The Founding fathers thoughts on Guns
Founding fathers thoughts
What our founding fathers, and others, had to say about gun control and freedom...
"They that can give up liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." -Benjamin
Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania..
"The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as they are injurious to others." -Thomas Jefferson,
Notes on the State of Virginia (1781-1785).
"I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people, except for a few public officials." -George Mason,
3 Elliot, Debates at 425-426.
"The Constitution of most of our states (and of the United States) assert that all power is inherent in the people;
that they may exercise it by themselves; that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed." -Thomas Jefferson.
"(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.
"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 Cesare Beccaria.
"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).
"...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 the use of them." -Thomas Paine.
"On every question of construction (of the Constitution) let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution
was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the
text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed." -Thomas Jefferson, letter to William
Johnson, June 12, 1823, The Complete Jefferson, p322.
"Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms [of government] those entrusted with power have, in time,
and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny." -Thomas Jefferson, Bill for the More General diffusion of Knowledge
"To disarm the people (is) the best and most effectual way to enslave them..." -George Mason, 3 Elliot, Debates
"The best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed." -Alexander Hamilton,
The Federalist Papers at 184-8.
"Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing
will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are ruined...The great object is that every man
be armed. Everyone who is able might have a gun.: -Patrick Henry.
"Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God!
I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!" -Patrick Henry
"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 (1787-1788).
"The Constitution shall never be construed to authorize Congress to prevent the people of the United States, who
are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms." -Samuel Adams, debates & Proceedings in the Convention of the
Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 86-87.
"...the people have a right to keep and bear arms." -Patrick Henry and George Mason, Elliot, Debates at 185.
"The right of the people to keep and bear...arms shall not be infringed. A well regulated militia, composed 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, 1789).
"A militia, when properly formed, are in fact the people themselves...and include all men capable of bearing arms."
-Richard Henry Lee, Additional Letters from the Federal Farmer (1788) at 169.
"The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age..." -Title 10,
Section 311 of the U.S. Code.
"The people are nor to be disarmed of their weapons. They are left in full possession of them." -Zachariah Johnson,
3 Elliot, Debates at 646.
"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).
"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..."-Alexander Hamilton,
The Federalist (#28).
"As civil rulers, not having their duty to the people duly before them, may attempt to tyrannize, and as the 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, Remarks on
the First Part of the Amendments to the Federal Constitution, under the pseudonym "A Pennsylvanian" in the Philadelphia
Federal Gazette, June 18, 1989 at col. 1.
"The right of the people to keep and bear arms has been recognized by the General Government; but the best security
of that right after all is, the military spirit, that taste for martial exercises, which has always distinguished the free
citizens of these States...Such men form the best barrier to the liberties of America." -gazette of the United States,
October 14, 1789.
"Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom of 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 bands of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States." -Noah Webster,
An Examination into the Leading Principles of the federal Constitution (1787) in Pamphlets to the Constitution of the United
States (P. Ford, 1888).
"If a man hasn't discovered something that he will die for, he isn't fit to live." -Martin Luther King Jr.,
June 23, 1963. Speech in Detroit.