"Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached, and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of. 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. And it is not certain, that with this aid alone they would not be able to shake off their yokes. But were the people to possess 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."
by:
James Madison
(1751-1836), Father of the Constitution for the USA, 4th US President
Source:
Federalist #46, January 29, 1788
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Historically proven very sound!
 -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Clear indication that the founding fathers viewed "the militia" not as individuals run amuck, but rather as organized forces that are formally lead by leaders appointed by the "subordinate governments"... gun control, spoken of and supported by our founders.
     -- Anonymous, Reston, VA US     
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    Excellent Reston - but tell me, who are this Militia and do they exist? Would they rally in time (and how would they rally) to mount an effective campaign against a tyrannical government that had Generals who would be ordered to kill any Militia - can someone tell me how this would work when the threat of our democracy/Republic is threatened by a government turned despot. Or, as Reston rightly pointed out, do we run amuck doing our best to protect our independence? Who are these organized forces that are formally lead by leaders appointed by the "subordinate governments"... and where do they exist. We have some really intelligent folk on this Blog and I have wanted to ask this question for a long time.
     -- RobertSRQ     
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    Robert I believe it is the National Guard. The Governor of each state is the commander in chief of his states National Guard. But as we know the Governor of a subordinate state (as opposed to "soverign") can be replaced as the Commander In Chief by the action of the Federales who can "nationalize" the national guard. Words kind of confuse the issue but I think this is substantialy correct. In no event is the National Guard militia or any component of armed society authorized to attach any element of government. Under the law the way to attack government is at the ballot box. I think Madison was a little confusing here I only give him a 1.
     -- Bruce     
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    Reston, you are pathetic. I would have expected a better argument from you. The fact is that at the most local level, the people (as opposed to the governed) can organize themselves into small units of friends and neighbors for their collective defense. These small units arm themselves (as opposed to the local government armng them) and then place themselves at the command of the local level of government. In turn, local governments issue orders to their militias to assemble under the command of a higher level government, and so on, up to the level of the state or province. These forces are in addition to the Organized National Guard. The Army Reserve does not fall into this type of organization as they are at all times under the direct command of the Federal Government, which may or may not be friendly. This is the genius of our system, that the People have the capability to spontaneously arm and organize. It is this ability that keeps tyranny at bay. Especially including tyranny that would attempt to disarm the Militia.
     -- Eric Engstrom, Wichita, KS     
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    From my understanding, the militia is made up of organized and unorganized regiments within each state. The National Guard has indeed replaced the organized state militias, but like most limitations set forth in the Constitution, again the system of checks and balances has become corrupted for if the state militias are to serve as a safeguard against Executive aggrandizement, then they must not be compelled to follow the orders of the President. Secondly, the President could only call out the militias once Congress made a declaration of war and thus authorized the Commander-in-Chief to command those voluntary regiments. And thirdly, so that we would always be ready and prepared for war, the People did not just have the right to bear arms (i.e. every deadly implement available to the soldier) but encouraged to hold them and be trained in their use at government expense. The founders certainly did not intend that state militias be sent overseas in pre-emptive non-declared 'wars' while foreign troops (i.e. UN forces) are stationed in the several States to maintain order should the American people protest too much.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    The Founding Fathers were so much wiser than our national idiots are today!
     -- dragonswizardz     
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    Nice job Bruce.
     -- Sam, Alabama     
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    Bruce and Archer, thanks for the explanation. Just a couple more points. Aren't all States really subordinate to the Federal Government with regard to any militia or armed force? In which case the National Guard would be just another arm of the government. In essence there is no militia that represents the people other than the arm forces of the government. Trying to rally a militia of concerned citizens who have weapons would be a daunting task, one which would be chaotic to say the least. So to end my discourse, Americans have no militia to protect them from a tyrannical government other than a few brave men with their rifles and 9mm hand guns against the strongest arm force in the world?
     -- RobertSRQ     
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    Archer there is no check or balance against Executive Aggrandizement except the ballot box, impeachment and congressional, and court meddling to stop him. We are a nation of law. No armed group has any right to confront any duly elected government of the people. If a duly credentialed police officer orders you to stop you had bette stop. If he harms you you have a right to redress in court. Again the American people to do not have a right to bear arms against their government. John Brown tried and heaven knows that maybe he was right under heaven but he was not right under the law.
     -- Bruce     
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    Archer to even think of bearing arms against government that is "of, by and for the people" is treasonous against that government and those people.
