of labour is as necessary for the improvement 
of this, as of every other art. Into other 
arts, the division of labour is naturally introduced 
by the prudence of individuals, who 
find that they promote their private interest 
better by confining themselves to a particular 
trade, than by exercising a great number
But it is the wisdom of the state only, which 
can render the trade of a soldier a particular 
trade, separate and distinct from all others. 
A private citizen, who, in time of profound 
peace, and without any particular encouragement 
from the public, should spend the greater 
part of his time in military exercises, might, 
no doubt, both improve himself very much in 
them, and amuse himself very well; but he 
certainly would not promote his own interest. 
It is the wisdom of the state only, which can 
render it for his interest to give up the greater 
part of his time to this peculiar occupation
and states have not always had this wisdom
even when their circumstances had become 
such, that the preservation of their existence 
required that they should have it. 
A shepherd has a great deal of leisure; a 
husbandman, in the rude state of husbandry
has some; an artificer or manufacturer has 
none at all. The first may, without any loss, 
employ a great deal of his time in martial exercises
the second may employ some part of 
it; but the last cannot employ a single hour 
in them without some loss, and his attention 
to his own interest naturally leads him to neglect 
them altogether. Those improvements in 
husbandry, too, which the progress of arts 
and manufacturers necessarily introduces, leave 
the husbandman as little leisure as the artificer
Military exercises come to be as much 
neglected by the inhabitants of the country as 
by those of the town, and the great body of the 
people becomes altogether unwarlike. That 
wealth, at the same time, which always follows 
the improvements of agriculture and manufactures
and which, in reality, is no more than 
the accumulated produce of those improvements
provokes the invasion of all their 
neighbours. An industrious, and, upon that 
account, a wealthy nation, is of all nations 
the most likely to be attacked; and unless the 
states takes some new measure for the public 
defence, the natural habits of the people render 
them altogether incapable of defending 
In these circumstances, there seem to be 
but two methods by which the state can 
make any tolerable provision for the public 
If may either, first, by means of a very rigorous 
police, and in spite of the whole bent 
of the interest, genius, and inclinations of the 
people, enforce the practice of military exercises
and oblige either all the citizens of the 
military age, or a certain number of them, to 
join in some measure the trade of a soldier to 
whatever other trade or profession they may 
happen to carry on. 
Or, secondly, by maintaining and employing 
a certain number of citizens in the constant 
practice of military exercises, it may 
render the trade of a soldier a particular trade
separate and distinct from all others. 
If the state has recourse to the first of those 
two expedients, its military force is said to 
consist in a militia; if to the second, it is 
said to consist in a standing army. The practice 
of military exercises is the sole or principal 
occupation of the soldiers of a standing 
army, and the maintenance or pay which the 
state affords them is the principal and ordinary 
fund of their subsistence. The practice 
of military exercises is only the occasional occupation 
of the soldiers of a militia, and they 
derive the principal and ordinary fund of their 
subsistence from some other occupation. In 
a militia, the character of the labourer, artificer
or tradesman, predominates over that of 
the soldier; in a standing army, that of the 
soldier predominates over every other character
and in this distinction seems to consist the 
essential difference between those two different 
species of military force
Militias have been of several different kinds. 
In some countries, the citizens destined for 
defending the state seem to have been exercised 
only, without being, if I may say so, regimented
that is, without being divided into 
separate and distinct bodies of troops, each 
of which performed its exercises under its 
own proper and permanent officers. In the 
republics of ancient Greece and Rome, each 
citizen, as long as he remained at home, seems 
to have practiced his exercises, either separately 
and independently, or with such of his 
equals as he liked best; and not to have been 
attached to any particular body of troops, till 
he was actually called upon to take the field
In other countries, the militia has not only 
been exercised, but regimented. In England, 
in Switzerland, and, I believe, in every other 
country of modern Europe, where any imperfect 
military force of this kind has been 
established, every militiaman is, even in time 
of peace, attached to a particular body of 
troops, which performs its exercises under its 
own proper and permanent officers
Before the invention of fire-arms, that army 
was superior in which the soldiers had, each 
individually, the greatest skill and dexterity 
in the use of their arms. Strength and agility 
of body were of the highest consequence, 
and commonly determined the fate of battles
But this skill and dexterity in the use of their 
arms could be acquired only, in the same 
manner as fencing is at present, by practising
not in great bodies, but each man separately
in a particular school, under a particular 
master, or with his own particular equals and 
companions. Since the invention of fire-arms