Americans’ deep and abiding suspicion of “standing armies” embodied in “the Militia of the several States”

The Declaration and Resolves of the First Continental Congress in 1774, asserted “the keeping a standing army in several of these colonies, in time of peace, without the consent of the legislature of that colony, in which such army is kept, is against law”; and the Declaration of Independence in 1776, which enumerated as grievances against King George III that “[h]e has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures” and “has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power”.

Documents Illustrative of the Formation of the Union of the American States, House Document No. 398, 69th Congress, 1st Session (Washington D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1927), at 5. Also see The Sword and Sovereignty: The Constitutional Principles of “the Militia of the several States”, Front Royal, Virginia CD ROM Edition 2012, by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., page 793.

Also see “Martial Law” in America’s Founding Era • “Martial Law: Under President Lincoln“Martial Law” Under President FDR“Martial Law” in the United States Today •  A Primer on “Martial Law” • Executive Power • “Gun Control”


“Standing Armies” Defined

  • A definition of a ‘standing army’ is necessary for clarity. ‘A well regulated Militia’ (2nd Amendment) is not a ‘standing army’, but antagonistic to any ‘standing army’.

    True “standing armies” are usually composed effectively of mercenaries, particularly within the corps of officers. During their careers, such professional soldiers are primarily concerned with continuing their employment and enhancing their ranks, medals and other awards, incomes, political influence, social standing, retirement-benefits, and other perquisites. As with operatives in any extensive bureaucracy largely unaccountable to the people, they are indifferent to whether they serve “a free State” (footnote 1) or “a[n un]free State”, or even to whether their supposed “service” transforms “a free State” into “a[n un]free State”, as long as they can continually advance their institutional, professional, and personal self-interests. Unlike most bureaucracies, however, which although often pernicious are not necessarily inherently destructive and deadly, “standing armies” are mainly preoccupied in preparing for, and often actually engaging in, armed conflicts—and therefore concerned with convincing the ruling classes in the societies in which they exist that such activities are necessary and worth their exorbitant cost in blood and treasure. For the greater the danger and the extent of such conflicts, the greater the resources, power, and prestige “standing armies” can demand that public officials should turn over to them. So, because too long a period of tranquility draws into question the necessity for the very existence of “standing armies”, peace is never their goal. Because the demands of modern warfare lay claim to next to everything society can produce, frugality is never their goal. And because, after truth, liberty is the first casualty in any society routinely engaged in warfare, “a free state” based upon individuals’ unalienable rights and limited government is never their goal. (footnote 2)

    Footnotes:

    1.) See U.S. Const. amend. II.

    2.) Constitutional “Homeland Security”, Volume Two, The Sword and Sovereignty: The Constitutional Principles of “the Militia of the several States”, Front Royal, Virginia CD ROM Edition 2012, by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., page 1546.

“Standing Armies”

America’s Founders were philosophically, politically, and legally committed to the proposition that “the Constitution must either break the Army, or the Army will destroy the Constitution: for it is universally true, that where-ever the [military power] is, there is or will be the Government in a short time” (footnote 1) Thus it was inevitable that, following hard upon their independence, Americans would embody these precepts and principles in their own fundamental laws.

“Standing armies”—whether of the traditional type, or composed of ostensibly “civilian” but para-militarized “police departments” and other “law-enforcement agencies”—cannot be trusted, because they tend to attract to, mold within, and advance through their ranks the very types of men and women who can be expected to side with and even egg on “ambitious and unprincipled rulers” against “the rights of the people”—to attempt to become such “rulers” themselves—and to exclude and weed out all other individuals who exhibit contrary inclinations.

“Standing Armies”: Abhorred and Denounced the Founding Era and Founding Documents

Because “[w]e are bound to interpret the Constitution in the light of the law as it existed at the time it was adopted”, (footnote 2) the condemnation of “standing armies” in the Declaration of Independence and various State laws of that period must always be kept first and foremost in mind. (footnote 3) Certainly the Framers of the Constitution evinced no lessor a strong aversion to “standing armies”.

