“[W]hen the resolution of enslaving America was formed in Great Britain,
the British Parliament was advised by an artful man,
who was governor of Pennsylvania, to disarm the people;
that it was the best and most effectual way to enslave them;
but that they should not do it openly, but weaken them, and
let them sink gradually, by totally disusing and neglecting the militia.”
by:
George Mason
(1725-1792), drafted the Virgina Declaration of Rights, ally of James Madison and George Washington
Source:
from debates during the Virginia state ratifying convention (June 14, 1788), quoted in Elliot’s Debates
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I don't exactly know how to rate this. Thumbs down for the continuing precept perpetrated upon a people that would be free or, five stars for the accuracy that exposes such an ongoing truth. Its been many years since I had to research in depth the 2nd Amendment. I've always been amazed at how much information has been hidden or lost and how the meaning of words have been changed (intentionally or otherwise). The military term for arms was regulation so, when the focus of the 2nd Amendment was military - armed forces, the appropriate term was used, when the non-military or private sector was the focus, the appropriate term was used there. Those writing and ratifying the Constitution had more than a decade to analyze past issues. Though the militia's ill training hindered certain field strategies, it was the lack of fire power that was of the greatest concern. The relationship with Great Briton continued dubious at best. As the quote so apply exposes, one of the most effective ways of neglecting the militia was by stealthfully disarming the people.
 -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Thumbs down to the sentiment of the quote and the governor of Pennsylvania. Thumbs up to Mason for exposing one of the methods used to enslave the people of a nation. Now how anyone can think that the right to bear arms has nothing to do with protecting oneself from corrupt and power seeking government is beyond me.
     -- Dan     
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    Think for a minute Dan. Under law, the Constitution, there is no provision that allows one to attack the governmnet by force. That is what the Constitution is a body of law. People who operate within a body of law talk things out and sue etcetera. We do have a right to self-defense but not a right to initiate an attack against anyone or any organization, city, state, or federal government. If you do attack government and manage to win then you have overturned The Constitution and will be in a position to write a new one You will have successfully committed treason against the old and be in a position to start anew. The colonies attack upon the Crown (England) was not legal or allowed under law but was justified by the Colonists under some higher law, God, or natural right to freedom. If a person or group wishes to attack the government it will find no justification or right to do so in the Constitution but must look to some higher authority. John Brown did so, but he lost and was hung as a traitor. Because we do not have this right, under our Constitution, it stands to reason, it seems to me, that , society, government would not permit citizens to arm themselves to the extent that they could act outside of the law to overthrow it,. So while I might agree with you for feeling at times frustrated or with wanting like others to take the law into our own hands I do not agree that you will find any support in the Cosntitution to do so. You might find support in The Delaration for it declares "When in th course of human events" etc. and thus authorizes rebellion based on a higher authority. The Delaration gave us rebellion and independence. The Constitution purports to have given us unity and domestic tranquility. If you want to attack the government, The Constitution, you must make a new Declaration of Independence from it. Good luck!
     -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
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    Waff, where do you come up with this idea that anyone is planning to "attack the government by force". Dan is saying that an armed populace can protect itself against a corrupt and power seeking government, As to your last line, the "government" is not the "Constitution", as you seem to suggest.
     -- jim k, austin     
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    And when the government is no longer following the Constitution? And they are the courts? Read Judge Napolitano's Constitutional Chaos: What Happens When the Government Breaks its Own Laws.
     -- Chris, NC     
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    The Constitution is not a binding document or contract between the people and the government, I suggest you to read Rights of Man by Thomas Paine. The Constitution is a document listing exactly what the federal government can and cannot do -- not what the people can do. The people have stated exactly what they agree to what extent their government may work and operate. To say that the Constitution is a contract is to say that the government is a party that exists and operates outside the will of the people. This would most assuredly destroy any "rule of the people". The government gains power in two ways: voice of the people or usurpation and tyranny. If the government moves, acts, and operates in any manner not specifically designated by the Constitution, then it acts in usurpation and tyranny (per the founding fathers who actually wrote the document).
