Quotes From Our Founders On The Right To Bear Arms

Quotes From Our Founders On The Right To Bear Arms

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Thread: Quotes From Our Founders On The Right To Bear Arms

  1. #1
    Member Array WillWork4Ammo's Avatar
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    Quotes From Our Founders On The Right To Bear Arms

    Right to Keep and Bear Arms

    What the Framers said about our Second Amendment
    Rights to Keep and Bear Arms

    "Whereas civil-rulers, not having their duty to the people duly before them, may attempt to tyrannize, and as military forces, which must be occasionally raised to defend our country, might pervert their power to the injury of their fellow citizens, the people are confirmed by the article in their right to keep and bear their private arms."
    -- Tench Coxe, in Remarks on the First Part of the Amendments to the Federal Constitution

    "The best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed."
    -- Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist Papers at 184-188

    If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no recourse left but in the exertion of that original right of self-defense which is paramount to all positive forms of government, and which against the usurpations of the national rulers may be exerted with infinitely better prospect of success than against those of the rulers of an individual State. In a single State, if the persons entrusted with supreme power become usurpers, the different parcels, subdivisions, or districts of which it consists, having no distinct government in each, can take no regular measures for defense. The citizens must rush tumultuously to arms, without concert, without system, without resource; except in their courage and despair.
    -- Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 29

    "That the said Constitution shall never be construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the press or the rights of conscience; or to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms ... "
    -- Samuel Adams, Debates and Proceedings in the Convention of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, at 86-87 (Peirce & Hale, eds., Boston, 1850)

    "[The Constitution preserves] the advantage of being armed which Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation...(where) the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms."
    --James Madison,The Federalist Papers, No. 46

    "To suppose arms in the hands of citizens, to be used at individual discretion, except in private self-defense, or by partial orders of towns, countries or districts of a state, is to demolish every constitution, and lay the laws prostrate, so that liberty can be enjoyed by no man; it is a dissolution of the government. The fundamental law of the militia is, that it be created, directed and commanded by the laws, and ever for the support of the laws."
    --John Adams, A Defense of the Constitutions of the United States 475 (1787-1788)

    "Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States. A military force, at the command of Congress, can execute no laws, but such as the people perceive to be just and constitutional; for they will possess the power, and jealousy will instantly inspire the inclination, to resist the execution of a law which appears to them unjust and oppressive."
    --Noah Webster, An Examination of the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution (Philadelphia 1787).

    "Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? Is it feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man against his own bosom. Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birthright of an American...[T]he unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people."
    --Tenche Coxe, The Pennsylvania Gazette, Feb. 20, 1788.

    "Whereas, to preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them; nor does it follow from this, that all promiscuously must go into actual service on every occasion. The mind that aims at a select militia, must be influenced by a truly anti-republican principle; and when we see many men disposed to practice upon it, whenever they can prevail, no wonder true republicans are for carefully guarding against it."
    --Richard Henry Lee, The Pennsylvania Gazette, Feb. 20, 1788.

    "What country can preserve its liberties if its rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms."
    -- Thomas Jefferson to William Stephens Smith, 1787. ME 6:373, Papers 12:356

    "No Free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms."
    -- Thomas Jefferson, Proposal Virginia Constitution, 1 T. Jefferson Papers, 334,[C.J. Boyd, Ed., 1950]

    "The right of the people to keep and bear ... arms shall not be infringed. A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the best and most natural defense of a free country ..."
    -- James Madison, I Annals of Congress 434, June 8, 1978

    "What, Sir, is the use of a militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty .... Whenever Governments mean to invade the rights and liberties of the people, they always attempt to destroy the militia, in order to raise an army upon their ruins."
    -- Rep. Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts, spoken during floor debate over the Second Amendment, I Annals of Congress at 750, August 17, 1789

    " ... to disarm the people - that was the best and most effectual way to enslave them."
    -- George Mason, 3 Elliot, Debates at 380

    " ... but if circumstances should at any time oblige the government to form an army of any magnitude, that army 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 and use of arms, who stand ready to defend their rights ..."
    -- Alexander Hamilton speaking of standing armies in Federalist 29

