As to Standing Armies In Time of Peace

Liberty Letters Quote of the Day, 1787, Elbridge Gerry

Mr. GERRY took notice that there was no check here against standing armies in time of peace. The existing Congress is so constructed that it cannot of itself maintain an army. This would not be the case under the new system. The people were jealous on this head, and great opposition to the plan would spring from such an omission. …

He thought an army dangerous in time of peace and could never consent to a power to keep up an indefinite number. He proposed that there shall 12 not be kept up in time of peace more than _____ thousand troops. His idea was that the blank should be filled with two or three thousand.

Source: Madison’s Notes on the Debates In the Federal Convention of 1787, August 18. Elbridge Gerry was a delegate from Massachusetts who was one of the three delegates who refused to sign the Constitution (the other two being George Mason and Edmund Randolph), and this because of the lack of a bill of rights. He later became a strong supporter of the new Constitution, which adopted a Bill of Rights, as promised. He later served as ninth Governor of Massachusetts and fifth Vice President of the United States serving under James Madison. He died in office.

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