« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
For military resistance, the strength of a government is the power it can wield on the field of battle. In the war of 1812 the strength of the Government at the battle of Bladensburg was measured by 6,000 militia; at Bull Run it was measured by 35,000 of the same kind of troops. In one case the capital fell into the hands of the enemy, while in the other our existence as a nation possibly depended upon the irresolution and supineness of a band of insurgents. At Gettysburg the wave of rebellion was resisted by 80,000 veteran troops; had we trusted to the same number of militia the capital would have been captured and the Government hopelessly destroyed. Unable to suppress in two years an insurrection which culminated in a great rebellion, the representatives of the people were forced to adopt conscription and to concentrate in the hands of the President all the war powers granted by the Constitution, whereupon weakness gave place to strength, but at the expense of a needless sacrifice of life and property.
lf in time of rebellion our own Government grew more despotic as it grew stronger, it is not to be inferred that there is any necessary connection between despotism and military strength.
Twenty thousand regular troops at Bull Run would have routed the insurgents, settled the question of military resistance, and relieved us from the pain and suspense of four years of war.
China, the most despotic of Governments, has no military strength; numbering 400,000,000 people, she has been twice conquered by a few despised Tartars, and only a few years ago 20,000 English and French dictated peace at the walls of the capital. In Persia the Shah can lop off the heads of his subjects or wall them up alive at his pleasure, and yet it has been said that a single foreign battalion could overthrow his throne, while a brigade would starve in his dominions.
In seeking to avoid the dangers of weakness and despotism the author would not have it imagined that his work will produce immediate effect, or that his system will be adopted in five, ten, or even twenty years. Such a revolution in our military policy must be preceded by a change in popular sentiment.
Foreign governments for more than a hundred years have recognized us as a nation, but, strange to say, a fact patent to all the world, is as yet recognized by scarcely a majority of our people.
Our forefathers hated Great Britain because she repeatedly subverted the government of the colonies. A large portion of their descendants, confusing states rights with state sovereignty, look upon the General Government as equally hostile to the States. When this feeling is abandoned; when it is understood that the life of the State is bound up in the life of the nation; when it is appreciated that republicanism, State and national, guaranteed by the Constitution, is the natural bulwark against the two forms of despotism-absolute monarchy on the one side and absolute democracy on the other—then, and not till then, will the views of the author be accepted. Should his work be received unkindly he will at least have the satisfaction that he has sought to be true to the Republic, and that in view of its increasing grandeur he has endeavored to present a military system which, recognizing the opposition to large standing armies, will still be compatible with the safety, honor, and the liberty of our people.
E. U. FORT MONROE, VIRGINIA, 1880.