The Importance of Free Speech and The Free Press in America

Infringed

When contemplating the liberties, freedoms and protections given by God and enumerated by the Constitution and Bill of Rights: Remember! The Free Exercise of Religion was the first to be mentioned by the Framers! The Freedom of the Press was meant to insure against the abuse of the government and those in power of all the other rights of man.

Remember also! When one right, liberty, or freedom is under attack, they are all under attack, when one is in jeopardy, they are all in jeopardy! The Second Amendment is meant to guarantee the First Amendment! 

The Importance of Free Speech and The Free Press in America

Background:

One of the most egregious breaches of the U.S. Constitution in history became federal law when Congress passes the Sedition Act, endangering liberty in the fragile new nation. While the United States engaged in naval hostilities with Revolutionary France, known as the Quasi-War, Alexander Hamilton and congressional Federalists took advantage of the public’s wartime fears and drafted and passed the Alien and Sedition Acts, without first consulting President John Adams.

President Adams never took advantage of his new found ability to deny rights to immigrants. However, the fourth act, the Sedition Act, was put into practice and became a black mark on the nation’s reputation. In direct violation of the Constitution’s guarantee of freedom of speech, the Sedition Act permitted the prosecution of individuals who voiced or printed what the government deemed to be malicious remarks about the president or government of the United States. Fourteen Republicans, mainly journalists, were prosecuted, and some imprisoned, under the act.

In opposition to the Alien and Sedition Acts, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison drafted the Virginia and Kentucky Resolves, declaring the acts to be a violation of the First and Tenth Amendments. President Adams, appalled at where Hamilton and the congressional Federalists were leading the country under the guise of wartime crisis, tried to end the undeclared war with France to undercut their efforts. He threatened to resign from the presidency and leave the Federalists with Republican Vice President Thomas Jefferson if they did not heed his call for peace. Adams succeeded in quashing Hamilton and the Federalists’ schemes, but ended any hope of his own re-election in the process.

The first of the laws was the Naturalization Act, passed by Congress on June 18. This act required that aliens be residents for 14 years instead of 5 years before they became eligible for U.S. citizenship.

Congress then passed the Alien Act on June 25, authorizing the President to deport aliens “dangerous to the peace and safety of the United States” during peacetime.

The third law, the Alien Enemies Act, was enacted by Congress on July 6. This act allowed the wartime arrest, imprisonment and deportation of any alien subject to an enemy power.

The last of the laws, the Sedition Act, passed on July 14 declared that any treasonable activity, including the publication of “any false, scandalous and malicious writing,” was a high misdemeanor, punishable by fine and imprisonment. By virtue of this legislation twenty-five men, most of them editors of Republican newspapers, were arrested and their newspapers forced to shut down.

One of the men arrested was Benjamin Franklin’s grandson, Benjamin Franklin Bache, editor of the Republican Aurora and General Advertiser. Charged with libeling President Adams, Bache’s arrest erupted in a public outcry against all of the Alien and Sedition Acts.

Many Americans questioned the constitutionality of these laws. Indeed, public opposition to the Alien and Sedition Acts was so great that they were in part responsible for the election of Thomas Jefferson, a Republican, to the presidency in 1800. Once in office, Jefferson pardoned all those convicted under the Sedition Act, while Congress restored all fines paid with interest. “

(See Text of Act(s) below)

Bill of RightsThe Argument against Unlimited Power in the Hands of the Federal Government!

One of the best arguments against these acts came from The Honorable Josephus Daniels in response to members George K. Taylor and Magill.

Daniels stated that the acts enumerated in the first section of the sedition law, as offences to be punished with heavy fines and long imprisonment, were “to combine or conspire together with intent to oppose any measure, or to impede the operation of any law of the United States;” or to intimidate any officer under the government of the same, from undertaking, performing, or executing his trust or duty; or to counsel, advise, or attempt to procure any insurrection, riot, unlawful assembly, or combination, whether such counsel or advice had effect or not. The offences enumerated in the second section of said law, he said, were, “to write, print, utter, or publish, or to cause the same to be done, or to aid in writing, printing, uttering, or publishing, any false writings against the government, the president, or either house of the congress of the United States, with intent to defame the government, either house of congress, or the president, or to bring them, or either of them, into disrepute; or to excite against them, or either of them, the hatred of the people; or to excite any unlawful combination, for opposing any law, or act of the president of the United States, or to defeat any such law or act.” These were the provisions of the act. The provisions of the constitution were, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or of the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” Third article of amendments to the constitution. He requested gentlemen to read the one and the other; to compare them, and reconcile them if possible. He was one of those who believed, that the first clause of the law would in its operation, effectually destroy the liberty of speech; and the second clause did most completely annihilate the freedom of the press. “To combine, conspire, counsel and advise together,” was a natural right of self-defense, belonging to the people; it could only be exercised by the use of speech; it was a right of self-defense [2nd Amendment force] against the tyranny and oppression of government; it ought to be exercised with great caution; and -never, but upon occasions of extreme necessity. Of this necessity, the people are the only judges. For if government could control this right; if government were the judge, when the necessity of exercising this right has arrived, the right never will be used; for government never will judge that the people ought to oppose its measures, however unjust, however tyrannical, and despotically oppressive. This right, although subject to abuse, like many other invaluable rights, was nevertheless essential to, and inseparable from, the liberties of the people. The warmest friend of any government would not contend that it was infallible. The best of governments may possibly change into tyranny and despotism. Measures may be adopted violating the constitution, and prostrating the rights and principles of the people. He hoped never to see the time; but, if it should so happen, no man would deny but that such measures ought to be opposed. But, he would ask, how they could be effectually opposed, without the people should “combine, conspire, counsel and advise” together? One man could do nothing. This right of adopting the only efficient plan of opposition to unconstitutional, oppressive and tyrannical measures, whenever they should occur, he hoped never would be given up. This right had been well exercised on a former occasion against England; and it would probably be well used again, if our liberties were sufficiently endangered, to call forth its exertion. But for the spirited and energetic exercise of this right; but for the “combining, conspiring, counseling and advising” together of the American people, these United States, now independent and free, would have remained under the tyrannical and despotic domination of the British king. It had been said, that this doctrine leads to anarchy and confusion; but, said Mr. Daniel, this doctrine gave birth and success to our revolution; secured our present liberty, and the privileges consequent thereupon. The contrary doctrine, said Mr. Daniel, leads to passive obedience and non-resistance, to tyranny and oppression, more certain, and more dangerous. If a measure was unpopular, and should give discontent, it would be discussed: if it should thereupon be found to be tolerable, it would be acquiesced in. If, on the contrary, measures should be adopted of such dangerous and destructive tendency, that they ought to be opposed; he would ask, how this could be done, but by the means which are forbidden in the first section of the law in question? These were the only means by which liberty, once trampled down by tyrants and despots, could be reinstated: and if the general government continued its rapid progress of violating the constitution, and infringing the liberties of the people, the time he feared was hastening on, when the people Would find it necessary again, to exercise this natural right of defense.

