Never was so much false arithmetic employed on any subject, as that which has been employed to persuade nations that it is their interest to go to war. Were the money which it has cost to gain, at the close of a long war, a little town, or a little territory, the right to cut wood here, or to catch fish there, expended in improving what they already possess, in making roads, opening rivers, building ports, improving the arts, and finding employment for their idle poor, it would render them much stronger, much wealthier and happier. This I hope will be our wisdom.
Thomas Jefferson, ,Notes on the State of Virginia, Query 22, 1787
Well, he could hope.
All Wars are Follies, very expensive, and very mischievous ones. When will Mankind be convinced of this, and agree to settle their Differences by Arbitration? Were they to do it, even by the Cast of a Dye, it would be better than by Fighting and destroying each other.
Benjamin Franklin, letter to Mary Hewson, January 27, 1783
It is really a strange thing that there should not be room enough in the world for men to live, without cutting one anothers throats.
George Washington, letter to Marquis de Lafayette, June 19, 1788
Nations are never content to confine their rivalships and enmities to themselves. It is their usual policy to disseminate them as widely, as they can, regardless how far it may interfere with the tranquility or happiness of the nations which they are able to influence.
Alexander Hamilton, The Defence No. 1, July 22, 1795