The Militia Clauses :: Article I. Legislative Department :: US Constitution Annotated :: Justia
But that was not the end of independent state militias. . 1 I will guess that even includes most Civil War reenactors. .. have done a fine job of explaining that difference between State and Federal activation of troops, militias. Civil War Times Editor Dana Shoaf shares the story of how Battery H of the 3rd Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery found itself in the middle of the Battle of Gettysburg. role of civilian-soldiers, the necessity of a standing professional force (i.e., . American Way of War: A History of United States Military Strategy and Policy, .. and militias and the relationship between the federal government and the militias.
The idea of what constitutes the militia under the Constitution is has stirred up a lot of debate these past few years, and was reinvigorated by the so-called militia that took over federal land in Oregon in 6.
However, although the issue is complicated, with a little effort we can trace how the fundamental idea of the militia has changed over time to where it exists in State and Federal laws today. English Beginnings The idea of militia goes back to English traditions beginning with the Assize of Arms in Through the colonial wars of the 17th and 18th centuries, English colonists in North America had plenty of opportunities to see regular British Army soldiers.Federalism: Crash Course Government and Politics #4
And for the most part, the contact was not positive. The often overly religious colonists saw the Regulars as profane, uncouth, and generally prone to immoral behaviour. The militia through the colonial wars racked up a mixed battlefield record.
There were notable collapses, such militia refusing to cross colony lines — an issue that would prevail well into the 19th century — but also successes as well. The most notable came in the all-militia expedition to seize the French fortress of Louisbourg in Nova Scotia. After a conventional siege, the all-militia force took the fortress, shocking both leaders in France and England. By and large, the militia were a successful auxiliary force for the British in North America, freeing up Regulars for offensive military operations.
Each colony had their own militia laws but most agreed that the militia consisted of all able bodied white males, ages The first muster of full militia regiments took place in in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Militia spirit waxed and waned in the various colonies, depending on the prevailing spirit of the age. It stayed especially strong in the New England states, where militia units developed into political and social institutions as well as military.
The prominent political leaders that emerged in the run-up to Independence were usually very active in the militia. The Sons of Liberty essentially infiltrated the militia system of New England, ensuring that there was a ready force of angry citizens in when the festivities kicked off at Lexington and Concord.
Militia (United States) - Wikipedia
American Revolution and the Early Republic Militia units formed the backbone of the force that began the American Revolution and were used to augment the Continental Army as the war went on, although they continued to have mixed results. Still, it was the militia that carried out the Siege of Boston and gave George Washington an army with which to prosecute the war before the Continental Congress could provide authorization for a semi-professional force.
The militia traditions ensured that there were trained and somewhat ready troops to fill the ranks of the Continental Army, as well as experienced officers. When the American Revolution ended, the Army was cut down to a tiny force in reaction to a prevailing anti-monarchical spirit that viewed a standing army as a danger to a free people. Even after the toothless Articles of Confederation were scrapped and the Constitutional debates began, the role of the militia was still hotly debated.
The Federalists viewed a standing Army and Navy as being necessary for protecting economic freedom and projecting power. They are not a "militia" except for when that occurs.
The relationship between the states and the federal government (article) | Khan Academy
In reality, current law would also just effectively give a Federal mobilization legal priority over a State mobilization. Raising a militia against the U.
Congress may authorize members of the National Guard to be ordered to active federal duty for training outside the U. In a sense, all [Guard members] must now keep three hats in their closets-a civilian hat, a state militia hat and an Army hat-only one of which is worn at any particular time.
It is not much of a stretch to understand that if the State consent is not needed for a training mission in peacetime, it won't be needed when the unit is activated in an state of emergency or war.
The relationship between the states and the federal government
And the basis for the veredict seems to be the Enumerated powers of the USA Constitutionwhich include: An overweening vanity leads the fond many, each man against the conviction of his own heart, to believe or affect to believe, that militia can beat veteran troops in the open field and even play of battle.
This idle notion, fed by vaunting demagogues, alarmed us for our country, when in the course of that time and chance, which happen to all, she should be at war with a great power. State detachments could not be easily combined into larger fighting units; soldiers could not be relied on to serve for extended periods, and desertions were common; officers were elected, based on popularity rather than experience or training; discipline and uniformity were almost nonexistent. General George Washington defended the militia in public, but in correspondence with Congress expressed his opinion of the militia quite to the contrary: To place any dependence on the Militia, is, assuredly, resting upon a broken staff.
