05 November 2007

Did Publius Warn Us?

"Publius" is the collective pseudonym of Alexander Hamilton, John Jay and James Madison, authors of the Federalist papers. On the History News Network, a historian sees a warning from Hamilton about militarism tending toward monarchy. Here's Federalist No. 8 in full, so you can judge for yourself. The thing I find interesting is Hamilton's supposition that a standing army in itself is a menace in a nation subject to frequent attack, but not so much to be feared in a nation generally at peace. Match that with the growth of commander-in-chief assertiveness as the country got into entangling alliances and put our armies into harm's way far from our home shores, and Hamilton may indeed have been on to something.

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