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Nubbie

State Milita

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My Esteemed Friends,

Today, I rise in favor of establishing an organized state militia. Our state stands at the opening of a rugged frontier which must be protected so our citizens can continue to live in peace and prosperity. I hope my colleagues will recognize the importance of a strong defense for our state, and vote in favor of this proposal. I hereby put forth a proposal to this house that will be a North Carolina version of this legislation from Virginia. 

Yours most respectfully,

Thomas Poindexter

 

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A letter arrives from Representative Masterson:

With the proper defeat of the proposed bill which would have created a national department related to war, it falls to the states to provide for their own defense. Proposals for the state of North Carolina to create an organized militia should be considered. If such a militia were to be approved, that militia should have standardized arms provided by local gunsmiths of which I've heard are developing within North Carolina.

However, I do think we should not necessarily follow the model of militia being formed in Virginia, as their militia seems to be following the character of a European standing army with permanent continuation. A North Carolina militia should reflect Carolinian character and be non-permanent in nature.

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Mr. Speaker,

While I agree with with Representative Masterson that the militia should have standardized arms provided by local gunsmith, we must consider the long term. If North Carolina wants to me a permanent entity, we must have a permanent standing militia, with professional soldiers, ready to fight, at a moment's notice. 

I yield

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We did not fight a revolution objecting to standing armies within our lands, amend the national constitution to prohibit forced quartering of soldiers, and craft a constitution which in the very first article reads No State shall keep troops without the consent of Congress... only to turn around a create a permanent state army.  Let us make provisions for a volunteer militia to be properly equipped with standardized weapons, should the need arise, but we must not head down the road of permanent armies which leads to tyranny.

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A rebuttal, no soldiers would be forced in people's homes. They would be stationed at various forts around the state, thus not infringing on our citizens' constitutional rights. As for your point about not consenting Congress, the passage you refer to states, "No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay." My friends, our state on the western frontiers is under attack each and every day by the Cherokee. They are not our friends, and never have been. I just would like to point out an example before I make my point. The commander of the garrison at Houston's Station in the western part of our state, received word that 500 Cherokees were coming to attack his position. They were nearly slaughtered, and if it was not for John Sevier and his men coming at the last moment, there would be no survivors to tell the tale. My point is that there is imminent danger to our state, and we cannot delay this any longer. WE MUST have a permanent force that will keep our citizens safe against this imminent aggregation. In the future we may not be as lucky to have John Sevier and his men come to the rescue. Volunteer militias take time to materialize, and quite simply my friends we may not have that time. Our survival rests upon this bill. 

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This argument that we need to create a standing army to defend our western territory is invalidated due to those same territories being given over and properly ceded to the federal government in the last session.  Let that territory defend itself, let the federal government administer that territory.  It is also disingenuous to cite the example of John Sevier and his militia as an argument against militia, when it was precisely a militia force that properly defended our lands.  Until a time as Cherokee declare war upon North Carolina, or otherwise actually invade our Carolinian lands, we can not permit a standing army and the inevitable tyranny it would invite.  Let us rely on our militia for defense, as has served us well, let us reject the siren's song of standing armies which lead to aggression.  We must not follow the example of New York belligerence which so recently called for aggression against their neighbors and led to a diplomatic blunder.

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My friends, this is what I'm going to say. The Cherokee are in the western part of our state. I'm well aware that the territories to our west have been ceded to the federal government. The fact of the matter is, there is no magic wall dividing us from that territory, keeping us safe. Cherokee raids into our state continue. Nikwasi, Tuckasegee, Kituwa, Ustalla, I could go on and on, but these are all skirmished that have happened in the western part of our state. The point I was making with John Sevier was, what if it was too late because the time it takes to organize a volunteer militia in the future may be too late. It is not a standing army I'm asking for, it's quite simply a permanent guard that has the best interests of our state in mind, defending us against outside forces. I think our state government of reasonable men can outright reject aggression. If it would please the honorable member, we can add a clause that would ensure that this force is only used for defensive purposes. The time has come to ensure our state is kept safe!

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The idea that the Cherokee are a larger threat to the integrity and sovereignty of our state than that posed by the British during revolution is laughably absurd. We did not form a standing army in response to that aggression, we relied upon our militia and volunteers.  We can continue to rely upon volunteered militia should a need arise.  You can call a standing army, a 'permanent guard', but that does not change what it would be: a violation of our constitution and threat to our rights and liberty.  Any clause about 'defensive purposes' could just as easily be repealed or ignored. We must not allow the beginning of a standing army that would lead to a train of incremental usurpation of the rights of free men and liberty.

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North Carolina: State Militia
  Federalists Republicans Independents Total
Aye   40 12 52
Nay 40   8 48
Abstain       0
Total 40 40 20 100

 

The recent attack in the Northwest territory coupled with the arguments from @Nubbie  is largely responsible for the result here.

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