Mr. Daniel said, he would now turn his attention to that part of the law which affects the freedom of the press, in which the constitution was most palpably, and most dangerously infringed. On this subject, he said, the gentleman from Frederick had contended, that the constitution was not violated; that the common law was a part of the constitution; and that the offences enumerated in the act, were always punishable at common law. If this be the fact, said Mr. Daniel, the law in question is nugatory; and the clause of the constitution on this subject, which had been read, was of no effect, By the gentleman’s common law, which he had read, offences against the king and his government, were precisely such as were enumerated if offences in this law, against the president and government of the United States; substituting the word “president,” in the latter case, for the word “king,” in the former. These offences might be “by speaking, or writing against them; or wishing him (the king in England, and the president in America,) ill, giving out scandalous stories concerning them, (the king and his government in England, and the president and his government in America,) or doing anything, that may tend to lessen him (the king, or president, as the case may be) in the esteem of his subjects; weaken the government, or raise jealousies among the people.” JBlackstone’s Commentaries, page 123. When our “sedition law” was so like the law of England, he did not wonder that the gentleman had supposed that the law of England was in force here; one being the copy of the other, with the necessary change of names, and some other trivial circumstances; nor did he wonder that the gentleman should say, in conformity to that authority, that “the liberty of the press, properly understood, is by no means infringed or violated” by such regulations; “but consists in laying no previous restraints upon publications;” and is otherwise “licentiousness.” Blackstone, pa. 151, that a printer may publish what he pleases, but must answer the consequence, if a certain set of men shall adjudge his writings to contain “dangerous and licentious sentiments.” If this be true, he said, he would be glad to be informed, for what purpose was it declared by the constitution, that “the freedom of the press should not be restrained;” and how we were more free in the United States than the people of any other nation whatsoever? The most oppressed of Europe; the slaves and subjects of the most despotic power on the earth, he said, had the right to speak, write and print, whatever they pleased, but were liable to be punished afterwards, if they spoke, wrote or printed, anything that was offensive to the government: that there was very little difference as to the liberty of the press, whether the restraints imposed, were “previous” or subsequent to publications. If the press was subjected to a political licenser, the discretion of the printer would be taken away, and with it his responsibility; and nothing would be printed, but what was agreeable to the political opinions of a certain set of men; whereas subsequent restraints have the same operation, by saying, if you do “write, print, utter or publish,” anything contrary to the political opinions, reputation or principles of certain men, you shall be fined and imprisoned. In vain, he said, were we told that the accused may prove the truth of his writings or printing, and that we are only forbidden to write or print false facts. The truth was, that it was not the facts, but the deductions and conclusions drawn from certain facts, which would constitute the offence. If a man was to write and publish that the congress of the United States had passed the “alien and sedition acts,” that the provisions of the said acts were in these words, reciting the laws as they are, that the constitution was in these words, reciting the provisions of the constitution truly; and conclude, that the said acts violated the constitution; that the congress and the president, in enacting the same, had assumed powers not granted to them, and had encroached upon the liberties of the people, who ought to take measures “to defeat” these laws, and this “act of the president.” Here the facts stated, that the laws had been passed, and that the constitution was in terms stated, could be proved, and would not constitute the offence, but the inference from these facts, that the congress, in enacting the said laws, had violated the constitution, assumed powers not delegated to them, and usurped the rights and liberties of the people, in which usurpation the president had joined, would certainly have a tendency “to defame the government, the congress, and the president, and to bring them into disrepute and hatred among the people,” and would therefore constitute the offence. The inference or conclusion from certain facts might be true or not, and was mere matter of opinion. It was opinion then, political opinion, which was the real object of punishment. The deduction made from the facts just stated, he said, was in his opinion true, the consequence of which was, that the congress and president of the United States had not his confidence; with him they were in “disrepute.” But he could not prove that the opinion was true, as a fact; he could offer those reasons which convinced his mind of its truth, but they might not be satisfactory to a jury summoned with a special regard to their political opinions, or to a judge of the United States, most of whom had already pronounced their opinion on the subject, either in pamphlets, or political instead of legal charges to the grand juries of the several circuits of the United States; thus prejudging a constitutional question, which they knew would be made, if ever the law was attempted to be carried into effect.

He said he would state one more case to exemplify his opinion. If at the time of British oppressions, when the parliament of England boldly implied the right to make laws for, and to tax the American people, without representation, any man had by writing maintained that representation and taxation were inseparable, and that it was an usurpation and assumption of power by parliament to impose taxes on the American colonies, who were not represented in parliament, the fact here stated would not offend, because true; but the conclusion, the charge of usurpation, made upon the British government, would certainly have a tendency to bring it into “disrepute and hatred” among the people, as it did most effectually in America, and would have constituted the offence. This opinion, though now clearly admitted to be true, was then new, and could not be proven true to an English judge and jury, for they were so impressed with its falsity, that the nation undertook and carried on a bloody and expensive war, to correct its error. He concluded that the provisions of this act abridged and infringed the liberty of the press, which at the time of the adoption of the constitution had no other restraint than the responsibility of the author to the individual who might be injured by his writing or printing: that they destroyed all enquiry into political motives, silenced scrutiny, weakened the responsibility of public servants, and established political and executive infallibility. That the solicitude discovered by the government to defend itself against the attacks of its own citizens, was an evidence that its acts would not deserve their confidence and esteem: that the solicitude thus expressed by threats of fine and imprisonment, to keep the president for the time being from coming “into disrepute,” was evidence of a fear that a comparison of motives and views would prove favorable to his competitor, and was calculated to keep the real merits of competition out of view, inasmuch as the merits of one of the proposed candidates could not be insisted on to advantage, without exposing the demerits of the other, which would tend to bring him “into disrepute.” And if the one to whom the want of merit should be ascribed, should be president for the time being, thus to bring him into “disrepute,” would be to bring the person discussing the subject into the pains of fine and imprisonment.