     -- Logan, Memphis, TN     
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    Waffler, nothing you have written is true but, it explains your comments. First and foremost, the Constitution was never intended to limit or define what We The People could do or not do. The Constitution was the people's construction of and, limitation on government. Your entire premise is defined completely false by the 9th and 10 Amendments. The Constitution is not law to us, We The People but, it makes provision whereby we can make codes, rules, statutes in accordance with law. The current governments, as exist, have almost nothing to do with the Constitution, law, or an entity that would represent We The People. If We The People resorted to a violent overthrow of the current de facto regime, it would be by way of justice, that the Constitution may be re-established. The Constitution does not purport to give anything. We The People voluntarily united to ensure domestic tranquility to ourselves and our prosperity. When government evinces a design to reduce We The People under absolute Despotism (as is now, almost entirely the case), it is We The People's right, it is our duty, to throw off such Government. That is what the Constitution was based on. Waffler I ask, what would be treasonous about throwing off an usurpation by an unlawful despot to re-establish the Constitution with a corresponding representative republic (since it does not now exist)? You've repeatedly said that We The People gave up our sovereignty to the intangible ethos. If that be the case, we are no longer the government. Either we are sovereigns and the government, or we are not. Each of We The People are absolute sovereigns, while the criminal acts of usurpation by the alien ethos perfects its absolute despotism, giving right and duty to re-establish freedom and liberty through a representative republic and its constitution.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    What part of the word 'defense' do people not understand? BTW, Waffler, the colonists did not 'attack' the British -- their actions were purely defensive. Occasionally do officers of the law overstep their bounds? Have we given up defending ourselves against rogue government by simply disarming ourselves (in so many ways) and trust the commercial courts? Have you got a million dollars on you? You can't make a Constitutional argument with anything less. When the parties of the Constitution violate their oaths, violate the rules, and attempt to pervert their authority into despotism, then all bets are off. That is why the issue of sovereignty is important to acknowledge -- it means instead of trying to recover power taken by a federal government, we have the right to withdraw entirely, and the politicians and their legions have to stay in Washington, D.C.. If we had kept up the intent of the Founders and maintained well-regulated state militias, it would serve as a better check against the federal government's armies. The state militias were considered to be so voluminous, that no standing army could ever match their numbers. Now it is turned around, just as Mason had warned.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    Jim my friend The Constitution establishes three brancehs of government etcetera. What exactly do you think the constitution is? (Excuse my construction.) The constitution is all about how soceity, the colonies shall arrange and govern themselves. The Constitution is the government. Jim is it not true as Dan stated above that many believe that guns and the militia is for protecting people from government. Okay in his opinion just from corrupt and power seeking government but that is a value judgement on the indiviuals part. Government has always been corrupt and power seeking according to many. The Constitution is the law of the land, it is how we do busniness. It can be amended. As you probably know Jim if you initiate an unprovcated attack and punch some one in the mouth you very well could go to jail. So under what logic can you attach with guns or otherwise anyone. You confuse Jim what is the difference in your phrase "attack the government by force" and Dan's "protect itself from a corrupt and power seeking governmemt". You are saying that you may attack government by force if you believe that it is corrupt and power seeking. The terrorists believe that now and have already attacked. You may believe it tomorrow and then attack. Why are not the gun owners who beleive in this right to attack just another fifth column movement like the terrorist around us. Logan the Constitution appoints the Federal Government in the person of the President as Commander In Chief of all military forces including the unorganized militia to which all males between the age of 17 and 45 belong. That sounds like a contract to me. I am sure many young men do not even know that they are in the unorganized militia.
     -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
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    There's that word again, militia... an ORGANIZED group not a mob of individuals and common thugs...
     -- Anonymous, Reston, VA US     
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    You guys who believe in a right to attack the government for cause are just a bunch of wind bag weasels anyway. The government has been corrupt enough long enough that if your arguments had any real legs they should have been acted upon long ago. Come on and bring it on and we can see the lot of y'all annihalted and we would could put an end to this stupidity once and for all. I repeat y'all are just airbag weasels.
     -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
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     -- warren, olathe      
    So basically, what Waffler is saying is he admits and supports the corruption of the government AND he stands with them. 'You think you can beat us? Bring it on, we will annihilate you.' Now we see the real Waffler. Yep. We knew it was there, and that indeed he has succumbed to being a privileged house slave -- and wants the rest of us to bow, too. There is not a founding father who would agree with him. He no doubt would have retreated to England once the Revolution were under way. Understand this: the only revolution I am promoting is a revolution of the mind -- a return to the founding principles of the free and sovereign states, united in the respect of inalienable rights of man. In essense, I call for non-compliance with unlawful acts -- the tyrants will have to try and make us submit -- and when and if they do, we will make our stand in whatever form it may take. I do not call for an 'attack on government' -- I assert that WE are being attacked and that we must stand up for ourselves by saying "NO MORE!" and refuse to comply with arbitrary power. It is up to the government whether they will use violence to make us submit -- and if they do, we have the right to respond in kind. The "War on the People" needs to be acknowledged. Therefore I stand behind all those who choose to keep weapons as their final defense against tyranny.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    Waffler, get off this idea that I or anyone else plan to attack the government by force. Where in heavens name did you get a preposterous idea like that? Assuming you can read, check out what Thomas Jefferson thought about government, any government. He was scared of government knowing that it always becomes despotic and enslaves the citizens through confiscatory taxation, as well as other means. George Washington said that "government is like fire, a dangerous servant and a fearful master'. I'll go with Jefferson and Washington, two pretty smart guys.
