“In no part of the constitution is more wisdom to be found, than in the clause which confides the question of war or peace to the legislature, and not to the executive department. Beside the objection to such a mixture to heterogeneous powers, the trust and the temptation would be too great for any one man; not such as nature may offer as the prodigy of many centuries, but such as may be expected in the ordinary successions of magistracy. War is in fact the true nurse of executive aggrandizement. In war, a physical force is to be created; and it is the executive will, which is to direct it. In war, the public treasures are to be unlocked; and it is the executive hand which is to dispense them. In war, the honours and emoluments of office are to be multiplied; and it is the executive patronage under which they are to be enjoyed. It is in war, finally, that laurels are to be gathered, and it is the executive brow they are to encircle. The strongest passions and most dangerous weaknesses of the human breast; ambition, avarice, vanity, the honourable or venial love of fame, are all in conspiracy against the desire and duty of peace.”
James Madison, The Pacificus-Helvidius Debates of 1793-1794

“To children today, the war was something in the dusty past, as ancient as Caesar. They wonder why their parents are forever using the phrases before the war or after the war. It is because war is a watershed in the life of a nation and a person. Nothing is ever the same again. The last great war crucified some American families and made others rich. It threw up new leaders and broke the careers of some who pretended to be leaders. It broke bodies and hearts and moral values. It poisoned the meaning of existing words and kindled new words and meanings. It invented new ways to kill a thousand people and to cure fever in a child. It taught us that free men can build anything, pay for anything, endure anything, if they have the will to do so. The war that started 25 years ago began 25 years after the first world war had begun, but the lesson was not learned. It wasn’t learned because every generation starts life afresh, without memory and because pain and death are not multiplied in the human spirit. Because even 35 million deaths leave an empty place at only one family table. This presumably is what permits life to go on, and makes a next time always possible.”
Eric Sevareid

“Of all the enemies to public liberty, war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds are added to those of subduing the force of the people. The same malignant aspect in republicanism may be traced in the inequality of fortunes and the opportunities of fraud growing out of a state of war, and in the degeneracy of manners and of morals engendered by both. No nation could reserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.”
James Madison, Political Observations, 20 April 1795, as published in Letters and Other Writings of James Madison, Vol. IV, p. 491






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