I’ve been doing some research on James Madison over the last year or so. Why? Well, other than an interest in history, I’m writing a novel. A subplot of the novel involves making a movie about James Madison (by people who believe in historical accuracy).
In doing some Web research, I found the following quite fascinating quote:
Just as important to his countrymen, Madison had not used the occasion of war to expand executive power or to create a vast patronage machine. “Of all enemies to public liberty,” Madison himself had written in 1795, “war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded…” As “the parent of armies,” of course, war encouraged “debts and taxes,” which republicans recognized as “the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few.” But as Madison so powerfully argued, the danger was especially acute in relation to a particular branch of the government. “In war, too,” he added, “the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people.” War always nourished the potential for corruption…
So everything that Madison wrote in this quote was written in 1795.
And when did the writer quote Madison?
At some point before 1989. The quote is from The Last of the Fathers: James Madison and the Republican Legacy, written by Drew R. McCoy and published in 1989.
Fascinating how a former president in 1795 and a historian in 1989 predicted the behavior of Bush and the neo-cons…in 2001….
Thanks to Amazon for its “Look Inside” program, otherwise I might never have found this quote.