• George Mason: ". . . to disarm the people; that . . . was the best and most effectual way to enslave them."
• Richard Henry Lee: ". . . 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."
•James Madison, drafter of the Bill of Rights, in Federalist No. 46 scorned European despotisms as "afraid to trust the people with arms," and assured his countrymen that they need not fear their government because of "the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation."
•Congressman Fisher Ames noted of Madison's proposals the "the rights of conscience, of bearing arms, . . . are declared to be inherent in the people."
•Samuel Adams asserted in the Massachusetts convention that "the said Constitution be never construed . . . to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms."
•James Monroe included "the right to keep and bear arms" in his list of basic human rights.
•Patrick Henry said, "The great object is, that every man be armed. . . . Everyone who is able may have a gun."
•Thomas Jefferson: "One loves to possess arms"; and advising his 15-year-old nephew, he wrote, "A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercises, I advise the gun. While this gives a moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise and independence to the mind. Games played with the ball, and others of that nature, are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun therefore be the constant companion of your walks."
Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birthright of an American... The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state government, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people. — Tench Coxe, Pennsylvania Gazette, Feb. 20, 1788
George Mason said, "I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people, except for a few public servants."
"Americans have a right and advantage of being armed, unlike the citizens of other countries whose governments are afraid to trust the people with arms." - James Madison, The Federalist Papers. No.46 at 243-244.
GEORGE WASHINGTON, First President and Father of the Country: “A free people ought to be armed. " George Washington, speech of January 7, 1790, in the Boston Independent Chronicle, January 14, 1790.
"The people are not to be disarmed of their weapons. They are left in fill possession of them." - Zachariah Johnson, 3 Elliott, Debates at page 646.
"The best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed." - Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist Papers, pages 184-188.
"Arms in the hands of citizens [may] be used at individual discretion... in private self-defense..." - John Adams, A defense of the Constitutions of the Government of the USA, 471(1788)
"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..." - Richard Henry Lee writing in "Letters from the Federal Farmer to the Republic"
The right of the people to bear arms is not “...in any manner dependent upon that instrument [The Constitution] for it's existence." - United States vs. Cruikshank, US Supreme Court, 1876.
"That no man should scruple, or hesitate a moment to use arms in defense of so valuable a blessing [as liberty], on which all the good and evil of life depends; is clearly my opinion; yet Arms...should be the last resort." - George Washington, (Letter to George Mason, 1789).
"... The right of the people to keep and bear.... may be regarded as the true palladium of liberty. The right to self defense is the first law of nature; in most governments it has been the study of rulers to confine this right within the narrowest limits possible." - Judge St. George Tucker, Editor, Blackstone's Commentaries, P.300 (1803)
"...arms...discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property.... Horrid mischief would ensue were [the law-abiding] deprived of the use of them." - Thomas Paine
"Government big enough to supply everything that you need is big enough to take everything that you have." - Thomas Jefferson
"Laws that forbid the carrying of arms... disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes... Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man." - Thomas Jefferson quoting Ceaser Beccria.