Fisher Ames was a leading New England Federalist and sublime critic of Jacobin Democracy and the French Revolution. During the presidency of George Washington, he was the leader of his party in the House of Representatives. Ames was active in public life from 1787 through 1807 and was instrumental in one drafting of the First Amendment to the Constitution. His witty, often brilliant, letters, speeches, and essays offered a sustained defense of conservative principles and insight into the Federalist theory of government.
The questions of where to locate, in whose hands to place, and how to exercise the state’s powers of deadly military force inform a perennial topic in political theory and coalesce into a recurrent problem in political practice. Liberty Fund presents Writings on Standing Armies, a newly collected, authoritative edition of the most important pamphlets on the “standing armies” controversy of 1697–98. In addition, these writings express a subtext that is of equal and enduring importance: the transforming effects exerted by the prolonged possession of power on individuals and administrations.