     -- Bruce     
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    Robert, the individual Republics (States) have the right to refuse their State's Guards and militia to the States United Government. New Hampshire during the Spanish American war is probably the most blatant example. There have been others. Bruce, if you can find a government that is of, by, and for the people, let me know (you gave it a good ole neo-con try though). The current unconstitutional democracy we suffer under does not qualify under that definition. In a democracy, one man has one vote, and he votes for an individual to represent the state. That collectivist state is then an aloof entity from the voting people, able to, as a god - create law, compel compliance, issue license, own the labors of the slave voters, etc. In a republic, the voters choose those that will insure 'We The People's' individual rights as are set certain by Nature's God (or understood as a faculty of birth).
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Mike you and Archer are idiots. I will defend the right of idiots as well as anyone else to speak their minds. But the minute I hear of you actually endeavoring to take physical force alone or with others against any government entity within these United States be it in Norwalk, or Connecticut I assume (is where you live) or the USA I will immediately report you to any and all competent authority I can summons. You are right in your seeming confusion about the term states/republic. The constitution declares that the United States will guarantee a republic (democracy) form of government to the states. So again if I hear of you taking up arms against your states republican (democratic) government I will turn your butt in so fast you won't know what happened. I will research your statement about the national guard.
     -- Bruce, 'Bama     
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    Bruce, LOL, I think I like you, but considering the source I'll take your comment as a complimet. OH, and by the way, I'll make sure you're the first notified when I take up arms ;-). AND, I'm with you, I will defend each person to speak his/her mind without violence. I know it let's a little air out of your balloon but I still think there is time to turn things around in the courts, legislation, through education, etc. Only when the government turns on it's citizenry with deadly force is it time to pull out the guns.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Bruce, since you started with the name calling and make serious personal threats, I will no longer engage you in your ignorant and truly brainwashed mind. I have the absolute right to have weapons and to use them in defense of my rights. You have no respect for the Constitution and your arguments are adolescent at best. Go ahead and report me -- and be ready to be counter-charged. You are no friend to freedom, and indeed a fool.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
  •  
    Thanks everyone for sharing your points of view - let's cool it on the name calling - I'm off to NYC see you next week. My last thought on the subject: These small units of friends and neighbors armed with rifles and hand guns would be isolated except for joining other small units and combining their strength. These units would NOT have a local government to provided orders and process – in other words America would be overrun with unorganized units not knowing who are government forces or true friends and neighbor militias/units (The Feds would catch onto that in a flash) – the chain of command would be so fragmented without leadership or knowledge of any strategic plan. Do you think the strongest armed forces in the world would be sitting around doing nothing while all these units are trying to gather themselves into an effective militia. Furthermore, if it got to the point of an armed uprising there would be no command at a local government level or higher level. In the end America would be just another Somalia and not 1776. There is only one exception and that’s called strategy, strategy that needs to be in place well in advance of any tyranny.
     -- RobertSRQ     
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    Apologies to one and all for categorizing anyones knowledge in an insulting manner but we all of course are ignorant about different things and at different times. Robert and all interested if you would like the laws and history of militias (which is now the National Guard) go to Wikipedia. You will find that the NG is a 100% US Government operation and has become even more so since Sen Warner's 2007 bill. States cannot refuse deployments of the NG for any reason.
     -- Bruce, 'Bama-Roll Tide     
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    A republican form of government is not a democracy -- stop warping the truth, Bruce.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    The founding fathers saw a militia as made of willing volunteers caring their own guns to the aid of the country when duty called. During the revolutionary war they were called minute men. Having an armed populace makes this type of emergency defense possible. Since there should be no need for the government of a free people to fear the people there could be no reason for disarming the populace. If the governed cannot be trusted not to threaten there neighbor with his gun then they have already thrown away their freedom on their own and no longer are worthy of freedom in general. Our form of government is only functional when the populace is moral and just. We love to complain about our government but we are the problem not the government. We allow a leftist/socialist/fascist press to tell us what to think and therefore decide who is elected for us. Good men don't step up because of what the press will do to them. When a few good men do get into office the press sooner or later figure it out and with the help of the Democrats in congress slander and harass them till they are gone. We don't have long left if we don't start to open our eyes. One ore two more elections going the way the mass media want and we will have legislation sending us down that slippery slope to no freedom of speech that contradicts what they say. It will no longer be "politically incorrect" it will be illegal.
     -- warren, olathe     
  •  
     -- Clover, Pheonix      
     -- Szigeti J■zsef      
    Bruce: How could "the militia" be the National Guard, when the NG didn't come into existence until long after Madison wrote? "Who are the Militia? They consist now of the whole people, except for a few public officers." George Mason "I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people, except for a few public officials." George Mason
     -- Alan, Lexington, VA     
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