[Ed. – A very nice summary from William Sullivan.]
Brett Arend … offers that “Hamilton was scathing about the idea that the ‘militia’ could mean every Bob, Billy, and Benjamin with a musket,” saying Hamilton wrote that a militia is “the only substitute that can be devised for a standing army, and the best possible security against it.”
But that’s not the whole quote by Hamilton in Federalist 29. It actually reads (emphasis added):
[A]n army of any magnitude … can never be formidable to the liberties of the people while there is a large body of citizens, little, if at all, inferior to them in discipline or the use of arms, who stand ready to defend their own rights and the rights of their fellow citizens. This appears to me the only substitute for a standing army, and the best possible security against it, should it exist.
This is the sentence immediately before the one Arend references, which specifically cites that a “large body of citizens” – i.e., every law-abiding “Bob, Billy, and Benjamin” – should be both disciplined and armed with weaponry comparable to the “standing army,” and that this is the “best possible security against [a standing army], should it exist.”