It had been contended, said Mr. Daniel, by the gentleman from Frederick, that the adoption of the resolutions would be an infringement of the right of the people to petition. He, Mr. Daniel, would slate, that this right might be exercised by an individual, by an assemblage of individuals, or by the representatives of the people; which last mode was preferable, when the sovereignty of the state, as well as the appropriate rights of the people was attacked, as in the present case. He conceived, however, that the law in question had very much abridged the right of the people to petition and remonstrate. The necessity and propriety of petitions and remonstrance’s could not be seen but by discussion: the right itself could not be effectually used, without “counseling and advising together.” Three or more persons would constitute an “unlawful assembly;” for it would be easily said, that they were unlawfully assembled, when they intended, by discussing certain acts of the president, or laws of the government, “to defeat” the same, by inducing the people to petition and remonstrate; or if the same were not defeated, by virtue of such petition and remonstrance, to bring the government and president into “disrepute,” for continuing such acts and laws in operation, against which the people had petitioned and remonstrated. But those things being offences, and so enumerated in one clause of the law, an assembly of three or more persons, contemplating the objects just described, would be “unlawful,” within the purview of the act, and subject to fine and imprisonment. Again, he said, the dangerous and ruinous tendency of certain measures, might not be observed by the people of any particular district. A few, however, might wish a petition to be made, to remove the grievance of the measures; in order to which, they would individually address the district by writing, in which they would expose and censure the evil tendency of the said measures, to excite the people to petition and remonstrate, “to defeat” the same, or necessarily to bring the friends of the continuance thereof into “disrepute.” This would be an offence within the purview of the second clause of the law. Thus, said he, by one act we have seen, that that clause of the constitution, which secures the right of speech, of the press, of petition, of the free exercise of religious opinion to the people, is prostrated in every respect, except as it relates to religion. And this last and most invaluable right, he had no doubt would soon be invaded, inasmuch as he had been informed, that the friends of the present measures had already begun to insinuate, that an “established church was one of the strongest props to government:” and inasmuch, that the same reasons might be urged in its favor, as in favor of the abridgment of the liberty of the press. But it was said, that the press was still left free to print truth: “its licentiousness and abuse” are only forbid. So it might be said of religion: true religion only ought to be tolerated: the abuse of religion ought to be forbidden: the “licentiousness” of particular sectaries ought to be restrained.

He said, he was fearful that he had already trespassed upon the patience of the committee, and he would hasten to a conclusion, with a few remarks on the particular shape and address of the resolutions. It had been objected by gentlemen, that it was going too far to declare the acts in question, to be “no law, null, void and of no effect:” that it was sufficient to say they were unconstitutional. He said, if they were unconstitutional, it followed necessarily that they were “not law, but null, void and of no effect.” But, if those particular words were offensive to gentlemen he had no objection to any modification, so the principle were retained. As to the objection, that they were improperly addressed to the other states, Mr. Daniel said, he supposed that this mode was extremely eligible. If the other states think with this, that the laws are unconstitutional, the laws will be repealed, and the constitutional question will be settled by this declaration of a majority of the states: thereby destroying the force of this precedent, and precluding from any future congress, who might be disposed to carry the principle to a more pernicious and ruinous extent, the force of any argument which might be derived from these laws. If, on the contrary, a sufficient majority of the states should declare their opinion, that the constitution gave congress authority to pass these laws, the constitutional question would still be settled; but an attempt might be made so to amend the constitution, as to take from congress this authority, which in our opinion was so pernicious and dangerous.

He then concluded by saying, that something must be done: the people were not satisfied: they expected that this legislature would adopt some measure on this subject: that the constitution of the United States was the basis of public tranquility; the pledge of the sovereignty of the states, and of the liberties of the people. But, said he, this basis of public tranquility, this pledge of liberty and security is but a name, a mere phantom, unless it be strictly observed. It became our duty to watch attentively, to see that it was not violated; to see that it was equally observed by those who govern, and by those who are destined to obey. To attack the constitution was an offence against society; and if those guilty of it were invested with authority, they added to the offence a perfidious abuse of the power with which they were entrusted. It was our duty, said he, to suppress this abuse with our utmost vigor and vigilance. It was strange to see a free constitution openly and boldly attacked by those who were put in power under it. It was generally by silent and slow attacks, that free governments had progressively changed, till very little of their original texture and principles remained: that the doctrine of implication had introduced innovations, under the influence and operation of which, the freest governments had been enslaved. It was our duty to guard against innovations. The people of Virginia had been attentive to this subject. The petitions and remonstrances, which had been read to the committee, proved that the people were seriously alarmed at the innovations of the federal government. He said they proved more: they proved that the people thought that their servants, in the administration of the federal government, were not even modest enough to wait the increase of their power by progressive change. That their ambition exceeded the resources of the doctrine of implication: that their thirst of power could not be satiated, but by a direct attack upon the constitution, and a prostration of the great rights of the people. He said, this apprehension of the people, which he thought just, would be satisfied. He thought the mode proposed by the resolutions was most likely to effect this purpose; as well as other important purposes. He said, if they who were the representatives of the people, would not act for them when called upon, the people will speak for themselves; and as the voice of God, they would be heard. He hoped this final and dreadful appeal would never be necessary. He preferred the resolutions, and hoped they would be adopted by the committee. ..

Related: The Sedition Act of 1918 signed into law by Progressive President Thomas Woodrow Wilson

During World War I, libel laws surfaced again. The Sedition Act of 1918was part of an amendment to the Espionage Act, created in 1917 to prohibit ‚Äúfalse statements‚ÄĚ that might ‚Äúimpede military success.‚ÄĚ

The revisions prohibited not only public criticism of the government, but also forbade ‚Äúany abusive language about ‚Ķ the Constitution of the United States, or the military or naval forces of the United States, or the flag of the United States, or the uniform of the Army or Navy.‚ÄĚ

It extended further to target any person who displayed the flag of an enemy country, or attempted to curb the production of goods needed for war. Both the Espionage Act and Sedition Act were repealed in 1921.