These attitudes carried over into the drafting of the Constitution of the United States. For, as Virginia’s Governor Edmund Randolph reported to that State’s Convention, “[w]ith respect to a standing army * * * there was not a member in the federal Convention, who did not feel indignation at such an institution”. (footnote 4) This aversion and animosity were the products, not simply of historical erudition and acumen, but of profound political prescience. For although the Founders were never exposed to modern totalitarianism, they would have agreed that “[a]ccording to the Marxist theory of the state, the army is the chief component of state power”. (footnote 5)

Against this background, the original Constitution incorporated and relied upon “the Militia of the several States”, not for the practical reason that America’s pre-constitutional Militia had always proven themselves perfectly efficient military forces (which in many instances they had not), but for the more important political reason that, being composed of WE THE PEOPLE en masse, the Militia promised to provide the most reliable “checks and balances” against the excesses of “standing armies” and the aspirations of usurpers and tyrants who would rely upon such forces to seize and abuse excessive political power. For, no matter how well organized, armed, and disciplined THE PEOPLE’S Militia may be, they will never function as “standing armies” in aid of usurpation and tyranny aimed at THE PEOPLE themselves. And the better organized, armed, and disciplined the Militia are, the better they can deter, and if necessary resist and overcome, “standing armies” raised by aspiring usurpers and tyrants in order to overawe THE PEOPLE. (footnote 6)

 

Justice Joseph Story later summarized Americans’ dominant objections to “standing armies”—and identified the Militia alone as capable of providing the necessary “checks and balances” against their excesses:

“The militia is the natural defence of a free country against sudden foreign invasions, domestic insurrections, and domestic usurpations of power by rulers. It is against sound policy for a free people to keep up large military establishments and standing armies in time of peace, both from the enormous expenses with which they are attended and the facile means which they afford to ambitious and unprincipled rulers to subvert the government or trample upon the rights of the people. The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered as the palladium of the liberties of a republic, since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers, and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them.” (footnote 7)

  • The Framers preeminent legal mentor, Sir William Blackstone, was highly suspicious of ‘standing armies’ in his Commentaries.

    Sir William Blackstone, renowned author of the Commentaries on the Laws of England, was the Founding Fathers’ preeminent legal mentor. “At the time of the adoption of the Federal Constitution [the Commentaries] had been published about twenty years, and it has been said that more copies of the work had been sold in this country than in England, so that undoubtedly the Framers of the Constitution were familiar with it” (footnote 1) and considered it “the preeminent authority on English law”(footnote 2) every legally literate American was also aware of the general rule for statutory construction which Blackstone taught. The concern for “standing armies” was shared not just by every American patriot of the founding era who was conversant with pre-constitutional Anglo-American law, history, and political philosophy. As even Blackstone himself had observed:

    “THE military state includes the whole of the soldiery; or, such persons as are peculiarly appointed among the rest of the people, for the safeguard and defence of the realm.

    IN a land of liberty it is extremely dangerous to make a distinct order of the profession of arms. In absolute monarchies this is necessary for the safety of the prince, and arises from the main principle of their constitution, which is that of governing by fear: but in free states the profession of a soldier, taken singly and merely as a profession, is justly an object of jealousy. In these no man should take up arms, but with a view to defend his country and it’s laws: he puts not off the citizen when he enters the camp; but it is because he is a citizen, and would wish to continue so, that he makes himself for a while a soldier. The laws therefore and constitution of these kingdoms [that is, England, Scotland, and Ireland] know no such state as that of a perpetual standing soldier * * * . (footnote 3)

    TO prevent the executive power from being able to oppress, * * * it is requisite that the armies with which it is entrusted should consist of the people, and have the same spirit with the people * * * . Nothing then, according to these principles, ought to be more guarded against in a free state, than making the military power, when such a one is necessary to be kept on foot, too distinct from the people.” (footnote 4)

    Footnotes:

    1.) Schick v. United States, 195 U.S. 65, 69 (1904). See, e.g., The Federalist No. 84 notes [1 and 2].

