Jefferson: The Civil must always be in complete control of The Military


Lady Justice Takes the Bus
Image by djking via Flickr

The ideas of the Founding Father‘s were an inspiration across the breath of Europe and Latin America. Even now, more than 200 years later, the words of the great Thomas Jefferson should and must be remembered now that the new governments we elected continuously impulse the centralization of agricultural, commercial and industrial production.

“But the true barriers [bulwarks] of our liberty in this country are our State governments . . . Agriculture, manufactures, commerce, and navigation, the four pillars of our prosperity, are the most thriving when left most free to individual enterprise . . . standing armies in time of peace should be avoided as dangerous to liberty; and that in all cases the military should be under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.”  Jefferson, Thomas. Annual Message to Congress (1801)

As important, Thomas Jefferson’s message to the new Citizens of the United States was that it was fundamental to the survival of a Republican country that The Civil must always be in complete control of The Military. Jefferson had made this warning as an answer to the Constitution that Virginians had written. Nowadays, however, the message goes to the citizenry that fails to recognize that the role of an army in time of peace should be avoided and kept under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.

These are some of Jefferson’s messages that helped the United States build a stable government based on Republicanism. In the cases in which The Military and their allies may sometimes control the executive power they must constantly be remembered that it is the strict following of The Constitution their most important obligation. This is the only tool in which The Civil will complete The Military; failing to do so will only secure autocratic governments in which The Civil loses their rights just as history has shown.

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