     -- jim k, austin     
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    jim, (-; Tory - the house slave, traveling incognito under the alias 'Waffller' sits around in a socialist think tank making up what the right wing conspirators are saying and thinking. He doesn't realize those desiring a representative republic defined by the Constitution do not fit under anything he and his buddies have come up with. Most of the time, even the right wing conspirators don't know what he's alluding to. No one on this blog, that I've noticed, has said they are planning to attack, so Waffler's world is left with its only option 'keep on spinning'. ;-)
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    The Constitution, OUR Constitution, is much more than a simple frame work for the Government, it is THE supreme law of the land; it is what our society is based on, and it applies to all of us. Whether a butcher, baker, candle stick maker or congressman in this country, you fall under the umbrella of the constitution. The idea that it is 'us' vs. the government, or the government vs. 'them', can only be formed in a mind that doesn't appreciate what the founding fathers set to establish over 200 years ago. We can't think of the government as superior to us in someway, because WE are the government. The constitution is a document that lists the limits of how WE are to govern OUR SELVES; "of the people by the people." If there are abuses in the government, WE are to blame. Because we live in a democratic republic (majority rule) we needed a way to prevent the majority from tyrannically ruling over the minority, hence the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights establishes the things that the government (the majority of us) cannot take away from the citizens (individuals) of this united nation. The second amendment WAS written with the understanding that a free society must be protected by an armed liberty-loving populace; to protect us both from foreign and domestic threats to our liberty. This is clear when you study the writings of the founding fathers. There should be no doubt why the founders wrote the second amendment. In 1787 Noah Webster said, "Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed... 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 raised in the United States' Congress, can execute no laws, but such as the people perceive to be just and constitutional; for they will possess the power "to resist the execution of a law which appears to them unjust and oppressive." If an individual or group serving in the government attempts to operate outside the confines of the constitution, they are not obeying the law of the land. If for some reason the citizens of this country are unable to correct this misuse of authority, and all peaceable alternatives provided in the constitution to rectify the issue are exhausted, then the citizens are left with no alternative but to take arms to re-establish the delicate balance of our free society. In this country, defense of the constitution (whether by force or peaceably) would not be revolution or insurrection, it would be defending the established law of this land. George Mason's quote (of a quote) is a perfect example of the fears the founders had of allowing the citizens of this country to be disarmed.
     -- TravelingSponge, USA     
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    Well said, Traveling Sponge.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    Good stuff Mr Sponge. Jim wake up my man, wake up, What does the phrase "protecting oneself against corrupt power seeking government" mean to you? At least Mr. Sponge believes in talking. Who decides what is corrupt and power seeking. South Carolina made such a decision, John Brown made such a decision. Muslim radicals in the quise of Al Qaeda made such a decision. While I disagee with all of them except maybe Mr. Brown, I can at least have respect for them. They were not all mouth and no action. I still say you guys are all mouth and no actions. Windbag weasels. I support a well organized militia. I don't support private armies with private agendas. I support civil disobedience and voting and discussion to effect public policy. I do not support jealousy of the soldier ala Archer who thinks any citizen should be able to have any and all weapons that a soldier may have. Even all soldiers do not have access to all weapons. Government and corporations have been sufficiently corrupt and power seeking long enough that those who believe force of arms is the appropriate solution they should have used them long ago. Other than the examples I cited above I submit that you do not really believe your own words. Thus you are WINDBAG WEASEALS thinking you are scaring people with guns and concealed weapons.
     -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
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    George Washington stated that, the government that we gave you, has the purpose of serving the people. If at anytime that government ceases in that service, the people have the right, no I say duty, to raise up and remove that government. This is a paraphrase, but I think the point is well taken, and it wraps it up (peoples rights) to me.
