Source: Missouri Senator Carl Schurz Questions American Military Expansion
No candid observer of current events will deny that even to-day the spirit of the new policy awakened by the victories and conquests achieved in the Spanish war, and by the occurrences in the Philippines, has moved even otherwise sober-minded persons to speak of the Constitutional limitations of governmental power with a levity which a year ago would have provoked serious alarm and stern rebuke. We are loudly told by the advocates of the new policy that the Constitution no longer fits our present conditions and aspirations as a great and active world Power, and should not be permitted to stand in our way. . . .
Such usurpations [of constitutional authority] are most apt to be acquiesced in when, in time of war, they appeal to popular feeling in the name of military necessity, or of the honor of the flag, or of National glory. In a democracy acting through universal suffrage . . . every influence is unhealthy that prevents men from calm reasoning. And nothing is more calculated to do that than martial excitements which stir the blood. . . .
History shows that military glory is the most unwholesome food that democracies can feed upon. War withdraws, more than anything else, the popular attention from those problems and interests which are, in the long run, of the greatest consequence. It produces a strange moral and political color-blindness. It creates false ideals of patriotism and civic virtue. . . .