    2.) Alden v. Maine, 527 U.S. 706, 715 (1999).

    3.) Commentaries on the Laws of England (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Robert Bell, American Edition, 4 Volumes & Appendix, 1771-1773), Volume 1, at 407.

    4.) Id., Volume 1, at 413-414 (emphasis supplied).

  • Those who framed America’s foundational legal documents had for a long time been absorbed in considering the arbitrary encroachments by ‘standing armies’ on THE PEOPLE’S liberties.

    Those who framed America’s foundational legal documents “had for a long time been absorbed in considering the arbitrary encroachments of the [British] crown on the liberty of the subject”. (footnote 1) If many and complex were the reasons for which patriotic Americans in pre-constitutional times developed very palpable political, legal, and even personal antipathies to “standing armies’ and to the “martial law” soldiers enforced, (footnote 2) that they did so was patent to everyone. Time and again, patriots denounced “standing armies’ and “martial law” in terms even stronger than Blackstone had set to paper—and not simply as matters merely of principle, but as the direct results of the actual practices of “standing armies” and enforcement of “martial law” in the Colonies.

    The Declaration and Resolves of the First Continental Congress (14 October 1774) echoed Blackstone’s aversion to “martial law” in its complaint that “the British parliament *** hath *** extended the jurisdiction of the courts of admiralty *** for the trial of causes merely arising within the body of the country”, and in its resolution that “the keeping a standing army in these colonies, in times of peace, without the consent of the legislature of that colony, in which such army is kept, is against law”. (footnote 3)

    Going further, in its Declaration of Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms (6 July 1775) the Continental Congress excoriated “[t]he legislature of Great Britain, which,

    “stimulated by an inordinate passion for power not only unjustifiable, but for which they know to be particularly reprobated by the very constitution of that kingdom, and desperate of success in any mode of contest , where regard should be had to truth, law, or right, have at length, deserting those, attempted to affect their cruel and impolitic purpose of enslaving those colonies by violence, and have thereby rendered it necessary for us to close with their last appeal from reason to arms.” (footnote 4)

    Footnotes:

    1.) Ex parte bain, 121 U.S. 1, 12 (1887).

    2.) See, e.g., John Shy, Toward Lexington: The Role of the British Army in the Coming of the American Revolution (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1965), at 376-398.

    3.) Documents Illustrative of the Formation of the Union of the American States, House Document No. 398, 69th Congress, 1st Session (Washington D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1927), at 1 and 5.

    4.) Documents Illustrative of the Formation of the Union of the American States, House Document No. 398, 69th Congress, 1st Session (Washington D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1927), at 10.

  • British General Thomas Gage imposed ‘martial law’ on the inhabitants of Boston by means of a ‘standing army’—April 19, 1775. The Continental Congress detailed and denounced the incident.

    The Continental Congress described how British

    general [Thomas] Gage, who in the course of the last year had taken possession of the town of Boston, in the province of Massachusetts-Bay, and still occupied it [a]s ***a garrison, on the 19th day of April [1775] , sent out from that place a large detachment of his army, who made an unprovoked assault on the inhabitants *** at the town of Lexington , *** murdered eight of the inhabitants, and wounded many others. From thence the troops proceeded in a warlike array to the town of Concord, where they set upon another party of inhabitants *** killing several and wounding more, until compelled to retreat by the country people suddenly assembled to repel this true aggression. Hostilities, thus commenced by the British troops, have since been prosecuted by them without regard to faith or reputation.—The inhabitants of Boston being confined within that town by the general their governor, and having, in order to procure their dismiss ion, entered into a treaty with him, it was stipulated that the said inhabitants having deposited their arms with their own magistrates, should have liberty to depart, taking with them their other effects. They accordingly delivered up their arms, but in open defiance of honor, in defiance of the obligation of treaties, which even savage nations esteemed sacred, the governor ordered the arms *** to be seized by a body of soldiers; detained the greatest part of the inhabitants in the town, and compelled the few who were permitted to retire, to leave their most valuable effects behind.

