"The highest number to which a standing army can be carried
in any country does not exceed one hundredth part of the souls,
or one twenty-fifth part of the number able to bear arms.
This portion would not yield, in the United States,
an army of more than twenty-five or thirty thousand men.
To these would be opposed a militia amounting to near
half a million citizens with arms in their hands,
officered by men chosen from among themselves,
fighting for their common liberties and united and conducted
by governments possessing their affections and confidence.
It may well be doubted whether a militia thus circumstanced
could ever be conquered by such a proportion of regular troops. ...
Besides the advantage of being armed, ...
the existence of subordinate governments ... forms a barrier
against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable
than any which a simple government of any form can admit of. ...
[The governments of Europe] are afraid to trust the people with arms. ...
Let us not insult the free and gallant citizens of America
with the suspicion that they would be less able to defend
the rights of which they would be in actual possession than
the debased subjects of arbitrary power would be to rescue
theirs from the hands of their oppressors."
by:
James Madison
(1751-1836), Father of the Constitution for the USA, 4th US President
Date:
1788
Source:
The Federalist Papers, No. 46
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Reader comments about this quote:
That pretty much settles the issue. With a religious fervor, the socialists and fascists are re-defining the once finite (non-living) Constitution to destroy the peace, the liberty, and the nobility of life that was once understood and promoted.
 -- Mike, Norwalk     
  •  
    Amen Mike! The Constitution lives throught the Amendment process, but it is so much easy for the socialists to get their way in court. And we let the dictators in black robes sit. What does it say about what it takes for evil to flourish..
     -- helorat, Milton, FL     
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    All's quiet on the liberal front -- kind of hard to argue with a plain explanation of the purpose of state militias and the citizen's right to be armed. I doubt this is studied much in school today.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    Can you please state the exact location of this quote? It mirrors Federalist Paper #46 but with altered text after the phrase "proportion of regular troops" A citation would be appreciated.
     -- Aydan Crandall, Barre, VT     
  •  
    Thanks, Aydan, for your research. The quote was indeed from The Federalist Paper No. 46 but was paraphrased a bit after the phrase "proportion of regular troops." We have updated the quote with actual text from the Federalist Paper No. 46, published sometime in early 1788.
     -- Editor, Liberty Quotes     
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