"A Free People will Not Survive Unless They Stay Strong"
A civilized society of free people tend to always go towards prosperity. It has only been when the federal government has usurped authority and meddled in the free-market economy that this prosperity has become inhibited..
When there is the fruits of prosperity, beautiful cities, flourishing commerce, fruitful farms and thriving industry, it tends to attract the predatory greed of other nations, and even crooked politicians. By themselves, they may not be considered as much of a threat, but once they are united together, the may present total desolation to a free and prosperous people. Before the free people know it, their destruction is upon them. The Founders felt that it was the kind hand of Providence that allowed the United States to come forth as the nation of free people in modern times, and that we would be blessed with freedom and prosperity only as long as we remained virtuous and adequately armed as a nation.
While the Founder's had the goal of peace for this nation, they believed that strength was the means of maintaining it. Benjamin Franklin said,
Franklin has a low opinion of those that waved the flag but really did little to defend liberty. He called for action to back up words.Our security lies, I think, in our growing strength, both in numbers and wealth; that creates an increasing ability of assisting this nation in its wars, which will make us more respectable, our friendship more valued, and our enmity feared; thence it will soon be thought proper to treat us not with justice only, but with kindness, and thence we may expect in a few years a total change of measures with regard to us; unless, by neglect of military discipline, we should lose all martial spirit, and our western people become as tame as those eastern dominions of Britain [India], when we may expect the same oppressions; for there is much truth in the Italian saying, "Make yourselves sheep, and the wolves will eat you."
George Washington is often described as "First in peace, first in war, first in the hearts of his countrymen." He fought the Revolutionary War with no Navy of any consequence, no trained professional army, and not outpouring of general support from the states that he was trying to save. No man wanted peace more then he did. He said, "To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means to preserving peace." He also saw the fallacy of a policy of interdependence with other nations which made our nation only more vulnerable in time of war. He spoke in the first annual address about the necessity of the people to work towards being independent of others for essentials, and particularly military supplies. He cautioned the American people about being lured in by politics or world circumstances into a position of complacency. That vigilance is the price of freedom and if it was not promoted that our future as a nation was in jeopardy.
At the time of Washington's fifth annual address, he could already see the predatory monarchs of Europe wanting to slice up the United States and divide it among them. He felt that we must take the position that we are at all times ready for war.
Samuel Adams stressed that it is a moral responsibility to preserve our heritage of freedom and the rights that we have been endowed with by the Creator. That once they had been vouchsafed, that is was wicked and unnatural to allow them to languish by neglect or apathy. Thus the Founders passed on to their posterity a policy of peace through strength. They were peace-loving, but not pacifists. They saw the foundation of security as a bustling, prosperous economy with a high standard of public morality, and they saw the necessity for a level of preparedness which discouraged attack from potential enemies by creating a rate of risk that would be so high that the idea of waging war against this nation would be an obviously unprofitable undertaking.
Thus we point out that this belief was in defense of this nation, on this land, and not by invading other lands. The Revolutionary War was fought here, not abroad. It was fought for the basic rights of life, liberty and property. America does not go aboard seeking for monsters to destroy. John Quincy Adams said it best,
"America does not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own."