    * * *

    The general, *** by a proclamation *** , after venting the grossest falsehoods and calumnies against the good people of these colonies, proceeds to declare them all, either by name or description, to be rebels and traitors, to supersede the course of the common law, and instead thereof to punish and order the use of the law martial.” (footnote 1)

    Footnotes:

    1.) Documents Illustrative of the Formation of the Union of the American States, House Document No. 398, 69th Congress, 1st Session (Washington D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1927), at 14-15.

  • The ‘martial law’ enforced upon the colonies by ‘standing armies’ explicitly denounced in the Declaration of Independence.

    Based upon American’s own experience of “martial law” imposed upon them by “standing armies”, the “[a]bhorrence of military rule” became “ingrained in our form of government”. (footnote 1) The Declaration of Independence went beyond Congress’s invocation of “resistance by force” to the assertion “That the[ ] United Colonies *** are Absolved from All Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved.” In explaining and justifying this course of action, far from applying, approving of, or acquiescing in anything akin to modern “martial governance”, or advancing any reason which might validate even the less stringent form of “martial law” known in its own day, the Declaration explicitly attacked,

    “[t]he history of the present King of Great Britain [a]s a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let the facts be submitted to a candid world—

    *   *   *   *   *

    He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies, without the consent of the legislatures.—He has affected to render the Military independent and superior to the Civil power.—He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to or constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their pretended Legislation:—For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these States *** :—For depriving us in many cases , of the benefits of Trial by Jury:—For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offenses * * *  .—He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us. He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt out towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.—He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation. ***  A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.” (footnote 2)

    Footnotes:

    1.) Duncan v. Kahanamoku, 327 U.S. 304, 325 (1946) (Murphy, J., concurring)

    2.) The importance of this indictment was emphasized in Reid v. Covert, 354 U.S. 1, 29 (1957) (opinion of Black, J., announcing the judgement of the court), and in Duncan v. Kahanamoku, 327 U.S. 304, 320 (ooinion of Black, J., for the Court), 325 (Murphy, J., concurring) (1946).

  • The danger of ‘standing armies’ was the consensus among patriotic Americans in the Founding Era. The constitutions of several of the independent States addressed the issue in precisely those terms.

    Justice Joseph Story’s summary regarding the danger of ‘standing armies’ fairly reflected the consensus among patriotic Americans in the Founding Era. The constitutions of several of the independent States addressed the issue in precisely those terms, including:

    • DELAWARE. “SEC[TION] 17. “No standing army shall be kept up without the consent of the legislature; and the military shall, in all cases and at all times, be in strict subordination to the civil power.” (footnote 1)

    • MARYLAND. “[Article] XXV. That a well-regulated militia is the proper and natural defence of a free government.”

      “XXVI. That standing armies are dangerous to liberty, and ought not to be raised or kept up, without consent of the Legislature.

      “XXVII. That in all cases, and at all times, the military ought to be under strict subordination to and control of the civil power.” (footnote 2)

    • MASSACHUSETTS. “Art[icle] XVII. The people have a right to keep and to bear arms for the common defence. And as, in time of peace, armies are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be maintained without the consent of the legislature; and the military power shall always be held in an exact subordination to the civil authority, and be governed by it.” (footnote 3)

    • NEW HAMPSHIRE.“[Article]XXIV.A well regulated militia is the proper, natural, and safe defence of a state.

      “XXV. Standing armies are dangerous to liberty, and ought not to be raised or kept up without the consent of the legislature.

      “XXVI. In all cases, and at all times, the military ought to be under strict subordination to, and governed by the civil power.” (footnote 4)

    • NORTH CAROLINA.“[Article] XVII. That the people have a right to bear arms, for the defence of the State; and, as standing armies, in time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up; and that the military should be kept under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.” (footnote 5)

    • PENNSYLVANIA.“[Article] XIII. That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the state; and as standing armies in time of peace are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up; And that the military should be kept under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.” (footnote 6)

    • SOUTH CAROLINA. “[Article] XLII. That the military be subordinate to the civil power of the State.” (footnote 7)