Because the Sedition Acts of 1798 and 1918 were each in effect only for three years, neither was ever challenged in the U.S. Supreme Court. In the 1964 case of New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, the Supreme Court ruled that the First Amendment prevented a public official from charging a fine for libel, ‚Äúunless ‚Äėactual malice‚Äô‚ÄĒknowledge that statements are false or in reckless disregard of the truth‚ÄĒis alleged and proved.‚ÄĚ

The Court took this opportunity to officially declare the Sedition Act of 1798, which had expired over 150 years earlier, unconstitutional: ‚Äúthe Act, because of the restraint it imposed upon criticism of government and public officials, was inconsistent with the First Amendment.‚ÄĚ

Justice William Brennan quoted James Madison, stating, ‚ÄúThe censorial power is in the people over the Government, and not in the Government over the people.‚ÄĚ

Text of Act(s)

An act in addition to the act entitled, “An act for the punishment of certain crimes against the United States.”

[Approved July 14, 1798.]

ABSTRACT.

SECTION I. Punishes combinations against United States government.

1. Definition of offence:
Unlawfully to combine or conspire together to oppose any measure of the government of the United States, &c. This section was not complained of.

2. Grade of offence:
A high misdemeanour.

3. Punishment:
Fine not exceeding $5000, and imprisonment six months to five years.

SECTION II. Punishes seditious writings.
1. Definition of offence:

To write, print, utter or publish, or cause it to be done, or assist in it, any false, scandalous, and malicious writing against the government of the United States, or either House of Congress, or the President, with intent to defame, or bring either into contempt or disrepute, or to excite against either the hatred of the people of the United States, or to stir up sedition, or to excite unlawful combinations against the government, or to resist it, or to aid or encourage hostile designs of foreign nations.

2. Grade of offence:
A misdemeanour.
3. Punishment:
Fine not exceeding $2000, and imprisonment not exceeding two years.

SECTION III. Allows accused to give in evidence the truth of the matter charged as libellous.

SECTION IV. Continues the Act to 3d March, 1801.


SECTION 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled. That if any persons shall unlawfully combine or conspire together, with intent to oppose any measure or measures of the government of the United States, which are or shall be directed by proper authority, or to impede the operation of any law of the United States, or to intimidate or prevent any person holding a place or office in or under the government of the United States, from undertaking, performing, or executing his trust or duty: and if any person or persons, with intent as aforesaid, shall counsel, advise, or attempt to procure any insurrection, riot, unlawful assembly, or combination, whether such conspiracy, threatening, counsel, advice, or attempt shall have the proposed effect or not, he or they shall be deemed guilty of a high misdemeanour, and on conviction before any court of the United States having jurisdiction thereof, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding five thousand dollars, and by imprisonment during a term of not less than six months, nor exceeding five years; and further, at the discretion of the court, may be holden to find sureties for his good behaviour, in such sum, and for such time, as the said court may direct.

SECT. 2. And be it further enacted, That if any person shall write, print, utter, or publish, or shall cause or procure to be written, printed, uttered, or published, or shall knowingly and willingly assist or aid in writing, printing, uttering, or publishing any false, scandalous and malicious writing or writings against the government of the United States, or either House of the Congress of the United States, or the President of the United States, with intent to defame the said government, or either House of the said Congress, or the said President, or to bring them, or either of them, into contempt or disrepute; or to excite against them, or either or any of them, the hatred of the good people of the United States, or to stir up sedition within the United States; or to excite any unlawful combinations therein, for opposing or resisting any law of the United States, or any act of the President of the United States, done in pursuance of any such law, or of the powers in him vested by the Constitution of the United States; or to resist, oppose, or defeat any such law or act; or to aid, encourage or abet any hostile designs of any foreign nation against the United States, their people or government, then such person, being thereof convicted before any court of the United States having jurisdiction thereof, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars, and by imprisonment not exceeding two years.

SECT. 3. And be it further enacted and declared, That if any person shall be prosecuted under this act for the writing or publishing any libel aforesaid, it shall be lawful for the defendant, upon the trial of the cause, to give in evidence in his defence, the truth of the matter contained in the publication charged as a libel. And the jury who shall try the cause shall have a right to determine the law and the fact, under the direction of the court, as in other cases.

SECT. 4. And be it further enacted, That this act shall continue and be in force until the third day of March, one thousand eight hundred and one, and no longer: Provided, That the expiration of the act shall not prevent or defeat a prosecution and punishment of any offence against the law, during the time it shall be in force.

See also:
Constitution of the United States and it’s Governmental Operations (In Plain English)
The Importance of the Freedom of the Press; by Senator Ebenezer Mack (1791-1849)
THE LIBERTY OF THE PRESS by Charles F. Partington 1836
George Mason of Virginia the Father of the Declaration of Independence
A REPUBLIC! A LIVING BREATHING CONSTITUTION DEFINED! by Alphonse De Lamartine 1790-1869
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: The Powers delegated to the General Government in the Federal Constitution
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: The mode of obtaining redress for infringement of civil or political rights by officers of the government
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: The Liberty of Speech and of the Press
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: The Law of Libel in relation to Public Officers
Sources:
1. http://www.history.com
2. http://www.earlyamerica.com/earlyamerica/milestones/sedition/
3. ‚ÄúResolutions of Virginia and Kentucky‚Ä̬†by James Madison, Thomas Jefferson
4. http://www.constitution.org/rf/sedition_1798.htm
nra_armd

What The Founding Fathers Said About the 2nd Amendment (Original Intent)

Just a note, when the Bill of Rights were written and the 2nd amendment was written, the colonists, i.e. the people, were armed with the very same arms i.e. cannons and muskets, that were available to the government military, i.e. British Tories

“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

“No man who knows aught, can be so stupid to deny that all men naturally were born free.” ~ John Milton

“When complaints are freely heard, deeply considered and speedily reformed, then is the utmost bound of civil liberty attained that wise men look for.” ~ John Milton

Self-defense is justly called the primary law of nature, so it is not, neither can it be in fact, taken away by the laws of society. And, lastly, to vindicate these rights, when actually violated and attacked, the subjects of England are entitled, in the first place, to the regular administration and free course of justice in the courts of law; next to the right of petitioning the king and parliament for redress of grievances; and, lastly, to the right of having and using arms for self preservation and defense. Free men have arms; slaves do not.” – William Blackstone

‚ÄúNo enactment of man can be considered law unless it conforms to the law of God.‚ÄĚ ‚Äď William Blackstone

‚ÄúThe public good is in nothing more essentially interested, than in the protection of every individual‚Äôs private rights. So great moreover is the regard of the law for private property, that it will not authorize the least violation of it; no, not even for the general good of the whole community.‚ÄĚ ‚Äď William Blackstone

The Statists, Marxist, Leftist, Progressives, Socialist, i.e. those elements of the country that wish the federal/central government to control everything, would have you believe that the second amendment pertains simply to the military. The Democrats have made this argument for years. Clearly they lie and/or are wrong as you will see as you educate yourself here on exactly what the Founder’s and others said on the subject at the time of the founding.