Men just dragged from the tender Scenes of domestic life; unaccustomed to the din of Arms; totally unacquainted with every kind of military skill, which being followed by a want of confidence in themselves, when opposed to Troops regularly trained, disciplined, and appointed, superior in knowledge and superior in Arms, makes them timid, and ready to fly from their own shadows There was a lack of an institutional response to the uprising, which energized calls to reevaluate the Articles of Confederation and gave strong impetus to the Constitutional Convention which began in May At the end of the Revolutionary War, a political atmosphere developed at the local level where the militia was seen with fondness, despite their spotty record on the battlefield.
Typically, when the militia did act well was when the battle came into the locale of the militia, and local inhabitants tended to exaggerate the performance of the local militia versus the performance of the Continental Army.
The Continental Army was seen as the protector of the States, though it also was viewed as a dominating force over the local communities. Joseph Reedpresident of Pennsylvania viewed this jealousy between the militia forces and the standing army as similar to the prior frictions between the militia and the British Regular Army a generation before during the French and Indian War. Tensions came to a head at the end of the war when the Continental Army officers demanded pensions and set up the Society of the Cincinnati to honor their own wartime deeds.
A Short History of the Militia in the United States
The local communities did not want to pay national taxes to cover the Army pensions, when the local militiamen received none. The US Congress is granted the power to use the militia of the United States for three specific missions, as described in Article 1, section 8, clause Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, That each and every free able-bodied white male citizen of the respective States, resident therein, who is or shall be of age of eighteen years, and under the age of forty-five years except as is herein after excepted shall severally and respectively be enrolled in the militia, by the Captain or Commanding Officer of the company, within whose bounds such citizen shall reside, and that within twelve months after the passing of this Act.
Civilian control of a peacetime army[ edit ] At the time of the drafting of the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, a political sentiment existed in the newly formed United States involving suspicion of peacetime armies not under civilian control. This political belief has been identified as stemming from the memory of the abuses of the standing army of Oliver Cromwell and King James IIin Great Britain in the prior century, which led to the Glorious Revolution and resulted in placing the standing army under the control of Parliament.
Source I Annals of CongressJune 8, Though during his presidency, after enduring the failures of the militia in the War ofMadison came to favor the maintenance of a strong standing army. The shift from States' power to Federal power[ edit ] A major concern of the various delegates during the constitutional debates over the Constitution and the Second Amendment to the Constitution revolved around the issue of transferring militia power held by the States under the existing Articles of Confederation to Federal control.
Congress shall have the power You can help by adding to it. June Political debate regarding compulsory militia service for pacifists[ edit ] Records of the constitutional debate over the early drafts of the language of the Second Amendment included significant discussion of whether service in the militia should be compulsory for all able bodied men, or should there be an exemption for the "religiously scrupulous" conscientious objector.
The concern about risks of a "religiously scrupulous" exemption clause within the second amendment to the Federal Constitution was expressed by Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts from 1 Annals of Congress at17 August Now, I am apprehensive, sir, that this clause would give an opportunity to the people in power to destroy the constitution itself.
They can declare who are those religiously scrupulous, and prevent them from bearing arms. What, sir, is the use of a militia?
It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty. Now it must be evident, that under this provision, together with their other powers, congress could take such measures with respect to a militia, as make a standing army necessary.
Whenever Governments mean to invade the rights and liberties of the people, they always attempt to destroy the militia, in order to raise an army upon their ruins.
The "religiously scrupulous" clause was ultimately stricken from the final draft of second amendment to the Federal Constitution though the militia clause was retained. It should be noted that the Supreme Court of the United States has upheld a right to conscientious objection to military service. The fears of the more conservative opponents centered upon the possible phasing out of the general militia in favor of a smaller, more readily corrupted, select militia.
Proposals for such a select militia already had been advanced by individuals such as Baron Von SteubenWashington's Inspector General, who proposed supplementing the general militia with a force of 21, men given government- issued arms and special training.