    • VIRGINIA. “13. That a well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defence of a free state; that standing armies, in time of peace, should be avoided, as dangerous to liberty; and that, in all cases, the military should be under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.” (footnote 8)

    Footnotes:

    1.) CONSTITUTION OF DELAWARE (1792), in THE FEDERAL AND STATE CONSTITUTIONS COLONIAL CHARTERS AND OTHER ORGANIC LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES, Benjamin P. Poore, Compiler (New York, New York: Burt Franklin, Second Edition, 1972 Reprint of the 1924 Edition), PART I , at 279. Also see, The Sword and Sovereignty: The Constitutional Principles of “the Militia of the several States”, Front Royal, Virginia CD ROM Edition 2012, by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., page 794.

    2.) A DECLARATION OF RIGHTS, and the CONSTITUTION and FORM of GOVERNMENT, agreed to by the Delegates of Maryland, in free Convention Assembled (1776), A DECLARATION OF RIGHTS, in THE FEDERAL AND STATE CONSTITUTIONS, ante note 1157, PART I, at 819. Also see, The Sword and Sovereignty: The Constitutional Principles of “the Militia of the several States”, Front Royal, Virginia CD ROM Edition 2012, by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., page 794.

    3.) CONSTITUTION OF MASSACHUSETTS (1780), PART THE FIRST, A DECLARATION OF THE RIGHTS OF THE INHABITANTS OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS, in THE FEDERAL AND STATE CONSTITUTIONS, ante note 1157, PART I, at 959. Also see, The Sword and Sovereignty: The Constitutional Principles of “the Militia of the several States”, Front Royal, Virginia CD ROM Edition 2012, by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., page 794-795.

    4.) CONSTITUTION OF NEW HAMPSHIRE (1784), PARTI.—THE BILL OF RIGHTS, in THE FEDERAL AND STATE CONSTITUTIONS, ante note 1157, PART II, at 1282. Also see, The Sword and Sovereignty: The Constitutional Principles of “the Militia of the several States”, Front Royal, Virginia CD ROM Edition 2012, by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., page 795.

    5.) CONSTITUTION OF NORTH CAROLINA (1776), A DECLARATION OF RIGHTS, in THE FEDERAL AND STATE CONSTITUTIONS, ante note 1157, PART II, at 1410. Also see, The Sword and Sovereignty: The Constitutional Principles of “the Militia of the several States”, Front Royal, Virginia CD ROM Edition 2012, by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., page 795.

    6.) CONSTITUTION OF PENNSYLVANIA (1776), A Declaration of the Rights of the Inhabitants of the State of Pennsylvania, in THE FEDERAL AND STATE CONSTITUTIONS, ante note 1157, PART II, at 1542. Also see, The Sword and Sovereignty: The Constitutional Principles of “the Militia of the several States”, Front Royal, Virginia CD ROM Edition 2012, by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., page 795.

    7.) CONSTITUTION OF SOUTH CAROLINA (1778), An act for establishing the constitution of the State of South Carolina, in THE FEDERAL AND STATE CONSTITUTIONS, ante note 1157, PART II, at 1627. Also see, The Sword and Sovereignty: The Constitutional Principles of “the Militia of the several States”, Front Royal, Virginia CD ROM Edition 2012, by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., page 795.

    8.) VIRGINIA BILL OF RIGHTS (1776), in THE FEDERAL AND STATE CONSTITUTIONS, ante note 1157, PART II, at 1909.  Also see, The Sword and Sovereignty: The Constitutional Principles of “the Militia of the several States”, Front Royal, Virginia CD ROM Edition 2012, by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., page 795.

