Daniel Feller


Americans began their experiment in self-government with the notion that republics naturally love peace and monarchies naturally love war. As Thomas Paine explained in Common Sense, wars began when "crowned ruffians" attacked their neighbors-or their own subjects-in pursuit of personal wealth, power, or glory. "In the early ages of the world, according to the scripture chronology, there were no kings; the consequence of which was there were no wars; it is the pride of kings which throw mankind into confusion." Since the people at large were naturally peace-loving, republics would fight only in self-defense. Not by coincidence, said Paine, had Holland enjoyed more peace in the century since it threw off its king than any of its monarchical European neighbors. Yoked to Great Britain, America had been embroiled in almost continuous war with imperial France and Spain. Sever the link and inaugurate a republic, and she would be at peace with all mankind.1