THE FOUNDERS

WHAT AMERICA’S FOUNDERS SAID

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“It will be the solemn duty of the state governments to protect their own authority over their own militia, and to interpose between their citizens and arbitrary power (by the federal government).”

SECRETARY OF STATE DANIEL WEBSTER

Member of Congress. U.S. Senator, and Secretary of State to Presidents William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, and Millard Fillmore

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“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.”

MAJOR GENERAL GEORGE WASHINGTON

Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army, President of the Constitutional Convention, and President of the United States

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“The Constitution supposes what the history of all governments demonstrates, that the executive is the branch of power most interested in war, and most prone to it. It has accordingly with studied care vested the question of war to the legislature.”

PRESIDENT JAMES MADISON

“Father of the Constitution,” Coauthor of the Federalist Papers, Member of Congress, Secretary of State, and President of the United States

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“We have already given in example one effectual check to the dog of war by transferring the power of letting him loose from the executive to the legislative body …considering that Congress alone is constitutionally invested with the power of changing our condition from peace to war.”

PRESIDENT THOMAS JEFFERSON

Author of the Declaration of Independence, Governor of Virginia, Ambassador to France, Secretary of State, and President of the United States

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“‘The Congress shall have the power to declare war’; the plain meaning of which is, that it is the peculiar and exclusive duty of Congress, when the nation is at peace, to change that state into a state of war.”

MAJOR GENERAL ALEXANDER HAMILTON

Major General of the Continental Army, Coauthor of the Federalist Papers, Secretary of the Treasury, and Commanding General of the U.S. Army