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Government should Promote Peace, not War

The Anti-Federalist quote on how Government should promote peace, not War:

“The European governments are almost all of them framed, and administered with a view towards arms, and war, as that is in which their chief glory consists. They mistake the end of government. It was designed to save men’s lives, not destroy them. We ought to furnish the world with the example of a great people, who in their civil institutions hold chiefly in view, the attainment of virtue, and happiness among ourselves. Let the monarchs in Europe share among them the glory of depopulating countries, and butchering thousands of their innocent citizens, to revenge private quarrels.” -Brutus in The Anti Federalist Papers on how government should promote peace, not war

My Take:

I am not a pacifist. In fact, I firmly believe that there are many cases where war is necessary. But, the pride of a leader is not one of those cases. As Aristotle noted, there are various ways in which monarchies are better than democracies. But, democracies restrain  the war making powers of the government. Citizens in democracies, although sometimes willing to rise up to fight, are often conflict and casualty averse. The Germans and Soviets in World War II were both authoritarian countries. Because of that, like I talk about in my “The German Army on the Eastern Front” post, they could suffer through extremely high casualties on the Eastern Front. The American Army could not have done the same. That is one of the reasons that we kept making the greatest mistake of of the 20th Century by not ever finishing off socialism. It would have been too costly.

Because we have that aversion to casualties, our government is usually loathe to get us into too destructive of wars. Our citizenry does not permit it. While that has some drawbacks, as I note in “The Most Important lesson of the 20th Century,” it does save lives.

And that is what this great quote is really about. The government has a role and purpose. And that role is not to serve the vanity of the leader. It is to ensure peace and prosperity for its citizens. That is just one of the ways our republic is better than a monarchy; because our government must answer to the people, we are traditionally more peaceful. It has only been with the rise of the “Imperial Presidency” that we have grown more warlike. Hopefully that will soon change.


Our government should not be leading us into ever more and ever more expanding wars. Instead, the government should promote peace, not war. That is what the Anti Federalists knew should happen. A violent and aggressive America was one of their chief worries. We need to closely examine our currently foreign policy and shift it so that we fulfill that goal. If we don’t, we will continue to progress down the road to eternal war. And eternal war means eternal suffering.

By: Gen Z Conservative


Read more about what the Anti Federalists believed by checking out my article “What the Anti Federalists were For”:

And buy What the Anti Federalists were For here, on Amazon:

Check out my thoughts on the greatest mistake of the 20th Century:

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Check out my review of The German Army on the Eastern Front:

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