  • The constitutional separation of ‘the Militia of the several States’ from the regular Armed Forces

    The Constitution carefully distinguishes and separates the permanent “Militia of the several States” from the contingent “Armies”, “Navy”, and “Troops, or Ships of War” which it permits Congress or the States to “raise and support”, “provide and maintain”, or “keep”. (footnote 1) In so doing, the Constitution plainly recognizes that the Militia hold a position of priority to those institutions, as well as a position of outright superiority to every para-military or civilian police or other “homeland-security” agency that Congress may enjoy some power to create. (footnote 2)

    The Colonies’ and independent States’ Militia were always separate establishments, rather than simply units in the regular British, Colonial, or later State and Continental Armed Forces. Throughout the pre-constitutional period, some Colonial and then State statutes regulated the Colonial and State Militia without in any way affecting Colonial and State regular “Troops”; other statutes raised “Troops” without affecting the Militia; and yet other statutes both regulated the Militia and raised “Troops” without conflating the two different establishments. So, because the Constitution incorporates “the Militia of the several States” into its federal system according to principles derived from their actual existence, structure, and operation during that era, the Militia cannot be parts of the regular Armed Forces of either the several States or the United States.

    As to the States in particular, the Constitution clearly differentiates between regular forces—the “Troops, or Ships of War” which “[n]o State shall, without the Consent of Congress, * * * keep * * * in time of Peace” (footnote 3)—and “the Militia of the several States”, which the States and Congress must maintain perforce of and in compliance with the Constitution at all times. In this, the Constitution follows the pattern set in the Articles of Confederation, which provided that

    “[n]o vessels of war shall be kept up in time of peace by any state, except such number only, as shall be deemed necessary by the united states in congress assembled, for the defence of such state or its trade; nor shall any body of forces be kept up by any state, in time of peace, except such number only, as in the judgment of the united states, in congress assembled, shall be deemed requisite to garrison the forts necessary for the defence of such state; but each state shall always keep up a well regulated and disciplined militia, sufficiently armed and accoutred[.]” (footnote 4)

    As with the Constitution, the Articles secured a preferred and practically permanent position for the Militia at that time, because “the Articles of this confederation shall be inviolably observed by every state * * * ; nor shall any alteration at any time * * * be made in any of them; unless such alteration be agreed to in a congress of the united states, and be afterwards confirmed by the legislatures of every state”. (footnote 5)

    Footnotes:

    1.) Compare and contrast U.S. Const. art. I, § 8, cls. 12 through 16, and § 10, cl. 3; and art. II, § 2, cl. 1.

    2.) Compare and contrast U.S. Const. art. I, § 8, cl. 18 and amends. II and X.

    3.) U.S. Const. art. I, § 10, cl. 3.

    4.) Arts. of Confed’n art. VI, ¶ 4 (emphasis supplied).

    5.) Arts. of Confed’n art. XIII.

  • Militia would spread the costs of emergency preparedness amongst THE PEOPLE in the Localities in which they live and monitor those expenditures.

    As Justice Joseph Story warned, “It is against sound policy for a free people to keep up large military establishments and standing armies in time of peace, * * * from the enormous expenses with which they are attended”. (footnote 1) Inasmuch as properly organized Militia spread many of the costs of preparedness for emergencies amongst THE PEOPLE in the Localities in which they live through the citizenry’s direct participation, they will tend to lower those costs. For, when THE PEOPLE themselves experience the total costs of preparedness palpably through personal participation—not just vicariously through their payment of taxes, the later expenditures of which revenues they cannot carefully supervise—and thereby come to understand how and why those costs are being generated, and what benefits do or do not accrue to them from those expenditures, they will become unwilling to include in their programs for “homeland security” anything they do not recognize as truly necessary. Whereas, when massive “standing armies”, semi-civilian “law-enforcement” bureaucracies, and a supporting financial and industrial complex organized on corporative-state lines provide the simulacrum of “homeland security”, THE PEOPLE are unable to judge firsthand the real need for and burden of what almost always tend to be huge and generally profligate expenditures. (footnote 2)

    Footnotes:

    1.) Justice Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States (Boston, Massachusetts: Little Brown and Company, Fifth Edition, 1891), Volume 2, § 1897, at 646.

    2.) Constitutional “Homeland Security”, Volume Two, The Sword and Sovereignty: The Constitutional Principles of “the Militia of the several States”, Front Royal, Virginia CD ROM Edition 2012, by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., page 799.

