scispace - formally typeset
Search or ask a question
Author

JN Heath

Bio: JN Heath is an academic researcher. The author has contributed to research in topics: Morality & Poison control. The author has co-authored 1 publications.

Papers
More filters
Journal Article
TL;DR: The debate in the mid-18th century over whether Scotland should be allowed to participate in the English militia revealed a profound ideological split among political thinkers of the time as mentioned in this paper, with militia advocates emphasizing the importance of social connections based on reciprocity and on shared values of virtue.
Abstract: Eighteenth century armies did little to encourage morality or intellect among the ranks. The ordinary soldier was expected to do nothing more than respond robotically with well-practiced motions to a few rudimentary signals. Armies withstood the effects of individual soldiers being idiots or reprobates, so long as the soldiers met the basic requirement of standing in line while being shot at. Good character among the officers might influence the men, but bravery or acuity among the men could not remedy the deficiency in officers. Such norms, while they met the practical requirements of nations, tended to contradict two themes of Enlightenment thought: movement of order within the system was strictly unidirectional, and standing armies respected no essential characteristics inherent in all levels of constituency. Because moral philosophers of the time sought to create government institutions that were representative of the character and interests of society, some intellectuals questioned the propriety of the military arrangements of the day. These philosophers did not attack the internal structure of armies, but rather recommended maintaining a citizen militia in order to diminish the army's prominence in society. They believed that militia promoted a healthy interchange of qualities between citizens and government. This sentiment in favor of militia reached its greatest expression among a group of Scottish literati in the second half of the Eighteenth century. The debate in the mid-18th century over whether Scotland should be allowed to participate in the English militia revealed a profound ideological split among political thinkers of the time. On the one hand, militia critics such as Adam Smith saw man as essentially an economic creature motivated by selfishness. Militia advocates, in contrast, emphasized the importance of social connections based on reciprocity and on shared values of virtue.