The next problem which demands solution is that of the large army and navy which will be continually required for the retention of the group. Militarism and democracy are incompatible. A large standing armed force is the natural adjunct of a monarchy.
“The monarch represents an authority springing not from the periodically expressed consent of the people, and relying for the maintenance of that authority, if occasion requires, upon the employment of force, even against the popular will. An army is an organization of men subject to the command of a superior will, the origin or the purpose of which it is assumed to have no right to question. The standing army is in this sense, therefore, according to its nature and spirit, an essentially monarchical institution.”
It is clear from this that in a republic there is no rightful place for a large standing force. Such a thing is contrary to the very basic principles upon which republics are founded, besides being a constant menace to the free expression of the popular will and thought, and a dangerous source of arbitrary power in the hands of the men who for the time being form the government.
Military virtues are in many instances the opposite of civic virtues; and in more cases than one the attributes and qualities necessary to constitute a good military man are the very ones which constitute a bad civilian. Military modes of thinking and methods of action unfit men for the duties incumbent upon the citizens of a free republic. The rise of a large, permanent armed force in a republic always portends the downfall and ruin of free government.
In Europe the armies of the great powers are a necessity, or at least they are a necessity under the present conditions. Europe is simply a conglomeration of armed camps, in which the hostile nations sit watching each other, and preparing for the conflict which their mutually rival interests are bound sooner or later to bring. But with us an army for defense is wholly unnecessary. Locked in the embraces of two broad oceans we have naught to fear from a foreign invader. Lincoln once said that “all the armies of Europe, Asia, and Africa combined, with all the treasures of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest, with a Bonaparte for a commander, could not by force take a drink from the Ohio or make a track on the Blue Ridge in a trial of a thousand years.” These words are undoubtedly true. It therefore follows that with us a large standing army can only be of use for preying upon helpless peoples near us; that is, for the purpose of buccaneering. It is now being seriously urged that the standing army of the United States be increased to 100,000 fighting men; that is, about four times its size at the beginning of 1898. To train and keep standing such a force is simply to train men to become good subjects of a monarchy, and inefficient citizens of the republic. The two things can not possibly survive together. It is now for this nation to choose whether it will stick to the old paths, and discard large standing armies in times of peace, or whether it will unnecessarily adopt what the Old World monarchies would fain throw off, but which they find to be an evil necessary to their very existence. Should she choose in this matter as in others to return, like the prodigal son, to the ways of the Old World, her manifest destiny will be fixed. She will degenerate into a monarchy herself in truth, if not in name. And it may yet be with her as it was with Rome of old, concerning which Gibbon said: “The image of a free constitution was preserved with decent reverence: the Roman senate appeared to possess the sovereign authority, and devolved on the emperors all the executive powers of government.” And these emperors were backed by enormous military establishments.
The Perils of The Republic of The United States of America by Percy Magan Tilson book 1899