April 19, 1775, Boston. British General Thomas Gage’s imposition of “martial law” by means of a “standing army” left the patriots but one alternative: “We are reduced to chusing an unconditional submission to the tyranny of irritated ministers, or resistance by force.—The latter is our choice.—We have counted the cost of this contest, and find nothing so dreadful as voluntary slavery.—Honour, justice, and humanity forbid us to tamely surrender that freedom which we received from our gallant ancestors, and which our innocent posterity have a right to receive from us. We cannot endure the infamy and guilt of resigning succeeding generations to that wretchedness which inevitably awaits them, if we basely entail hereditary bondage upon them.” (footnote 8).

In the Founding era, no patriot dissented from the admonition “That a well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defence of a free State” and “that standing armies, in time of peace, should be avoided, as dangerous to liberty[.]” (footnote 9) No less than George Washington himself, America’s first “Commander in Chief”, in his Farewell Address advised his countrymen to avoid the necessity of those overgrown Military establishments, which under any form of Government are inauspicious to liberty, and which are to be regarded as particularly hostile to Republican Liberty”. (footnote 10)

  • Footnotes

    1.) Anonymous [John Trenchard with Walter Moyle], AN ARGUMENT, Shewing, that a Standing Army Is inconsistent with A Free Government, and absolutely destructive to the Constitution of the English Monarchy (London, England: [no publisher identified] 1697), at 4. On Trenchard’s importance, see Introduction, The English Libertarian Heritage: From the Writings of John Trenchard and Thomas Gordon in The Independent Whig and Cato’s Letters, David L. Jacobson, Editor (Indianapolis, Indiana: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, Inc., 1965); Caroline Robbins, The Eighteenth-Century Commonwealthman: Studies in the Transmission, Development and Circumstance of English Liberal Thought from the Restoration of Charles II until the War with the Thirteen Colonies (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1959), passim.

    2.) Mattox v. United States, 156 U.S. 237, 243 (1895).

    3.) See menu on this page “The danger of “standing armies” was the consensus among patriotic Americans in the Founding Era. The constitutions of several of the independent States addressed the issue in precisely those terms.”

    4.) Jonathan Elliot, THE DEBATES IN THE SEVERAL STATE CONVENTIONS ON THE ADOPTION OF THE FEDERAL CONSTITUTION, AS RECOMMENDED BY THE GENERAL CONVENTION AT PHILADELPHIA, IN 1787 (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: J.B. Lippincott Company, Second Edition, 1836), Volume 3, at 401.

    5.) Quotations From Chairman Mao Tse-tung (Peking, China: Foreign Languages Press, First Edition, 1966), at 62.

    6.) Constitutional “Homeland Security”, Volume Two, The Sword and Sovereignty: The Constitutional Principles of “the Militia of the several States”, Front Royal, Virginia CD ROM Edition 2012, by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., page 798.

    7.) Justice Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States (Boston, Massachusetts: Little Brown and Company, Fifth Edition, 1891), Volume 2, § 1897, at 646 (emphasis supplied).

    8.) Documents Illustrative of the Formation of the Union of the American States, House Document No. 398, 69th Congress, 1st Session (Washington D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1927), at 15 (editors footnote omitted).

    9.) A DECLARATION of RIGHTS made by the representatives of the good people of Virginia, assembled in full and free Convention; which rights do pertain to them, and their posterity, as the basis and foundation of government, 12 June 1776, Article 13, At a General Convention of Delegates and Representatives, from the several counties and corporations of Virginia, held at the Capitol in the City of Williamsburg, on Monday the 6th of May, 1776, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 9, at 111 (bold-face emphasis supplied).

    10.) Farewell Address (19 September 1796), in Victor H. Paltsits, Washington’s Farewell Address: In Facsimile, with Transliterations of all the Drafts of Washington, Madison, & Hamilton, Together with their Correspondence and Other Supporting Documents; Edited, with a History of its Origin, Reception by the Nation, Rise of the Controversy Respecting its Authorship, and a Bibliography (New York, New York: The New York Public Library, 1935), at facsimile page 9.