Thursday, December 21, 2006

House of Representatives of the United States, "History offers too many lessons of the fatal result of such a measure....", Dec. 4, 1832;

“...If a system compatible with the constitution cannot be devised, which is free from such tendencies, we should recollect that that instrument provides within itself the mode of its amendment; and that there is, therefore, no excuse for the assumption of doubtful powers by the General Government. If those which are clearly granted shall be found incompetent to the ends of its creation, it can at any time apply for their enlargement; and there is no probability that such an application, if founded on the public interest, will ever be refused. If the propriety of the proposed grant be not sufficiently apparent to command the assent of three-fourths of the States, the best possible reason why the power should not be assumed on doubtful authority is afforded; for if more than one-fourth of the States are unwilling to make the grant, its exercise will be productive of discontents which will far overbalance any advantages that could be derived from it. All must admit that there is nothing so worthy of the
constant solicitude of this Government, as the harmony and union of the people....”

"...Our fellow citizens upon the frontiers were ready, as they always are, in the tender of their services in the hour of danger. But a more efficient organization of our militia system is essential to that security which is one of the principal objects of all governments. Neither our situation nor our institutions, require or permit the maintenance of a large regular force. History offers too many lessons of the fatal result of such a measure, not to warn us against its adoption here. The expense which attends it, the obvious tendency to employ it because it exists, and thus to engage in unnecessary wars, and its ultimate danger to public liberty, will lead us, I trust, to place our principal dependence for protection upon the great body of the citizens of the republic. If, in asserting rights or in repelling wrongs, war should come upon
us, our regular force should be increased to an extent proportioned to the emergency, and our present small army is a nucleous around which such force could be formed and embodied. But, for the purposes of defence under ordinary circumstances, we must rely upon the electors of the country. Those by whom, and for whom, the Government was instituted, and is supported, will constitute its protection in the hour of danger, as they do its check in the hour of safety....”

"...Limited to a general superintending power to maintain peace at home and abroad, and to prescribe laws on a few subjects of general interest, not calculated to restrict human liberty, but to enforce human rights, this Government will find its strength and its glory in the faithful discharge of these plain and simple duties. Relieved by its protecting shield from the fear of war and the apprehension of oppression, the free enterprise of our citizens, aided by the State sovereignties, will work out improvements and ameliorations which cannot fail to demonstrate that the great truth, that the people can govern themselves, is not only realized in our example, but that it is done by a machinery in government so simple and economical as scarcely to be felt. That the Almighty Ruler of the Universe may so direct our deliberations, and overrule our acts, as to make us instrumental in securing a result so dear to mankind, is my most earnest and sincere prayer."


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