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Militia

military, power, war, united, time, county, army, nation, service and people

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MILITIA. The World War has greatly enlarged the conception of national military power. Militia from the earliest period has signified the manhood power of a nation, avail able for military purposes (and also, in a re stricted sense, the enrolled volunteers from that body, who might, under sanction of law, be locally organized), as distinguished from such regular governmental military force, as a nation might maintain. Strong governments have maintained large, regular armies, the larger, the surer to strike aggressively; while republics have been prone to neglect the crea tion of armies until some necessity drove them to act for defense.

The advance of civilization found the entire man power of the nations of the world, in 1918, organized on military lines, some from precon ceived ideas, some from necessity, and the na tions becoming exponents of universal military training and service. What the war sequel will be is a fruitful theme for thought.

When the Constitution of the United States was adopted, the term militia had a definite meaning. By that instrument Congress obtained power to "provide for organizing, arming and disciplining the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States. . . ." The Constitu tion also created the President °Commander-in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several States when called into the actual service of tlfe United States." The Articles of Confederation had provided, °that every State shall always keep a well regulated and disciplined militia, sufficiently armed and accoutered, etc.* When the colonies united against the mother country they joined their quotas of volunteers from the militia, and with them fought the battles of the Revolution; and 80 years later the great Civil War was fought by militia, using that term in the sense which the government had adopted. By the Act of Congress passed in 1792, the first exercise of its power, the militia was de fined to be all male citizens of the United States between the ages of 18 and 45 years, excepting certain specified exempt classes. The term thus used by our original lawmakers, with apparent positiveness as to its meaning and as to its function, was a natural result of the fol lowing facts.

English As early as the time of Alfred the Great, the division and organization of society in England comprised the enrolment of the people in bands or companies, com manded by a leader, who was elected in the folkmotes, and called ealdorman or earl, and whose authority extended over the county. *By the Anglo-Saxon laws, or rather by one of the primary and indispensable conditions of political society, every freeholder, if not every free man, was bound to defend his country against hostile invasion.* Every 10 families, as far as convenient those related to each other, formed a tithing, commanded by the holder) in his military capacity; 10 tithings formed a hundred, several of these forming a trything, or riding, as the word has been perpetu ated in Yorkshire. Three public burdens, the trinoda necessitas, were imposed upon the citizen; to serve under arms, to repair and construct fortresses and to make and repair roads and bridges. The Norman Conquest was the means of creating an army made up of bands which attended the king under the com mand of their immediate lords by *knight service,* but that in no way changed the funda mental character of the militia. It was enacted by Henry II (1181, The Assize of Arms) with the consent of Parliament, that every freeman, according to the value of his estate or movables, should hold himself constantly furnished with suitable arms and equipments, the poorest hav ing to provide himself with a "wambais' or linen coat stuffed with cotton, and a lance. In 'he time of Edward I (1275) the Statute of Winchester defined these requirements more clearly. °Every man between the ages of 15 and 60 was assessed and sworn to keep armour according to the value of his lands and goods, a hauberk and iron breastplate, a sword, a knife and a horse. For smaller property

less expensive arms were required and these provisions were enforced by semiannual in spections by constables chosen in every 100.* From the earliest times the high constable of the county, or sheriff, was the officer by whose outhority the citizens were called out, either to drive off predatory bands of robbers, or to assist him when he was in the performance of any duty required by the courts of law. When thus called out for the latter purpose, the body was known as the posse comitatus, or power of the county, and to this day the same power is lodged in our office of sheriff and is the ulti mate resort of the county officer charged with legal process. The constitutional military force of the kingdom consisted, therefore, of the feudal troops and the posse comitatus. But the latter could not be marched out of the kingdom, nor yet out of their shire, except in case of invasion. The sheriff was also charged with the same duty of calling out the militia when the citizens were organized in pursuance of parliamentary enactments, but later, when the kings considered themselves to be in need of troops more under their immediate control, he was superseded by commissioners of array, al though his authority remained unaltered as to summoning assistance for local duties. Prior to the reign of Elizabeth, lords lieutenant in the several counties were appointed by the Crown to marshal the military forces. The people were always exceedingly jealous of their rights, and as a nation insisted more upon pursuing their home labors than upon conquests and achieving glory, and one of the earliest records of this spirit is the enactment in the time of Edward III, made as a restraint upon the in fractions of the rights of the people, that no man shall be obliged to equip himself except as has been the custom, and shall not be obliged to leave his shire except when necessity require it for the defense of the realm. Conscriptions and levies were resorted to at times, but were tolerated by the people only when their love for the government exceeded the bounds of resistance or revolution. The Civil War of 1642, the result of which was the execution of Charles I, was precipitated and protracted in part by the militia question. The right of the king, as chief executive of the nation, to call the militia into service in time of need was undoubted, but through the natural jealousy and distrust of Parliament, the power of the king was sought to be curtailed by making the office of lord lieutenant irrevocable for two years and giving those offices to the persons approved by Parliament. For six years this was one of the main topics of contention in the wars and negotiations which resulted in the establishment of the Commonwealth. The re sult of the war was to put England under the subjection of Cromwell and his army, and ulti mately to fill the people with a great detestation of a permanent military establishment, and the whole course of subsequent legislation upon soldiery was directed with care to avoid the dangers of a standing army. • The Restoration of 1660 was finally accomplished through the militia of England. To epitomize Macaulay's statement: °It was an exciting time,° the flame of civil war was actually rekindled, the nobility put forth their best energies to assemble and train the militia, and train bands were held ready to march in every county. The popular feeling and strength were too great to be dis regarded; the old army of 50,000 men was humored as well as intimidated into accepting the unmistakable desire of the nation, and it saw itself destroyed, without striking a blow, looking sullenly on the triumphal entry of Charles II into London, while the militia in vested the country with a strength they dared not measure. A force of upward of 120,000 men had been organized to act in this great emergency.

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