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A Revolution in Favor of GovernmentOrigins of the U.S. Constitution and the Making of the American State$
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Max. M Edling

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780195148701

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2005

DOI: 10.1093/0195148703.001.0001

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Independence, Commerce, and Military Strength

Independence, Commerce, and Military Strength

(p.89) 6 Independence, Commerce, and Military Strength
A Revolution in Favor of Government

Max. M Edling

Oxford University Press

Chapter 6 and the corresponding Ch. 11 in Part Three of the book provide the layout of the Federalist argument that Congress had to possess an unlimited power to raise men and money from American society without any intervention from the states. While the following chapter looks more closely at Antifederalist objections to the military clauses of the U S Constitution, here the concern is only with the proposals for amendments to the Constitution that Antifederalists suggested, or that Federalists suggested as concessions to Antifederalist objections; the purpose of the chapter is to address the question of why the Federalists refused to accept limits to the army clauses of the Constitution. When the first Congress presented the states with the proposal for what would become the Bill of Rights, this contained a guarantee against the disarmament of the people, as well as a specification of what was involved in Congress's power to govern state militias; it also contained a restriction on the right of the national government to quarter troops in private houses. The first ten amendments, however, made no attempt to restrict the right of the national government to raise an army, and not because of oversight, since neither James Madison, nor anyone else present at the first Congress, could have been unaware of the strong reservations that Antifederalists had expressed against the unlimited power to raise and maintain armies that the Constitution vested in Congress. This power was central to the national state that the Federalists attempted to form, and in the debate over ratification they made clear why no limits could be placed on Congress's power of military mobilization.

Keywords:   Antifederalism, Federalism, military powers, military strength, national government, US Constitution, US Congress, USA

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