James Madison Papers

Power to Regulate the State Militia, [23 August] 1787

Power to Regulate the State Militia

[23 August 1787]

A grand committee had reported a militia plan delineating national and state militia responsibilities.

Mr. Madison. The primary object is to secure an effectual discipline of the Militia. This will no more be done if left to the States separately than the requisitions have been hitherto paid by them. The States neglect their Militia now, and the more they are consolidated into one nation, the less each will rely on its own interior provisions for its safety & the less prepare its Militia for that purpose; in like manner as the militia of a State would have been still more neglected than it has been if each County had been independently charged with the care of its Militia. The Discipline of the Militia is evidently a National concern, and ought to be provided for in the National Constitution.1

Ms (DLC).

1During the debate over the control of the militia, JM also said: “As the greatest danger is that of disunion of the States, it is necessary to guard agst. it by sufficient powers to the Common Govt. and as the greatest danger to liberty is from large standing armies, it is best to prevent them, by an effectual provision for a good Militia” (ibid.).

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