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Old March 1, 2009, 12:23 AM   #65
Tennessee Gentleman
Senior Member
Join Date: March 31, 2005
Location: Tennessee
Posts: 1,607
Good discussion and I am a Hamilton fan. However, as I always say, history MUST be read in context.

Hamilton was arguing for a strong central government and the anti-federalists (who ultimately lost the argument) wanted a weak central government. Why? Because we had just thrown off a tryannical government and we were trying a new experiment the world had never seen. The sturm und drang of the Federalist/Anti-Federalist positions helped us craft a system of checks and balances that would make armed insurrection like we had inflicted upon King George unnecessary ever again. Rebellion was the only choice we had against the Crown because there was no other choice available save slavery to the King. At the time Hamilton was writing it was not certain how we would prevent a tryannical despot from taking over. Therefore, his reliance on the idea of an armed citizen militia. Superior in numbers if not in arms to any standing Army. That would change later on as the country grew up and the democratic institutions matured. I will show that later on.

Originally Posted by Webleymkv
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 use of arms who stand ready to defend their own rights, and those of their fellow citizens.
I posted this in another thread about the decline of the militia:

Originally Posted by Tennessee Gentleman
Within two decades of the ratification of the Constitution, American political leaders had abandoned the original concept of the militia, and in the words of one historian, "The ideological assumptions of revolutionary republicanism would no longer play an important role in the debate over the republic's military requirements." THE MILITIA AND THE CONSTITUTION: A LEGAL HISTORY by William S. Fields & David T. Hardy Military Law Review 1992
The founding fathers feared a large standing army and the quote you give from Hamilton as he tried to convince the anti-federalists that a strong government would not become tyrannical was speaking to that fear. The militia and the idea of a group of citizens "little, if at all, inferior to them in discipline and use of arms" fell by the wayside because a) The American People didn't like compulsory service in the militia and b) the checks and balances in the system provided the necessary protections needed for preventing tyranny thus Jefferson who had once loathed the idea now as President asked for a "select militia" or standing army. The idea you support was dead 20 years after the COTUS was written.

Originally Posted by Webleymkv
the lack of its use does not negate its purpose.
It renders it obsolete.

Originally Posted by Webleymkv
You claimed that the oath would prevent the military from supporting a rouge president from seizing sole governmental power. I pointed out, using your own examples, that this is a weak argument as the military can and has carried out illegal orders that would seem to be in conflict with the oath taken by its members. I asked that you support your claim, and, thus far, you have been either unable or unwilling to do so.
I have supported the claim but you are spinning the argument. I said that a rouge president would not be able to overthrow the other branches of government using the military because of the oath the military had taken. I did not say that the military would fail to execute apparently lawful orders (even later found to be wrong) that all three branches of government supported and approved which they did in the examples I provided.

Originally Posted by Webleymkv
How would the other branches of the government stop the potential tyrant if he already had control over a superior military force and posessed the will to use it against them.
Unless that military force was stronger than the US Military he couldn't do it. Since no President could obtain such control over the US Military, it would have to be one big force outside the government. Not likely to happen.

Originally Posted by Webleymkv
The fact that no one branch of the government has ever attempted to seize power from the others can be attributed to one of three possible causes:
I submit a fourth. They could not seize power because constitutional separations of powers as well as the checks and balances of our COTUS prevented them from doing it as well as free elections and an independent judiciary.

Webley, I am still waiting for historical evidence that an armed citizenry has prevented or undid a tyrannical act by our government.
"God and the Soldier we adore, in time of trouble but not before. When the danger's past and the wrong been righted, God is forgotten and the Soldier slighted."
Anonymous Soldier.

Last edited by Tennessee Gentleman; March 1, 2009 at 01:06 AM. Reason: spelling
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