in competition for manpower. In addition, there were the requirements of not one but five theaters of war, the need of maintaining lines of communication to each theater, and the need to dovetail efforts with coalition partners. The squeeze upon American manpower extended the search for able hands to the enlisting of women, indigenous personnel, prisoners of war, and the physically handicapped.
The leading role of the United States in the Cold War significantly altered its traditional mobilization techniques. Although never implemented, universal military training, authorized in principle by the Universal Military Training and Service Act of 1951, was intended to provide a peacetime pool of manpower that could be drafted in time of national emergency. Until the Korean War (1950– 1953), the emphasis on air power and nuclear arms allowed the army's manpower strength to slip.
Selective-service legislation passed in 1955 assured that reserve units would be manned by trained men; but instead of the reserves being called for the Vietnam War, as had been done in the Korean War, forces were raised through increased draft calls. As the war became increasingly unpopular at home, millions of young men sought college deferments to avoid service in Vietnam. Others engaged in open draft evasion, including fleeing to Canada and Europe. The draft created so much political controversy and domestic turmoil that the Nixon administration replaced it with an all-volunteer military in the early 1970s. The U.S. military continues to rely exclusively on volunteers to fill the needs of its fighting forces. Nevertheless, all young men are still required by law to register for selective service upon their eighteenth birthday.
Chambers, John W. To Raise an Army: The Draft Comes to Modern America. New York: Free Press, 1987.
Kreidberg, Marvin A., and Merton G. Henry. History of Military Mobilization in the United States Army, 1775–1945. Washington D.C.: Department of the Army, 1953, 1955; West-port, Conn.: Greenwood, 1975; Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1984.
Millett, Alan R. For the Common Defense: A Military History of the United States of America. New York: Free Press, 1984, 1994.
Don E.McLeod/a. g.
mo·bi·lize / ˈmōbəˌlīz/ • v. [tr.] 1. (of a country or its government) prepare and organize (troops) for active service: the government mobilized regular forces, reservists, and militia | [intr.] Russia is in no position to mobilize any time soon. ∎ organize and encourage (people) to act in a concerted way in order to bring about a particular political objective: he used the press to mobilize support for his party. ∎ bring (resources) into use in order to achieve a particular goal: at sea we will mobilize any amount of resources to undertake a rescue.2. make (something) movable or capable of movement: doing yoga stretches to mobilize compacted joints. ∎ make (a substance) able to be transported by or as a liquid: acid rain mobilizes the aluminum in forest soils.DERIVATIVES: mo·bi·liz·a·ble adj.mo·bi·li·za·tion / ˌmōbələˈzāshən/ n.mo·bi·liz·er n.
Mobile: Geography and Climate
Mobile: Population Profile
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Mobile: Health Care
Mobile: Convention Facilities
The City in Brief
Founded: 1702 (incorporated 1819)
Head Official: Mayor Michael C. Dow (N-P) (since 1989)
2003 estimate: 193,464
Percent change, 1990–2000: -.3%
U.S. rank in 1980: 72nd
U.S. rank in 1990: 79th
U.S. rank in 2000: 105th (State rank: 3rd)
Metropolitan Area Population
Percent change, 1990–2000: 13.3%
U.S. rank in 1980: 74th
U.S. rank in 1990: Not reported
U.S. rank in 2000: 78th
Area: 118 square miles (2000)
Elevation: 211 feet above sea level
Average Annual Temperature: 68° F
Average Annual Precipitation: 66 inches
Major Economic Sectors: Wholesale and retail trade, services, government
Unemployment rate: 6.0% (November 2004)
Per Capita Income: $18,072 (1999)
2002 FBI Crime Index Total: 17,949
Major Colleges and Universities: University of South Alabama, University of Mobile, Spring Hill College
Daily Newspaper: The Mobile Register
mo·bile • adj. / ˈmōbəl; -ˌbēl; -ˌbīl/ able to move or be moved freely or easily: he has a major weight problem and is not very mobile highly mobile international capital. ∎ (of the face or its features) indicating feelings with fluid and expressive movements: her mobile features working overtime to register shock and disapproval. ∎ (of a store, library, or other service) accommodated in a vehicle so as to travel around and serve various places. ∎ (of a military or police unit) equipped and prepared to move quickly to any place it is needed: mobile army combat units. ∎ able or willing to move easily or freely between occupations, places of residence, or social classes: an increasingly mobile and polarized society.• n. / ˈmōˌbēl/ a decorative structure that is suspended so as to turn freely in the air.
MOBILE. 14 March 1780. Captured by the Spanish. Considered a satellite of Jamaica's defense, the unhealthful British post at Mobile was garrisoned by three hundred men. It was captured after a brief siege by Bernardo de Gálvez, the governor of Louisiana, with a small force supported by a single armed vessel. Pensacola was saved by the intervention of a British squadron but fell the next year.
revised by Michael Bellesiles