One loves to possess arms, though they hope never to have occasion for them.
--- Thomas Jefferson to George Washington, 1796. The Writings of Thomas Jefferson
all power is inherent in the people; that they may exercise it by themselves, in all cases to which they think themselves competent, (as in electing their functionaries executive and legislative, and deciding by a jury of themselves, in all judiciary cases in which any fact is involved,) or they may act by representatives, freely and equally chosen; that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed;
---Thomas Jefferson to John Cartwright, 1824
No freeman shall ever be debarred the use of arms.
---Thomas Jefferson: Draft Virginia Constitution, 1776.
A strict observance of the written laws is doubtless one of the high virtues of a good citizen, but it is not the highest. The laws of necessity, of self-preservation, of saving our country when in danger, are of higher obligation.
Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), Letter, September 20, 1810
Thomas Jefferson, generally in favor of the new government, wrote to Madison that a bill of rights was "what the people are entitled to against every government on earth."
- A More Perfect Union: The Creation of the U.S. Constitution, The Bill of Rights
"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." - Thomas Jefferson