Saving our Constitutional Republic – A Review of Federalist Paper #24

Alexander Hamilton addresses the military issue in Essay #24, The Powers Necessary to the Common Defense Further Considered. This is the first in a series of papers that seek to address one of the most compelling criticisms of the proposed constitution: that it allowed for the creation of powerful standing armies which would constitute a fundamental threat to American liberty.

While there is long tradition of anti-militarism in Anglo-American political thought – that standing armies, i.e., professional fighting forces maintained even during peacetime could be instruments of tyranny. In monarchical systems with a strong executive, the sovereign could employ soldiers to impose his will on the people and deprive citizens of their basic rights.

But Hamilton argued that standing armies in America will be controlled by the people themselves through their elected representatives in the legislature. Militias were seen as far safer sources of security since they were populated by the people themselves. Militiamen had regular jobs as farmers, laborers, craftsmen, merchants, etc. They simply trained periodically and fought during crises. In peacetime, they went back to their regular jobs

Credit for the summary and analysis for Essay #24 is given to Brittany Nelson and Christopher Higgins (second revision 09/15/2011). Weinbloom, Elizabeth ed. “The Federalist Papers Essay 24 Summary and Analysis”. GradeSaver, 30 December 2011 Web. 24 January 2019.  

Go to the GrAdeSaver Summary of Federalist #24

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.