- Apr 2018
The most effectual way to guard against a standing army, is to render it unnecessary. The most effectual way to render it unnecessary, is to give the general government full power to call forth the militia, and exert the whole natural strength of the Union, when necessary.
Once again, looking at things today, a good question for H.S. discussions = can the national government mobilize state reserve units today and, if so, can you find an example from the news or recent history?
An additional question, which also vexed the founders, = if the national government can call forth the militias - does that run the risk of militias being "morphed" into a standing army.
A kind of intriguing insight here might be what happened at Tiannamen square a few years ago. The first time the troops were sent in, they refused to crush the protesters violently, at least partially due to the fact that there were people among the demonstrators that the troops knew personally, or knew their parents and families. The subsequent troops were "imported" from more distant provinces, and of course, violent repression ensued. I regret that I do not have proper documentation of this phenomenon, merely my recollection of the events & my readings as things were happening in real time. I provide them, because I would be likely to share those remarks with students in the context of this reading and / or discussions of militias, standing armies , the use of Hessian mercenaries by the British during the revolution, etc, etc. I also like to point this out (among other things) when discussing Shay's rebellion.