‚ÄúMen who look upon themselves born to reign, and others to obey, soon grow insolent; selected from the rest of mankind their minds are early poisoned by importance; and the world they act in differs so materially from the world at large, that they have but little opportunity of knowing its true interests, and when they succeed to the government are frequently the most ignorant and unfit of any throughout the dominions.‚ÄĚ- Thomas Paine

‚ÄúIf ever time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin.‚ÄĚ ‚Äď Samuel Adams

“The law of self-preservation overrules the laws of obligation to others.” ~ Thomas Jefferson 1793

The 2nd Amendment ensures the 1st Amendment.

The Second Amendment states:
“A¬† well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

definitions of key words:

Right: noun; 1. something to which one has a just claim, 2. the power or privilege to which one is justly entitled, 3. something that one may properly claim as due, 4. the cause of truth or justice

People: plural; any one, of a number of human beings making up a group or assembly or linked by a common interest.

People is plural for person, people therefore according to the Founder’s original intent, meant every single citizen that make up the people of the United States of America.

Keep: verb; 1. to retain in one’s possession or power, 2. to continue to maintain, 3. to cause to remain in a given place, situation, or condition, 4. to preserve in an unspoiled condition.

Bear: verb: 1. to be equipped or furnished with, 2.to carry or possess

Shall: verb: 1. used to express a command or exhortation, 2. used in laws, regulations, or directives to express what is mandatory

Not: adverb: 1. never, 2. not ever, 3. at no time, 4. not in any degree, 5. not under any condition

Be: verb: 1. to have, maintain, or occupy a place, situation, or position; 2. to remain unmolested, undisturbed, or uninterrupted

Infringed: Infringe; verb: to encroach upon in a way that violates law or the rights of another, Encroach; 1. to enter by gradual steps or by stealth into the possessions or rights of another, 2. to advance beyond the usual or proper limits

See the following links also: Political Evils and the Remedy for them by Noah Webster 1834,
Constitution of the United States and it’s Governmental Operations (In Plain English so even lawyers and politicians can understand) ,
POLITICAL CONSTITUTIONS by Johannes Von Muller (1832),
Resistance to Tyrants is Obedience to God
Barack Obama’s 10 Point Plan to “Change” The Second Amendment

If the government believes they should provide everyone with healthcare because it is a “Right”, why is it they do not provide us all with guns, because that has been a true “Right” to “Keep and Bear” for much longer than healthcare!

Founder’s quotes on 2nd amendment

‚ÄĚThe very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference ‚ÄĒ they deserve a place of honor with all that‚Äôs good.‚ÄĚ (George Washington)

‚ÄúA free people ought not only to be armed and disciplined but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government.‚ÄĚ (George Washington)

‚ÄúFirearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people‚Äôs liberty teeth and keystone under independence ‚Ķ From the hour the Pilgrims landed, to the present day, events, occurrences, and tendencies prove that to insure peace, security and happiness, the rifle and¬† pistol are equally indispensable . . . The very atmosphere of firearms everywhere restrains evil interference¬† ‚Äď they deserve a place of honor with all that is good‚ÄĚ (George Washington)

“I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them.” (George Mason Co-author of the Second Amendment during Virginia’s Convention to Ratify the Constitution, 1788)

“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, p. 322)

“No Free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.” (Thomas Jefferson, Proposal Virginia Constitution)

“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)

What country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time that [the] people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms…The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants. (Thomas Jefferson, letter to Col. William S. Smith, Paris; 1787 see bottom of post for full letter)

“The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.” (Thomas Jefferson)

“Those who hammer their guns into plows, will plow for those who do not.” (Thomas Jefferson)

‚ÄúIt is the duty of a Patriot to protect his country from its government‚ÄĚ (Thomas Paine)

‚ÄúIf ever time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin.‚ÄĚ (Samuel Adams)

‚ÄúOn every unauthoritative exercise of power by the legislature must the people rise in rebellion or their silence be construed into a surrender of that power.‚ÄĚ (Thomas Jefferson)

‚ÄúAnd what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms‚Ķ The tree of Liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants.‚ÄĚ (Thomas Jefferson, letter to William S. Smith, 1787)

Thomas Jefferson In his Commonplace Book, Jefferson quotes Cesare Beccaria from his seminal work, On Crimes and Punishment: ‚ÄúLaws that forbid the carrying of arms‚Ķ disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes‚Ķ 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.‚ÄĚ

‚ÄúA strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercises, I advise the gun. While this gives 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.‚ÄĚ (Encyclopedia of Thomas Jefferson)

‚ÄúNo free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.‚ÄĚ, Proposal for a Virginia Constitution, (Thomas Jefferson Papers, 334 C.J. Boyd, Ed. 1950)

‚ÄúThe Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people; it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government.‚ÄĚ (Patrick Henry )

‚ÄúAre we at last brought to such a humiliating and debasing degradation, that we cannot be trusted with arms for our own defense? Where is the difference between having our arms in our possession and under our own direction, and having 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, Elliot Debates)

‚ÄúThe people have a right to keep and bear arms.‚ÄĚ and ‚ÄúThe great object is that every man be armed. Everyone who is able might have a gun.‚ÄĚ (Patrick Henry, Elliot Debates)

Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.  (Thomas Paine)

“The whole of the Bill (of Rights) is a declaration of the right of the people at large or considered as individuals…. It establishes some rights of the individual¬† as unalienable and which consequently, no majority has a right¬† to deprive them of.” (Albert Gallatin of the New York Historical Society, October 7, 1789)

‚ÄúThe right of 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 possible limits‚Ķand [when] the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any color or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction.‚ÄĚ (Sir George Tucker, Judge of the Virginia Supreme Court and U.S. District Court of Virginia, in I Blackstone Commentaries)

“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, 1789])

‚ÄúAs the greatest danger to liberty is from large standing armies, it is best to prevent them by an effectual provision for a good militia.‚ÄĚ (James Madison, notes of debates in the 1787 Federal Convention)

Militias, when properly formed, are in fact the people themselves and include all men capable of bearing arms. […] 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.
(Senator Richard Henry Lee, 1788, on “militia” in the 2nd Amendment writing in Letters from the Federal Farmer to the Republic)

“A militia, when properly formed, are in fact the people themselves ‚Ķ”
(Richard Henry Lee writing in Letters from the Federal Farmer to the Republic, Letter XVIII, May, 1788.)

