The Simplified Wealth of Nations of Adam Smith, Book 5, Chapter 1c: Government Expenses -- Armies


Chapter 1c: Armies

Superiority of Armies vs Militia

27 History shows the superiority of a well-regulated standing army over a militia. 28 The army of Philip of Macedon is one of the first standing armies documented. 29 The fall of Carthage and the elevation of Rome is the second great revolution in human affairs. 30 From the end of the first to the beginning of the second Carthaginian war, the armies of Carthage were continually in the field.
31 The standing army which Hannibal left in Spain were superior to the militia the Romans sent to oppose it. 32 Hannibal was ill-supplied from home. 33 When Hasdrubal left Spain, the great Scipio was opposed only by a militia inferior to his own. 34 From the end of the second Carthaginian war until the fall of the Roman republic, the Roman armies were standing armies. 35 Many causes contributed to relax the Roman armies' discipline.

The fall of the western empire is the third great revolution in human affairs recorded in ancient history.

36 The German and Scythian nations established themselves on the ruins of the western empire. 37 The soldiers of a standing army can possess the courage of veteran troops even if they may never have seen an enemy. 38 A civilized nation is always exposed to be conquered by any nearby barbarous nation when it depends on a militia for its defence. 39 Only through a well-regulated standing army can:

A standing army establishes the sovereign's law through the remotest provinces with an irresistible force.

40 Men of republican principles have been jealous of a standing army as dangerous to liberty. 41 The sovereign's first duty of defending society gradually grows more expensive as society advances in civilization. 42 The great change introduced into the art of war by firearms further enhanced the cost of:

Their arms and ammunition become more expensive.

43 In modern war, the great cost of firearms gives an advantage to the opulent and civilized nation over a poor and barbarous nation.

Next: Chapter 1d: Expenses on Justice