When those American patriots and heroes knew that they had
to go to war against the occupying British forces they did not hesitate; and by
their valor they became the architects of our nation and our freedoms. But,
though they fought for our independence, and defeated the aggressor, they also warned
that war must always be a last resort, not something to be used recklessly or
Our founders personified the meaning of strong leadership and
they should serve as models for America's
leaders today. Some might say that the founders did not face the complex
problems that America faces
today, but during those very trying and dangerous times, the British
Empire represented a giant military force that had the colonies
locked in a suffocating vice grip. The colonies, at that time, might be called
David trying to bring down Goliath with a slingshot. They refused to back down,
be intimidated or compromised.
To learn more about these patriots of our past, let's recall some of the quotes by two of the most powerful and influential leaders in our history, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, the 1st and 3d presidents of the United States. They each had a lot to say about waging war but peace was always foremost in their minds.
First the quotes of President George Washington, our first president and Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army during our war of independence:
"I abhor war and view it as the greatest scourge of mankind."
"My first wish is to see this plague of mankind,
war, banished from the earth. "
"Over grown military establishments are under any
form of government inauspicious to liberty, and are to be regarded as
particularly hostile to republican liberty."
"The constitution vests the power of declaring war
in Congress; therefore no offensive
expedition of importance can be undertaken until after they shall have
deliberated upon the subject and authorized such a measure."
"If we desire to secure peace, one of the most powerful
instruments of our rising prosperity, it must be known that we are at all times
ready for war."
Thomas Jefferson, our 3rd president, and the principal author of the Declaration of Independence, was one of the heroes of the American Revolutionary War. He did not hesitate to commit to the war for our independence but he was a wise man that knew the dangers of war without justification. Here are some quotes from him on the subject of war.
"If there be one principle more deeply rooted than any other in the mind of every American it is that we should have nothing to do with conquest."
"We did not raise armies for glory or for conquest."
"Conquest is not in our principles. It is inconsistent with our government."
"The sound principles of national integrity... forbade us to take what was a neighbor's merely because it suited us and especially from a neighbor under circumstances of peculiar affliction."
"Nations of eternal war expend all their energies... in the destruction of the labor, property, and lives of their people."
This last quote is so striking and so descriptive of America's current direction toward, as Jefferson put it, "eternal war." We as a nation are, in fact, expending far too much of our energies and our wealth (53% of each taxpayer dollar) on the Pentagon and these wars, and this is resulting in the destruction of our labor (manufacturing), our property (infrastructure) and the lives of far too many Americans (joblessness).