Standing Army

The idea of maintaining a standing army, now an accepted necessity, was hotly debated at the time of the creation of the United States. Alexander Hamilton made the argument against in The Federalist Papers of which he was one of the three primary authors:

A tolerable expertness in military movements is a business that requires time and practice. It is not a day, or even a week, 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.

This was certainly not due to any excess of pacifism. Elsewhere in the same Federalist Papers, Hamilton expressed the view that, "The rights of neutrality will only be respected, when they are defended by an adequate power. A nation, despicable by its weakness, forfeits even the privilege of being neutral."

So it was not the military force of the national government to which Hamilton objected, but the maintenance of a army of soldiers in times of peace. ---- Selected Quotes ----

Quotes regarding Standing Army.

By George Mason
No man has a greater regard for the military gentlemen than I have. I admire their intrepidity, perseverance, and valour. But when once a standing army is established, in any country, the people lose their liberty.
Debate at the Virginia Ratifying Convention, 1788
By Noah Webster
Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States. A military force, at the command of Congress, can execute no laws, but such as the people perceive to be just and constitutional; for they will possess the power, and jealousy will instantly inspire the inclination, to resist the execution of a law which appears to them unjust and oppressive.
An Examination of the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution, 1787

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Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power by Rachel Maddow.
"One of my favorite ideas is, never to keep an unnecessary soldier," Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1792. Neither Jefferson nor the other Found­ers could e...