“Whenever, therefore, the profession of arms becomes a distinct order in the state….the end of the social compact is defeated… No free government was ever founded, or ever preserved its liberty without uniting the characters of the citizen and soldier in those destined for the defense of the state…Such are a well regulated militia, composed of the freeholders, citizen and husbandman, who take up arms to preserve their property, as individuals, and their rights as freemen.” (Richard Henry Lee)

“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 August17, 1789])

“…if raised, whether they could subdue a Nation of freemen, who know how to prize liberty, and who have arms in their hands?” (Delegate Sedgwick, during the Massachusetts Convention, rhetorically asking if an oppressive standing army could prevail, Jonathan Elliot, ed., Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution, Vol.2 at 97 (2d ed., 1888))

“…to disarm the people – that was the best and most effectual way to enslave them.”¬† (George Mason)

“Americans have the 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 #46 at 243-244)

“the ultimate authority … resides in the people alone,” (James Madison, author of the Bill of Rights, in Federalist Paper #46.)

“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 in An Examination¬† into the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution’, 1787, a pamphlet aimed at swaying Pennsylvania toward ratification,¬† in Paul Ford, ed., Pamphlets on the Constitution of the United States, at 56(New York, 1888))

“…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.)

“Besides¬† the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess¬† over the people of almost every other nation. . .Notwithstanding the military¬† establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the¬† people with arms.” (James Madison, author of the Bill of Rights, in Federalist¬† Paper No. 46.)

“As civil rulers, not having their duty to the people 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 in Remarks on the First Part of the Amendments to the Federal Constitution’ under the Pseudonym A¬† Pennsylvanian’ in the Philadelphia Federal Gazette, June 18, 1789 at 2 col. 1)

“The militia of these free commonwealths, entitled and accustomed to their arms, when compared with any possible army, must be tremendous and irresistible. 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 birth-right of an American…the 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. (Tench Coxe, Pennsylvania Gazette, Feb. 20, 1788)

“The¬† prohibition is general. No clause in the Constitution could by any¬† rule of construction be conceived to give to Congress a power to disarm the people. Such a flagitious attempt could only be made under some general pretense by a state legislature. But if in any blind pursuit of inordinate power, either should attempt it, this amendment may be appealed to as a restraint on both.” [William Rawle, A View of the Constitution 125-6 (2nd ed. 1829)

‚ÄúWhenever 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.‚ÄĚ (Rep. Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts: spoken during floor debate over the Second Amendment, I Annals of Congress at 750, August 17, 1789.)

‚ÄúWhat, sir, is the use of a militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty.‚ÄĚ (Rep. Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts:, I Annals of Congress at 750 August 17, 1789)

“I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people, except for few public officials.”¬† (George Mason,)

“The¬† Constitution shall never be construed….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, 86-87)

“To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of people always possess arms, and be taught alike especially when young, how to use¬† them.” (Richard¬† Henry Lee, 1788, Initiator of the Declaration of Independence, and member of the first Senate, which passed the Bill of Rights, Walter Bennett, ed., Letters from the Federal Farmer to the Republican, at 21,22,124 (Univ. of Alabama Press,1975)..)

“The great object is that every man be armed” and “everyone who is able may have a gun.” (Patrick Henry, in the Virginia Convention on the ratification of the Constitution. Debates and other Proceedings of the Convention of Virginia,…taken in shorthand by David Robertson of Petersburg, at 271,¬† 275 2d ed.¬† Richmond, 1805. Also 3 Elliot, Debates at 386)

“The people are not to be disarmed of their weapons. They are left in full possession of them.” (Zachariah Johnson, Elliot’s Debates, vol. 3)

“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 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 best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed.”¬† (Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist Papers at 184-8)

“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))

“And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not¬† warned from time to time that this people preserve the spirit of¬† resistance? Let them take arms….The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants” (Thomas Jefferson in a letter to William S. Smith in 1787.¬† Taken from Jefferson, On Democracy 20, S. Padover ed.,1939)

“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 inevitably ruined”¬† (Patrick Henry, 3 J. Elliot, Debates in the Several State Conventions 45, 2d ed. Philadelphia, 1836)

“The strongest reason for people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.”¬† –(Thomas Jefferson)

“Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people’s liberty teeth and keystone under independence … From the hour the Pilgrims landed, to the present day, events, occurrences, and tendencies prove that to insure peace, security and happiness, the rifle and¬† pistol are equally indispensable . . . The very atmosphere of firearms everywhere restrains evil interference¬† – they deserve a place of honor with all that is good” (George Washington)

“The supposed quietude of a good mans allures the ruffian; while on the other hand, arms like laws discourage and keep the invader and the plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property. The same balance would be preserved were all the world destitute of arms, for all would be alike; but since some will not, others dare not lay them aside…Horrid mischief would ensue were one half the world deprived of the use of them…” (Thomas Paine, [Writings of Thomas Paine])

“A strong body makes the mind strong.¬† As to the species of exercises, I advise the gun. While this gives 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.(Thomas¬† Jefferson, Encyclopedia of T. Jefferson, 318 [Foley,¬† Ed.,¬† reissued 1967])

“The supposed quietude of a good mans allures the ruffian; while on the other hand, arms like laws discourage and keep the invader and the plunderer in awe, and¬† preserve order in the world as well as property. The same balance¬† would be preserved were all the world destitute of arms, for all would be alike; but since some will not, others dare not lay them aside…Horrid¬† mischief¬† would ensue were one half the world deprived of the use of them…” (Thomas Paine, I Writings of Thomas Paine at 56 [1894])

(The¬† American Colonies were) “all democratic governments, where the power is in the hands of the people and where there is not the¬† least difficulty or jealousy about putting arms into the hands of every man in the country. (European countries should not) be ignorant of the strength and the force of such a form of government and how strenuously and almost wonderfully people living under one have sometimes exerted themselves in defense of their rights and liberties and how fatally it has ended with many a man and many a state who have entered into quarrels, wars and contests with them.” [George Mason, “Remarks on Annual Elections for the Fairfax Independent Company” in The Papers of George Mason, 1725-1792, ed Robert A. Rutland (Chapel Hill, 1970)]

