• Today's Daily Devotion
“It is an old maxim, that the surest way to make a good peace is to be well prepared for war,” George Washington wrote in August 1780. With the skill of an ...


“It is an old maxim, that the surest way to make a good peace is to be well prepared for war,” George Washington wrote in August 1780. With the skill of an attorney, Washington picked up his pen and lobbied Congress in favor of a remedy he had long contemplated. The desperation of the times led him to make a case for a military draft.

One of the worst mistakes of the Revolutionary War was the system of relying on states to supply militias and men for the army. Militia contracts were short, sometimes as short as three months. The problem had plagued Washington from the beginning of the war, and by August 1780 he was more than ready to inoculate his army from further harm caused by this political disease.

“If a draft for the war or three years can be effected, it ought to be made on every account. A shorter period than a year is inadmissible. To one who has been witness to the evils brought upon us by short enlistments, the system appears to have been pernicious beyond description,” Washington wrote.

If one issue could be identified as the main cause of the army’s misfortunes, it was short-term enlistments. Washington used his letter to review the war, pointing over and over again to the need for longer-term contracts. “Had we formed a permanent army in the beginning, which, by the continuance of the same men in service, had been capable of discipline, we never should have had to retreat with a handful of men across the Delaware in ’76, trembling for the fate of America,” the commander-in-chief wrote.

Washington also believed short-term contracts had depleted the war chest. “The derangement of our finances is essentially to be ascribed to it … We have had, a great part of the time, two sets of men to feed and pay, the discharged men going home and the Levies coming in,” he explained.

Untrained troops led to the defeat at Brandywine and suffering at Valley Forge. Short-term contracts required Washington’s officers to continually retrain soldiers. He continued, “Our discipline also has been much injured, if not ruined, by such frequent changes.”

Washington also concluded that these brief enlistments had prolonged the war. “There is every reason to believe, the War has been protracted on this account … Had we kept a permanent army on foot, the enemy could have had nothing to hope for, and would in all probability have listened to terms long since,” he conjectured.

George Washington argued that recruiting men for three-year terms would show the enemy that America was as serious about independence in 1780 as it had been in 1776. This commander knew a glorious cause required a long-term commitment.


Father, thank you for your long-term commitment to me.

“You must have accurate and honest weights and measures, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you”

(Deuteronomy 25:15).

Other Items In The Battlefields and Blessings Series

You will need to enter a valid email address to sign up for AMG Publishers' eNewsletters.

Please enter a valid eMail address to continue.

  •   Featured Resource

  •   Special Offers

New Releases Bibles Bible Studies E-Sword

In order to use the search feature, you will need to enter a valid search term.

Please enter your search criteria and press "Go" to start searching.

Important Note:
Due to numerous issues surrounding VAT collection and reporting, our web site presently is only able to service customers in the United States.

If you are an international customer and would like to place an order, please call 423.894.6060.