|"There is something so
far-fetched and so extravagant in the idea of danger to liberty from the
militia that one is at a loss whether to treat it with gravity or with
raillery; whether to consider it as a mere trial of skill, like the paradoxes
of rhetoricians; or as a disingenuous artifice to instil prejudices at
any price; or as the serious offspring of political fanaticism. Where in
the name of common sense are our fears to end if we may not trust our sons,
our brothers, our neighbors, our fellow citizens? What shadow of danger
can there be from men who are daily mingling with the rest of their countrymen
and who participate with them in the same feelings, sentiments, habits,
- Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist # 29
|"WE hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness- That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient Causes; and accordingly all Experience hath shewn, that Mankind are more disposed to suffer, while Evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the Forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long Train of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a Design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future Security."(1)
| To declare War, grant letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make
Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
To raise and support Armies, but no appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two years;
To provide and maintain a Navy;
To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;
To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress; ... (2)
|The project of disciplining all the militia of the United States is as futile as it would be injurious if it were capable of being carried into execution. A tolerable expertness in military movements is a business that requires time and practice. It is not a day, nor a week nor even a month, that will suffice for the attainment of it. To oblige the great body of the yeomanry and of the other classes of the citizens to be under arms for the purpose of going through military exercises and evolutions, as often as might be necessary to acquire the degree of perfection which would entitle them to the character of a well-regulated militia, would be a real grievance to the people and a serious public inconvenience and loss. It would form an annual deduction from the productive labor of the country to an amount which, calculating upon the present numbers of the people, would not fall far short of a million pounds. To attempt a thing which would abridge the mass of labor and industry to so considerable an extent would be unwise: and the experiment, if made, could not succeed, because it would not be long endured. Little more can reasonably be aimed at with respect to the people at large than to have them properly armed and equipped; and in order that this be not neglected, it will be necessary to assemble them once or twice in the course of a year. (4)
|But though the scheme of disciplining the whole nation must be abandoned as mischievous or impracticable; yet it is a matter of the utmost importance that a well-digested plan should, as soon as possible, be adopted for the proper establishment of the militia. The attention of the government ought particularly to be directed to the formation of a select corps of moderate size, upon such principles as will really fit it for service in case of need. By thus circumscribing the plan, it will be possible to have a body of well-trained militia ready to take the field whenever the defense of the State shall require it. This will not only lessen the call for military establishments, but if circumstances should at any time oblige the government to form an army of any magnitude that army can never be formidable to the liberties of the people while there is a large body of citizens little if at all inferior to them in discipline and the use of arms, who stand ready to defend their own rights and those of their fellow-citizens. This appears to me the only substitute that can be devised for a standing army, and the best possible security against it, if it should exist." (5)
| As the size and repressive character of the standing army increased,
many Americans began to arm and to organize themselves into independent
militias. In 1774, George Mason and George Washington organized the Fairfax
County Militia Association, which was not subject to the control of the
royal governor and which in fact arose, in part, as a defense force against
the regular militia. "Threat'ned with the Destruction of our Civil-rights,
& Liberty," (as stated in the resolution drafted by Mason), the
members of this independent company of volunteers, who elected their own
officers, pledged that "we will, each of us, constantly keep by us"
a firelock, six pounds of gun powder, and twenty pounds of lead.
In praising the Fairfax County model, a writer from Georgia implored that "the English troops in our front, and our governors forbid giving assent to militia laws, make it high time that we enter into associations* for learning the use of arms, and to choose officers ..."
[*emphasis in original] (6)
|As Samuel Adams and his Massachusetts colleagues were meeting in Philadelphia, the colony's towns had elected delegates to a new Massachusetts Provincial Congress after the dissolution of the House by General Gage. Convening in Salem, with Hancock as president, the delegates launched the colony's first government independent of the British king. They ordered money held back from the royal collections and channeled into their own accounts. They set up elite units within the militia-companies of fifty privates who were instructed to move at the shortest notice. And they established Committees of Safety to oversee those shock troops, who were calling themselves Minute Men. (7)
| 4. That the Inhabitants of this County do meet on a certain Day
appointed by this Committee, and having formed themselves into nine Companies,
to wit, eight for the County, and one for the Town of Charlotte, do choose
a Colonel and other military Officers, who shall hold and exercise their
several Powers by Virtue of this Choice, and independent of Great Britain,
and former Constitution of this Province.
5. That for the better Preservation of the Peace, and Administration of Justice, each of these Companies do choose from their own Body two discreet Freeholders, who shall be impowered each by himself, and singly, to determine all Matters of Controversy arising within the said Company under the Sum of Twenty Shillings, and jointly and together all Controversies under the sum of Forty Shillings, yet so as their Decisions may admit of Appeals to the Convention of Select Men of the whole County; and also, that any one of these shall have power to examine, and commit to Confinement, Persons accused of Petit Larceny.
6. That those two Select Men, thus chosen, do, jointly and together, chose from the Body of their particular Company two persons, properly qualified to serve as Constables, who may assist them in the Execution of their Office.
7. That upon Complaint of any Person to either of these Select Men, he do issue his Warrant, directed to the Constable, commanding him to bring the Aggressor before him or them to answer the said Complaint.
8. That these eighteen Select Men, thus appointed, do meet every third Tuesday in January, April, July, and October, at the Court-house, in Charlotte, to hear and determine all Matters of Controversy for Sums exceeding Forty Shillings; also Appeals: And in Cases of Felony, to commit the Person or Persons convicted thereof to close Confinement, until the Provincial Congress shall provide and establish Laws and modes of Proceeding in all such Cases. (8)
| Thus,therefore, the political object, as the original motive
of the War,will be the standard for determining both the aim of the military
force and also the amount of effort to be made. (9)
The object in war is to attain a better peace-even if only from your own point of view. Hence it is essential to conduct war with constant regard to the peace you desire. (10)
The First Factor is MORAL POSITION. You must operate from such a strong sense of moral justification that even the threat of death will not deter you from your course.
You need such a firm sense of moral resolution to overcome the debilitating effects of the inevitable dangers,setbacks and hardships which will accompany any war.
For a nation to have this moral strength and resolution, the government must have the support of the people. The people must agree that the reasons for the war are necessary, just and deserving of the utmost sacrifice.
Leaders who would wage war without this strong moral justification, and without the support of the people, will find their own power bases quickly crumbling when setbacks and hardships occur. (11)
- Mike Johnson, June 12, 1995