The Modern Federalist Papers (2010)Origional Federalist Papers
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MODERN FEDERALIST. No. 11
To the People of the Unites States of America:
The Preamble: Provide for the Common Defense
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessing of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
Benjamin Franklin had a low opinion of people who waved the flag of liberty but would do little or nothing to provide the means for defending it. Peace was the goal... strength was the means.
The very frame of our strength and readiness would be a means of discouraging our enemies; for 'tis wise and true saying, that "One sword often keeps another in the scabbard." The way to secure peace is to be prepared for war. They that are on their guard, and appear ready to receive their adversaries, are in much less danger of being attacked that the supine, secure and neglegent.
Franklin further saw that those in authority have the inherent responsibility to initiate the means by which adequate defenses can be provided. He declared:
Protection is as truly due from the government to the people, as obedience from the people [is due] to the government.
Our people certainly ought to do more for themselves. It is absure, the pretending to be lovers of liberty while they begruge paying for the defense of it.
George Washington's position on national defense was in terms of grim realities experienced on the field of battle. No man wanted peace more than he. And no man was willing to risk more in life and property to achieve it. He declaired:
To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace.
Washington also saw the fallacy of waiting until an attact had occurred before marshalling available resources.
Because the President was personally responsible for the nation's foreign relations, Washington perceived the tendency of Congress to avoid its responsibility to provide adequate defenses. He could see the European monarchs planning to slice up the United States. He told congress:
There is a rank due to the United States among nations, which will be withheld, if not absolutely lost, by the reputation of weakness. If we desire to avoid insult, we must be able to repel it; if we desire to secure peace, one of the most powerful instruments of our rising prosperity, it must be known that we are at all time ready for war.
Thus the Founders passed on to their posterity a policy of peace through strength. They were peace-loving, but not pacifists. They saw the necessity of prepardeness which discouraged attack from potential enemies. It is the business of America to take care of herself .PUBLIUS.
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