Good War and Bad Peace: Perpetual War and the Erosion of Liberty

In a letter written in 1783, Benjamin Franklin said, “In my opinion, there never was a good War, or a bad Peace.”

That kind of talk today probably would get Ben branded a terrorist or an associate of al-Qaeda, ISIS, or the latest enemy in the perpetual War on Terror. Lindsey Graham definitely would tell him to shut up and then send him to Gitmo.

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Thomas Jefferson on the Military Draft: “The last of all oppressions”

Sometimes it comes down to the question of what is more important, the rights of individuals or the existence of the nation state? In this case, in the face of serious difficulties faced by the colonists in their war against the British Empire, Jefferson came down on the side of individual liberty.

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James Madison on “Parchment Barriers” and the defense of liberty

Although in the Federalist Papers James Madison urged ratification of the U.S. constitution, he was also concerned about things it left undone. He thought that many of his contemporaries were too focused on the threats posed by the executive branch, which he thought understandable given the fact that they had just fought a revolutionary war against…

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George Washington on Political vs Commercial Relations with Foreign Nations

As the military leader of the American Revolution and the country’s first president, Washington is a highly revered figure. His Farewell Address from the office of the President is a timely reminder of a tradition of a non-interventionist American foreign policy which was potent in the early years of the new Republic. This passage comes…

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