“It is not certain that with this aid alone [possession of arms], they would not be able to shake off their yokes.¬† But were the people to posses the additional advantages of local governments chosen by themselves, who could collect the national will, and direct the national force; and of officers appointed out of the militia, by these governments and attached both to them and to the militia, it may be affirmed with the greatest assurance, that the throne of every tyranny in Europe would be speedily overturned, in spite of the¬† legions which surround it.” (James Madison, “Federalist No. 46”)

“Let us contemplate our forefathers, and posterity, and resolve to maintain the rights bequeathed to us from the former, for the sake of the latter. The necessity of the times, more than ever, calls for our utmost circumspection, deliberation, fortitude, and perseverance. Let us remember that ‘if we suffer tamely a lawless attack upon our liberty, we encourage it, and involve others in our doom.’ It is a very serious consideration that millions yet unborn may be the miserable sharers of the event.” (Samuel Adams speech, 1771)

“These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated.”¬† (Thomas Paine)

‚ÄúWe have therefore to resolve to conquer or die: Our own Country‚Äôs Honor, all call upon us for a vigorous and manly exertion, and if we now shamefully fail, we shall become infamous to the whole world. Let us therefore rely upon the goodness of the Cause, and the aid of the supreme Being, in whose hands Victory is, to animate and encourage us to great and noble Actions ‚ÄĒ The Eyes of all our Countrymen are now upon us, and we shall have their blessings, and praises, if happily we are the instruments of saving them from the Tyranny mediated against them.‚ÄĚ (George Washington, General Orders, July 2, 1776.)

Court rulings on the subject

“To prohibit a citizen from wearing or carrying a war arm . . . is an unwarranted restriction upon the constitutional right to keep and bear arms. If cowardly and dishonorable men sometimes shoot unarmed men with army pistols or guns, the evil must be prevented by the penitentiary and gallows, and not by a general deprivation of constitutional privilege.” [Wilson vs. State, 33¬† Ark. 557, at 560, 34 Am. Rep. (1878)]

For, in principle, there is no difference between a law prohibiting the wearing¬† of concealed arms, and a law forbidding the wearing such as are¬† exposed; and if the former be unconstitutional, the latter must be so likewise. But it should not be forgotten, that it is not only a part of the right that is secured by the constitution; it is the right entire and complete, as it existed at the adoption of the constitution; and if any portion of that right be impaired, immaterial how small the part may be, and immaterial the order of time at which it be done, it is equally forbidden by the constitution.” [Bliss¬† vs. Commonwealth, 12 Ky. (2 Litt.) 90, at 92, and 93, 13 Am. Dec. 251 (1822)] ”

The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” The right of the whole people, old and young, men, women and boys, and not militia only, to keep and bear arms of every description, and not such merely as are used by the militia, shall not be infringed, curtailed, or broken in upon, in the smallest degree; and all this for the important end to be attained: the rearing up and qualifying a well-regulated militia, so vitally necessary to the security of a free State. Our opinion is that any law, State or Federal, is repugnant to the Constitution, and void, which contravenes this right.” [Nunn vs. State, 1 Ga (1 Kel.)¬† (1846)]

“The provision in the Constitution granting the right to all persons to bear arms is a limitation upon the power of the Legislature to enact any law to the contrary. The¬† exercise of a right guaranteed by the Constitution¬† cannot¬† be made subject to the will of the sheriff.” [People vs. Zerillo, 219 Mich. 635, 189 N.W. (1922)]

“The¬† maintenance of the right to bear arms is a most essential one to every free¬† people and should not be whittled down by technical constructions.”[State vs. Kerner, 181 N.C. 574, 107 S.E. (1921)]

“The right of a citizen to bear arms, in lawful defense of himself or¬† the State, is absolute. He does not derive it from the State government. It is one of the “high powers” delegated directly to the citizen, and is excepted out of the general powers of government.’ A law cannot be passed to infringe upon or impair it, because it is above the law, and independent of the lawmaking power.” [Cockrum vs. State, 24 Tex.394, at (1859)]

Other quotes on the subject of bearing arms from American history

“The whole of the Bill (of Rights) is a declaration of the right of the people at large or considered as individuals…. It establishes some rights of the individual as unalienable and which consequently, no majority has a right to deprive them of.” (Albert Gallatin of the New York Historical Society, October 7, 1789)

“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.)

“…the people are confirmed by the next article in their right to¬† keep and bear their private arms” (from article in the Philadelphia¬† Federal Gazette June 18, 1789 at 2, col.2,)

“The importance of this article will scarcely be doubted by any persons, who have duly reflected upon the subject. The militia is the natural defence of a free country against sudden foreign invasions, domestic insurrections, and domestic usurpations of power by rulers. It is against sound policy for a free people to keep up large military establishments and standing armies in time of peace, both from the enormous expenses, with which they are attended, and the facile means, which they afford to ambitious and unprincipled rulers, to subvert the government, or trample upon the rights of the people. The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them. And yet, though this truth would seem so clear, and the importance of a well regulated militia would seem so undeniable, it cannot be disguised, that among the American people there is a growing indifference to any system of militia discipline, and a strong disposition, from a sense of its burdens, to be rid of all regulations. How it is practicable to keep the people duly armed without some organization, it is difficult to see. There is certainly no small danger, that indifference may lead to disgust, and disgust to contempt; and thus gradually undermine all the protection intended by this clause of our national bill of rights.” (Joseph Story, Supreme Court Justice and U.S. House Representative from Massachusetts. Commentaries on the¬† Constitution of the United States; With a Preliminary Review of the Constitutional History of the Colonies and States before the Adoption of the Constitution [Boston, 1833])

“The tank, the B-52, the fighter-bomber, the state-controlled police and military¬† are the weapons of dictatorship. The rifle is the weapon of democracy. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only¬† the police, the secret police, the military. The hired servants of our rulers. Only the government-and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws.” (Edward¬† Abbey, “The Right to Arms,” Abbey’s Road [New York, 1979])

Quotes from international figures

“Those, who have the command of the arms in a country are masters of the state, and have it in their power to make what revolutions they please. [Thus,] there is no end to observations on the difference between the measures likely to be pursued by a minister backed by a standing army, and those of a court awed¬† by the fear of an armed people.” (Aristotle, as quoted by John Trenchard and Water Moyle, An Argument Shewing, That a Standing Army Is Inconsistent with a Free Government, and Absolutely Destructive to the Constitution of the English Monarchy [London, 1697])