     -- Ken, Milford Pa     
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    TravelingSponge, loved your conclusion but it was based on several false premises and assumptions. OUR Constitution is only figuratively the law of the land, it is not literally the law of the land. The difference is what enslaves We The People. The difference demonstrates that the despots have been successful in eliminating the Founder's understanding of law while dumbing down America sufficiently to not understand what freedom and liberty are. Man can not make law, it existed long before man's existence on this planet and it will exist long after we're gone. Though the Constitution applies to all of us, it is not what our society is based on. Our society is based on law, justice, Bible and other histories, and Judaism's / Christian's principled perceptions of love and mercy. The Constitution is not law to us, We The People but, it makes provision whereby we can make codes, rules, statutes, etc. in accordance with The God of Nature's laws. The idea that it is 'us' vs. the government, or the government vs. 'them', can only be formed in a mind that appreciates what the founding fathers set to establish over 200 years ago. The government will no longer allow Constitutional arguments or voting referendums against license, fiat money, and/or other inalienable rights issues. There is no more legal remedy to re-establish inalienable rights on many issues, it is becoming more and more us vs. them. The ignorant masses have embraced societal slavery and rejected the representative republic's Constitution. The founders through the constitution rejected majority rule for a government of God of Nature's laws. Again, man can not make law, only pass codes, rules, regulations, statutes, etc in harmony with law to promote freedom and liberty or, antagonistic to law (by majority or otherwise) to promote despotism and tyranny. Your reason for the Bill Of Rights is somewhat accurate but, way to simplistic. I, you, We The People are sovereign and free, no matter what the majority or other despots say or do to infringe on faculty of birth inalienable rights. BUT, We The People, by totally disusing and neglecting the militia, have allowed a most despotic de facto alien ethos to claim inherent rights superior to the individual.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    The quote is an early example of the fact...we need to be ever vigilant for the "enemy within". In today's world that would include pretty much the entire District of Criminals.
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
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    This is ridiculous, why are we arguing what Constitutions are? Anyone can read Paine's "Rights of Man" in the section "Of Constitutions" to get a good foundational answer to what a Constitution is (http://www.ushistory.org/paine/rights/c2-04.htm). It appears Paine had just a difficult a time as we are having with his own foreign contemporaries who defined in different ways: "That men mean distinct and separate things when they speak of constitutions and of governments, is evident; or why are those terms distinctly and separately used? A constitution is not the act of a government, but of a people constituting a government; and government without a constitution, is power without a right." Paine explained the obvious historical fact, that each state operated independently of each other as separate entities (each being sovereign states) in creating the Constitution and forming a Federalism that was to deal with the aspects of the federalism as a whole and of matters between the states (nothing more, nothing less). The Constitution of the United States is a law to the government, because it is the operational document wherein the people exactly express what the federalist government can and cannot do (as per Paine's use of explaining Pennsylvania's Constitution). As such, "Government is not a trade which any man, or any body of men, has a right to set up and exercise for his own emolument, but is altogether a trust, in right of those by whom that trust is delegated, and by whom it is always resumeable. It has of itself no rights; they are altogether duties." All authorities given to the government are DELEGATED (as per Lockian philosophy), not ABDICATED. "A constitution is the property of a nation, and not of those who exercise the government. All the constitutions of America are declared to be established on the authority of the people..." Speaking of the historical application that governments had taken in the past Paine further explained that, "...the nation, through its constitution, controls the whole government, and has a natural ability to do so. The final controlling power, therefore, and the original constituting power, are one and the same power." The Constitution is not the binding document and "law of the land" to the people, but to the government, wherein the government can only define law, statute, regulation, etc., within the parameters as set forth by the people within the Constitution. Governments, in order to be legitimate, must have a time wherein they were given power: "All power exercised over a nation, must have some beginning. It must either be delegated or assumed. There are no other sources. All delegated power is trust, and all assumed power is usurpation. Time does not alter the nature and quality of either." Our government is supposed to operate on the premise of delegated authority to act in its DUTY, because government retains NO RIGHTS (I repeat the quote): "Government is not a trade which any man, or any body of men, has a right to set up and exercise for his own emolument, but is altogether a trust, in right of those by whom that trust is delegated, and by whom it is always resumeable. It has of itself no rights; they are altogether duties." If the government has no rights, where does it get its list of duties? From the people! Can the people delegate an authority wherein they do not retain the right within the individual? NO! If I, as an individual, have no authority to exact something or prohibit my peaceful neighbor in acting within his inalienable rights, how do I have the right to DELEGATE such an authority to my representative to act in my stead? If my rights have not been violated, how can I violate my neighbors inalienable rights and by telling my representative to act in my stead? I cannot! If there are two men who have no individual right to infringe upon the rights of one other person, how many would it take in the majority to finally deprive the individual of acting within his inalienable rights? Five men, or a thousand, or ten-thousand, or one-million, or one-hundred-million? At what arbitrary number does the masses assume a right that is not inherent in any one of them individually? IT IS IMPOSSIBLE unless the masses ASSUMES a power (Usurpation and Tyranny). As Paine said, governments either get their power through the people (individuals) or from usurpation. Usurpation has several faces and can happen in monarchies, aristocracies, or Democracies. No-where in the Constitution does the people allow the government to restrict the rights of the people to keep implements and tools of self-protection (in any form); and by virtue of the 9th and 10th Amendment, whatever duty is not specifically delegated to the government is retained by right of the people. My right to protect myself by whatever means is an inalienable right, and any "law" or "mandate" imposed by the majority would be usurpation and against Constitutional government.
     -- Logan, Memphis, TN     
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