In Federalist No. 26, Hamilton considers the idea of restraining the legislative authority in regard to the common defense.
This particular essay has one of the most interesting starts:
IT WAS a thing hardly to be expected that in a popular revolution the minds of men should stop at that happy mean which
marks the salutary boundary between POWER and PRIVILEGE, and combines the energy of government with the security
of private rights. The concern herein is that A failure in this delicate and important point is the great source of the inconveniences we experience and while we may try change after change within such a system, we shall never be likely to make any material change for the better.
In this piece, in which Hamilton argues that the idea of restraining the legislative authority, in the means of providing for the national defense, is one of those
refinements which owe their origin to a zeal for liberty more ardent than enlightened, he states that if experience has not wrought a deep and solemn
conviction in the public mind, that greater energy of government is essential to the welfare and prosperity of the community before going on to give us more history lessons.
He gives us the example of England, where authority of the monarch was almost unlimited after the Norman Conquest, until the revolution of 1688 where English liberty again reigned triumphant with the introduction of a bill of rights that included an article that said the raising or keeping a standing army within the kingdom in time of peace, UNLESS WITH THE CONSENT OF
PARLIAMENT, was against law. In that kingdom, no security against the danger of standing armies was thought requisite, beyond a prohibition of their being raised or kept up by the mere authority of the executive magistrate. This caused the armies to swell to massive numbers, almost 30,000 under James the II, which gave the monarch too much power. As a result, England needed this rule. However, this does not justify a similar provision in the US Constitution as there are no monarchs, or representatives thereof, who have great power that can be abused as all power in a republic rests in the hands of the people. The people elect the legislature, and the legislature, on their behalf, determines the need for standing armies and military strength. Plus, the fact that the proposed constitution restrains the appropriations of money for military purposes to the period of two years means that the legislature of the United States will be OBLIGED, by this provision, once at least in every two years, to deliberate upon
the propriety of keeping a military force on foot; to come to a new resolution on the point; and to declare their sense of the
matter, by a formal vote in the face of their constituents. Thus, no further restraint is needed.