    "Are we at last brought to such humiliating and debasing degradation, that we cannot be trusted with arms for our defense? Where is the difference between having our arms in possession and under our direction, and having them under the management of Congress? If our defense be the real object of them under the management of Congress? If our defense be the real object of having those arms, in whose hands can they be trusted with more propriety, or equal safety to us, as in our own hands?"
    -- Patrick Henry, 3 J. Elliot, Debates in the Several State Conventions 45, 2d ed. Philadelphia, 1836

    "The great object is, that every man be armed ... Every one who is able may have a gun."
    -- Patrick Henry, Elliot, p.3:386

    "O sir, we should have fine times, indeed, if, to punish tyrants, it were only sufficient to assemble the people! Your arms, wherewith you could defend yourselves, are gone ..."
    -- Patrick Henry, Elliot p. 3:50-53, in Virginia Ratifying Convention demanding a guarantee of the right to bear arms

    "The people are not to be disarmed of their weapons. They are left in full possession of them."
    -- Zacharia Johnson, delegate to Virginia Ratifying Convention, Elliot, 3:645-6

    "Certainly one of the chief guarantees of freedom under any government, no matter how popular and respected, is the right of citizens to keep and bear arms ... The right of citizens to bear arms is just one guarantee against arbitrary government, one more safeguard, against the tyranny which now appears remote in America but which historically has proven to be always possible."
    -- Hubert H. Humphrey, Senator, Vice President, 22 October 1959

    "The militia is the natural defense of a free country against sudden foreign invasions, domestic insurrections, and domestic usurpation of power by rulers. The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of the republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally ... enable the people to resist and triumph over them."
    -- Joseph Story, Supreme Court Justice, Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, p. 3:746-7, 1833

    " ... most attractive to Americans, the possession of arms is the distinction between a freeman and a slave, it being the ultimate means by which freedom was to be preserved."
    -- James Burgh, 18th century English Libertarian writer, Shalhope, The Ideological Origins of the Second Amendment, p.604
    If any of these are incorrect,you are welcome to make corrections.


  2. #2
    Member Array WillWork4Ammo's Avatar
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    Of course,there are those that oppose the 2nd Amendment

    Those Who Would Repeal

    That Right



    "The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to allow the subject races to possess arms. History shows that all conquerors who have allowed their subject races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by so doing."
    -- Adolph Hitler, Hitler's Secret Conversations 403 (Norman Cameron and R.H. Stevens trans., 1961)

    "We can't be so fixated on our desire to preserve the rights of ordinary Americans to legitimately own handguns and rifles ... that we are unable to think about reality."
    -- Bill Clinton, USA Today, 11 March 93, pg. 2A

    "The last time I checked, the Constitution said 'of the people, by the people and for the people'. That's what the Declaration of Independence says."
    -- Reuters News Agency
    ** Note: actually those words are in neither of those documents, but part of The Gettysburg Address by Abraham Lincoln

    "We are taking the law and bending it as far as we can to capture a whole new class of guns [to ban]"
    -- Jose Cerda, Los Angeles Times, 22 Oct. 1997, Mr. Cerda was named as a White House Official who specializes in gun control

    "Gun registration is not enough."
    -- Janet Reno, U.S. Attorney General, Associated Press 10 Dec 1993

    "I want to make it as hard as possible. Gun owners would have to be evaluated by how they scored on written and firing tests, and have to pass the tests in order to own a gun. And I would tax the guns, bullets and the license itself very heavily."
    -- Joycelyn Elders, U.S. Surgeon General, Mother Jones magazine, Jan/Feb '94

    "Armas para que?" ("Guns, for what?")
    -- Fidel Castro, a response to a Cuban citizens who said the people might need to keep their guns, after Castro announced strict gun control in Cuba

    "I have made it considerably tougher for residents to get handgun permits."
    -- Joseph McNamara, Police Chief, San Jose, CA, in his book Safe and Sane, 1984

    "The second article of amendment (Second Amendment) to the Constitution of the United States is repealed."
    -- U.S. House Joint Resolution 438 introduced 11 March 1992 by Congressman Owens, D-NY