“No kingdom can be secured otherwise than by arming the people.¬† The possession¬† of arms is the distinction between a freeman and a slave.¬† He, who has nothing, and who himself belongs to another, must be defended by him, whose property he is, and needs no arms. But he, who thinks he is his own master, and has what he can call his own, ought to have arms to defend himself, and what he possesses; else he lives precariously, and at discretion.” (James Burgh, Political Disquisitions: Or, an Enquiry into Public Errors,¬† Defects, and Abuses [London, 1774-1775])

“The difficulty here has been to persuade the citizens to keep arms, not¬† to prevent them from being employed for violent purposes.” (Timothy Dwight,¬† Travels in New-England)

“To trust arms in the hands of the people at large has, in Europe, been believed…to be an experiment fraught only with danger. Here by a long trial it has been proved to be perfectly harmless…If the government be¬† equitable; if it be reasonable in its exactions; if proper attention be paid to the¬† education of children in knowledge and religion, few men will be disposed to use arms, unless for their amusement, and for the defense of themselves and their country.” (Timothy Dwight, Travels in New England and New York [London 1823]

“You are bound to meet misfortune if you are unarmed because, among other reasons, people despise you….There is simply no comparison between a man who is armed and one who is not. It is unreasonable to expect that an armed man should obey one who is unarmed, or that an unarmed man should remain safe and secure when his servants are armed. In the latter case, there will be¬† suspicion on the one hand and contempt on the other, making cooperation impossible.” (Niccolo Machiavelli in “The Prince”)

“You must understand, therefore, that there are two ways of fighting: by law or by force. The first way is natural to men, and the second to beasts. But as the first way often proves inadequate one must needs have recourse to the second.” (Niccolo Machiavelli in “The Prince”)

Thomas Jefferson “Tree of Liberty” quote:

“I do not know whether it is to yourself or Mr. Adams I am to give my thanks for the copy of the new constitution. I beg leave through you to place them where due. It will be yet three weeks before I shall receive them from America. There are very good articles in it: and very bad. I do not know which preponderate. What we have lately read in the history of Holland, in the chapter on the Stadtholder, would have sufficed to set me against a Chief magistrate eligible for a long duration, if I had ever been disposed towards one: and what we have always read of the elections of Polish kings should have forever excluded the idea of one continuable for life. Wonderful is the effect of impudent and persevering lying. The British ministry have so long hired their gazetteers to repeat and model into every form lies about our being in anarchy, that the world has at length believed them, the English nation has believed them, the ministers themselves have come to believe them, and what is more wonderful, we have believed them ourselves. Yet where does this anarchy exist? Where did it ever exist, except in the single instance of Massachusets? And can history produce an instance of a rebellion so honourably conducted? I say nothing of it’s motives. They were founded in ignorance, not wickedness. God forbid we should ever be 20 years without such a rebellion. The people can not be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions it is a lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. We have had 13. states independant 11. years. There has been one rebellion. That comes to one rebellion in a century and a half for each state. What country ever existed a century and a half without a rebellion? And what country can preserve it’s liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it’s natural manure. Our Convention has been too much impressed by the insurrection of Massachusets: and in the spur of the moment they are setting up a kite to keep the hen yard in order. I hope in god this article will be rectified before the new constitution is accepted.” – Thomas Jefferson to William Stephens Smith, Paris, 13 Nov. 178

Other posts that may be of interest:
The Wisdom of Founder John Adams Part 2: Novanglus Papers
The Failure of Marxism and Socialism
The Doctrine of Fascism, Fascism Defined by Benito Mussolini
Christianity and the Founding of the United States
Non-Revisionist Politically Incorrect History of America from the Ancient Authors Part 1
Non-Revisionist Politically Incorrect History of the World With Biblical References Part 1

“Societies exist under three forms sufficiently distinguishable. 1. Without government, as among our Indians. 2. Under governments wherein the will of every one has a just influence, as is the case in England in a slight degree, and in our states in a great one. 3. Under governments of force: as is the case in all other monarchies and in most of the other republics. To have an idea of the curse of existence under these last, they must be seen. It is a government of wolves over sheep. It is a problem, not clear in my mind, that the 1st. condition is not the best. But I believe it to be inconsistent with any great degree of population. The second state has a great deal of good in it. The mass of mankind under that enjoys a precious degree of liberty and happiness. It has it‚Äôs evils too: the principal of which is the turbulence to which it is subject. But weigh this against the oppressions of monarchy, and it becomes nothing. Malo periculosam, libertatem quam quietam servitutem (Translation: I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery) Even this evil is productive of good. It prevents the degeneracy of government, and nourishes a general attention to the public affairs. I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical. Unsuccesful rebellions indeed generally establish the incroachments on the rights of the people which have produced them. An observation of this truth should render honest republican governors so mild in their punishment of rebellions, as not to discourage them too much. It is a medecine necessary for the sound health of government.” (Thomas Jefferson letter to James Madison, Paris, January 30, 1787)

“Many free countries have lost their liberty, and ours may lose hers; but if she shall, be it my proudest plume, not that I was the last to desert, but that I never deserted her.

I know that the great volcano at Washington, aroused and directed by the evil spirit that reigns there, is belching forth the lava of political corruption in a current broad and deep, which is sweeping with frightful velocity over the whole length and breadth of the land, bidding fair to leave unscathed no green spot or living thing; while on its bosom are riding, like demons on the waves of hell, the imps of that evil spirit, and fiendishly taunting all those who dare resist its destroying course with the hopelessness of their effort; and, knowing this, I cannot deny that all may be swept away. Broken by it I, too, may be; bow to it I never will.

The probability that we may fall in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just; it shall not deter me. If ever I feel the soul within me elevate and expand to those dimensions not wholly unworthy of its almighty Architect, it is when I contemplate the cause of my country deserted by all the world beside, and I standing up boldly and alone, and hurling defiance at her victorious oppressors.

Here, without contemplating consequences, before high heaven and in the face of the world, I swear eternal fidelity to the just cause, as I deem it, of the land of my life, my liberty, and my love.

And who that thinks with me will not fearlessly adopt the oath that I take?

Let none falter who thinks he is right, and we may succeed. But if, after all, we shall fail, be it so. We still shall have the proud consolation of saying to our consciences, and to the departed shade of our country’s freedom, that the cause approved of our judgment, and adored of our hearts, in disaster, in chains, in torture, in death, we never faltered in defending.” (From The Entire Writings of Lincoln by Abraham Lincoln)