"To Be Prepared For War Is One Of The Most Effectual Means Of Preserving Peace"

Context: First President of the United States (1789-1797) and "Father of his Country." George Washington has been the subject, as Professor Saul K. Padover comments, of "idolatry, hagiography, iconolatry, myth-making, and breathless patriotic oratory." His very appearance was impressive. Jefferson wrote of him: "His person . . . was fine, his stature exactly what one would wish, his deportment easy, erect, and noble; the best horseman of his age, and the most graceful figure that could be seen on horseback." Playing a commanding role in the Revolution and accepting the challenge to be the first leader of the new democracy, Washington in his initial address to the joint session of Congress sounded the call to national strength as the best means of avoiding further war. The basic idea here expressed is proverbial. Horace (65-8 B.C.), for instance, writes: "In peace, as a wise man, he should make suitable preparation for war" (Satires, Bk. II, line 70); and Robert Burton (1577-1640) notes: "The commonwealth of Venice in their armoury have this inscription: 'Happy is that city which in time of peace thinks of war'" (The Anatomy of Melancholy, Pt. II, sect. 2, memb. 6). Washington says:

. . . To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace.
A free people ought not only to be armed, but disciplined; to which end a uniform and well-digested plan is requisite; and their safety and interest require that they should promote such manufactories as tend to render them independent of others for essential, particularly military, supplies.