    "If I could have gotten 51 votes in the Senate of the United States for an outright ban, picking up every on of the ... 'Mr. and Mrs. America, turn 'em all in,' I would have done it."
    --Diane Feinstein, Senator-CA, 60 Minutes episode, CBS

    " ... we could tax them [firearms] out of existence."
    -- Daniel Patrick Moynihan, U.S. Senator, Washington Post, 4 Nov 93

    "If it were up to me we'd ban them all [firearms]."
    -- Mel Reynolds, U.S. Congressman, CNN Crossfire, 9 Dec 93

    "We're going to have to take this one step at a time, and the first step is necessarily - given the political realities - going to be very modest. Right now, though, we'd be satisfied not with half a loaf but with a slice. Our ultimate goal - total control of all guns- is going to take time ... The final problem is to make the possession of all handguns and all handgun ammunition - except for the military, policemen, licensed security guards, licensed sporting clubs and licensed gun collectors - totally illegal."
    -- Nelson T. Shields III, Founder of Handgu Control, Inc., New Yorker Magazine, p. 57-58, 26 Jul 1976

    "There is no personal right to be armed for private purposes unrelated to the service in a well regulated militia."
    -- Sarah Brady, Chairman, Handgun Control, Inc., Richmond Times-Dispatch, 6 Jun 97, pg. 6

    "We must reverse this psychology (of needing guns for home defense). WE can do it by passing a law that says anyone found in possession a a handgun except a legitimate officer of the law goes to jail- period!"
    -- Carl Rowan, Washington DC Syndicated Columnist, 1981 article

    " ... as long as authorities leave this society awash in drugs and guns, I will protect my family."
    -- Carl Rowan, 1988 article titled "At Least They're Not Writing My Obituary"

    "Men possess handguns in order to compensate for sexual dysfunction."
    -- Dr. Joyce Brothers, Psychiatrist, TV personality
    ** her husband is among NYC elite that has been issued a permit to carry a concealed handgun

    "Those now possessing weapons and ammunition are at once to turn them over to the local police authority. Firearms and ammunition found in a Jew's possession will be forfeited to the government without compensation ... Whoever willfully or negligently violates the provisions ... will be punished with imprisonment and a fine.
    -- Nazi Law, Regulations Against Jews' Possession of Weapons, 11 Nov 1938, German Minister of the Interior

  3. #3
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    Great post, thanks for including the references.

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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Here's a decent list of gun- and RKBA-related quotes and writings: Ol' Buffalo Gun Control Page.

    And a few posted by Bumper back in 2005: click.
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
    Thoughts: Justifiable self defense (A.O.J.).
    Explain: How does disarming victims reduce the number of victims?
    Reason over Force: The Gun is Civilization (Marko Kloos).
    NRA, SAF, GOA, OFF, ACLDN.

  5. #5
    Member Array Clodbert's Avatar
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    Even if you're not pro-2A, it's hard not to notice that the quotes in the first post are brilliant, eloquent, and stimulants to intellectual discourse, and that the quotes in the second post are drivel made by seemingly con artists who ought to be smarter than they sound.
    bseal likes this.

  6. #6
    Distinguished Member Array airslot's Avatar
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    Thanks for the post

    "Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? Is it feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man against his own bosom. Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birthright of an American...[T]he unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people."
    --Tenche Coxe, The Pennsylvania Gazette, Feb. 20, 1788.

    I particularly like the part in bold.
    The situation will NEVER BE THE WAY YOU WANT, it WILL BE THE WAY IT IS. You must be FLEXIBLE ENOUGH TO ADAPT and just "DEAL WITH IT".

  7. #7
    Senior Member Array SigPapa226's Avatar
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    I book marked this page and I think I might copy one saying per day and email it to my Congressmen, just so they will not forget about me ... or why they are there.
    Timkid likes this.
    Ten Bears: It's sad that governments are chiefed by the double tongues. There is iron in your words of death for all Comanche to see, and so there is iron in your words of life. No signed paper can hold the iron. It must come from men.

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