DEFUND THE MILITARY!
“The supremacy of the civil over the military authority I deem [one of] the essential principles of our Government, and consequently [one of] those which ought to shape its administration.” –Thomas Jefferson: 1st Inaugural, 1801.
“The freest governments in the world have their army under absolute government. Republican form and principles [are] not to be introduced into government of an army.” –Thomas Jefferson: Notes Concerning the Right of Removal from Office, 1780. Papers 4:282
“[A commander who conducts a] great military contest with wisdom and fortitude [will] invariably [regard] the rights of the civil power through all disasters and changes.” –Thomas Jefferson: Address to George Washington, 1783.(*) Papers 6:413
“Instead of subjecting the military to the civil power, [a tyrant will make] the civil subordinate to the military. But can [he] thus put down all law under his feet? Can he erect a power superior to that which erected himself? He [can do] it indeed by force, but let him remember that force cannot give right.” –Thomas Jefferson: Rights of British America, 1774.(*) ME 1:209, Papers 1:134
“No military commander should be so placed as to have no civil superior.” –Thomas Jefferson to Samuel Smith, 1801. FE 8:29
“There are instruments so dangerous to the rights of the nation and which place them so totally at the mercy of their governors that those governors, whether legislative or executive, should be restrained from keeping such instruments on foot but in well-defined cases. Such an instrument is a standing army.” –Thomas Jefferson to David Humphreys, 1789. ME 7:323
“I do not like [in the new Federal Constitution] the omission of a Bill of Rights providing clearly and without the aid of sophisms for… protection against standing armies.” –Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 1787. ME 6:387
“Nor is it conceived needful or safe that a standing army should be kept up in time of peace for [defense against invasion].” –Thomas Jefferson: 1st Annual Message, 1801. ME 3:334
“Standing armies [are] inconsistent with [a people’s] freedom and subversive of their quiet.” –Thomas Jefferson: Reply to Lord North’s Proposition, 1775. Papers 1:231
“The spirit of this country is totally adverse to a large military force.” –Thomas Jefferson to Chandler Price, 1807. ME 11:160
“A distinction between the civil and military [is one] which it would be for the good of the whole to obliterate as soon as possible.” –Thomas Jefferson: Answers to de Meusnier Questions, 1786. ME 17:90
“It is nonsense to talk of regulars. They are not to be had among a people so easy and happy at home as ours. We might as well rely on calling down an army of angels from heaven.” –Thomas Jefferson to James Monroe, 1814. ME 14:207
“There shall be no standing army but in time of actual war.” –Thomas Jefferson: Draft Virginia Constitution, 1776. Papers 1:363
“The Greeks and Romans had no standing armies, yet they defended themselves. The Greeks by their laws, and the Romans by the spirit of their people, took care to put into the hands of their rulers no such engine of oppression as a standing army. Their system was to make every man a soldier and oblige him to repair to the standard of his country whenever that was reared. This made them invincible; and the same remedy will make us so.” –Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Cooper, 1814. ME 14:184
“Bonaparte… transferred the destinies of the republic from the civil to the military arm. Some will use this as a lesson against the practicability of republican government. I read it as a lesson against the danger of standing armies.” –Thomas Jefferson to Samuel Adams, 1800. ME 10:154