Dreaded Enemy of Liberty
By James Madison
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.
. . . [There is also an] inequality of fortunes, and the
opportunities of fraud, growing out of a state of war, and . . .
degeneracy of manners and of morals. . . . No nation could
preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare. . . .
[It should be well understood] that the powers proposed to be
surrendered [by the Third Congress] to the Executive were those
which the Constitution has most jealously appropriated to the
Legislature. . . .
The Constitution expressly and exclusively vests in the
Legislature the power of declaring a state of war . . . the
power of raising armies . . . the power of creating offices. . .
A delegation of such powers [to the President] would have
struck, not only at the fabric of our Constitution, but at the
foundation of all well organized and well checked governments.
The separation of the power of declaring war from that of
conducting it, is wisely contrived to exclude the danger of its
being declared for the sake of its being conducted.
The separation of the power of raising armies from the power of
commanding them, is intended to prevent the raising of armies
for the sake of commanding them.
The separation of the power of creating offices from that of
filling them, is an essential guard against the temptation to
create offices for the sake of gratifying favourites or
James Madison was the fourth president of the United States.
This is from Letters and Other Writings of James Madison.
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