"Are we at last brought to such a humiliating and debasing
degradation, that we cannot be trusted with arms for our own
defence? Where is the difference between having our arms in our
own possession and under our own direction, and having them under
the management of Congress? If our defence 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?"
by:
Patrick Henry
(1736-1799) US Founding Father
Source:
June 9, 1788, in the Virginia Convention on the ratification of the Constitution,
in_Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution,_
Jonathan Elliot, ed., v.3 p.168 (Philadelphia, 1836)
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Reader comments about this quote:
This is foolish - there is definitely a need to read history books on the subject. If there is a need to use guns against the government then would the last person please switch out the light - really...
 -- Robert, Sarasota     
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    Remember, they were talking about muzzle loaders (e.g. hunting riffles/shotguns, etc) not about cannons (e.g. bazookas, machine guns, rocket launchers, etc)...
     -- Anonymous, Reston, VA US     
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    The 2nd Amendment was not put there for crime. It was put there so people could match the fire power of any tyrannical government. Patrick Henry's comments convey this critical point.
     -- Peter, Detroit     
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    Robert and Anonymous do not appear to have the least idea why the Second Amendment was insisted upon. Government CANNOT be trusted therefore the people MUST have the inalienable Right to Keep and Bear Arms. I wonder just how both of the above non-enlightened persons would handle an oppressive government; about what we have today! My answer to both of them is, "Stay out of my line of fire!"
     -- d daxx, novi, michigan     
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    Simply put, the Bill of Rights was amended to the Constitution to specifically reserve certain rights of the People -- like the right to speak and think for oneself and to defend oneself from the government when necessary. The state militias were to be more powerful than any federal army. The 2nd Amendment reserves the People's right to possess cannons, missiles, machine guns -- everything -- not just for defense against the government, but in case the People need to defend themselves against other foreign enemies, too. What if Washington were blown off the map? Why can't the rest of the States defend themselves? The People must remember that it is their own responsibility to defend their rights on all fronts. We have been forewarned by the founders that the we must honor and respect one another, for Liberty can only survive when Love, Truth, and Courage finally reign within us.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    A one from myself, one: a state (or ruling society) that does not trust it's people to bear arms is conspiring against them. Why else would they be so afraid.
    Fact is, he's right and politicians should be fearing being shot or cut for violating the constitution not being refused campaign funds from a power broker. I also never saw the constitution allowing a private guard provided by the government to the politician when no one else did, except for a defence attorney of their choice and a right to bear arms as well as the other constitutional stuff. Rousseau was right when he said that freedom can only exist when the law (Constitution is the top ranking law) is applied to all INDIVIDUALS.
    On the matter of individual freedom, the independent candidate has more debating rights then the collective one (partisan).
     -- Gölök Zoltán Leenderdt Franco Buday, Vancouver, GVRD(Paine Cnty), Coastal Lwr Mainland BC(State of Neo Sumer), U.S. of Eh!     
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    Reston--YOU IDIOT!!
     -- Michael , Houston, TX     
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    brilliant man and brilliant work i dont think he would have voted for this labour government. in any of its silly context
     -- Anonymous     
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    I fully expect this quote to have more response posts than most. It may break a record, this strikes right dead center in the hearts of all, their right to be a man, and defend one's self, it has gone too far all my friends. They have told us we are looked upon badly, because we bear arms. It is our RIGHT, not privilege, to do so. Not, to the ATF, the LEO, who don't think so, the truth is, you may need We The People someday. because most of you, think like we do. You see the injustice also. And to those LEOs that in the past, have respected my rights, I praise you, for reaping in me, has caused a deep respect for you. To the few LEOs, who feel only they should be armed, I say to you, that IS NOT the supreme law of this country. Most ALL who post here, are high thinking men, and good men. Men of peace. These times, seem to have separated us all, we need to start over again, and get to know our local LEOs with MUTUAL respect. The golden rule, is still true. All will treat each other, as they are treated, I myself, respect the LEOs, for putting their lives on the line each day. If they think many of us do not understand the pressures, you are wrong. We all want to be together. NO MORE of this separation. ALL of you feel it, and the distrust. We will KNOW each other, by our actions, should the need arise.
     -- Kimo, lahaina     
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    Which idiot Reston lol.. anyway, that's one thing about free speech, it cause at times great thought.I can disagree with anyone, who does not see, what they man who wrote this intended. This ,man has BEEN OPPRESSED. There is a difference, one post, i see this man is a coward. By, ill keep it top a minimum, just my opinion of a post, of someone, i could not count on, if the chips are down. But, I have many friends, and am safe where I am. This man who posts derogatory to this quote, obviously, will go to the slaughter, with a whimper. Many of us, will stand as men. God bless all.And, under the constitution. Any man who is not in fear, of the current world situation, is not educated. And if he IS informed, he would be a liar if he said he were not afraid, or a fool.
     -- Kimo, Lahian     
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    In a country of freemen, those hired to serve and represent the individual sovereign (individually and in concert) can do nothing their bosses can not do. All policing, military, and self defense authority, power and right is inherent in the individual as an inalienable right. All implements, ordinances, weapons and otherwise tools for the application(s) of said right are not just an extension of said right but, one in the same. I have here cited over a dozen fairly recent supreme court decisions that declare no policing agency, authority or power (local to federal) is/are responsible to We The People (individually or in concert), not for protection or any other reason. The sole protective and otherwise responsibility policing agency(s) have are to their masters, the de facto statist theocracy infesting this land in protecting government property and interests. And because, the statist theocracy infesting this land has declared itself to have inherent right, in toto aloof from We The People, 'it' no longer stands as mine, yours, or We The People's representative but rather, an organic hegemony with totalitarian dictatorship power. And because, We The People in fact, have no de jure Congress or otherwise representatives, our defence be the_real_object of having those arms in our own hands.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    What a wonderful thing firearms are. In the Dark Ages the poor man was at the mercy of the rich man, and the weak man was at the mercy of the strong man. Guns are the great equalizer of men, and only after their invention and widespread use have we seen civilized men treating each other as equals. I would that every man in the world had a pistol on his hip, and a carbine slung across his back. How much more polite and respectful we would all be.
     -- Justin, Elkland     
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    All Government is force. Our own Government stopped representing We The People a long time ago and to think that they are benevolent towards us is to be naive in the extreme. Ergo, we should at all times be prepared to defend ourselves with equal and opposite force.
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
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    It's interesting that in 1788 there were Gun Control Nuts that thought that guns were the problem. Too much Government is the problem... not any kind of solution. Rick
     -- Rick Jolley, Ashdown, AR     
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    Reston and Robert will never catch on. Reasoning with those types is like teaching a pig to whistle, it can't be done and it annoys the pig.
     -- jim k, Austin,Tx     
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    Look to Switzerland. Everyone owns a gun provided by the state and is trained by the state yearly to use them.--- "A gun, like any other source of power, is a force for either good or evil, being neither in itself, but dependent upon those who possess it."--- If sovereign persons would lose the right to bear arms, we would be the same as a Mideast populus who only have rocks to throw in their own defense.
     -- Carol, Georgia     
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    Until we become civilized as individuals and as a nation I'm afraid gun ownership will remain - I'm against gun ownership but not under the present intellect of the human race - the human race need desperately to move forward before we disarm both individuals and the state - there is not one without the other.
     -- RBESRQ     
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    Correct!
     -- Arthur, Yorkshire, New Hampshire     
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    Robert, good comment, sort of a lion laying down with the lamb kinda thing and time, I agree.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    The only thing that is foolish is to believe in government. Government is and has always been the essence of power. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. The Second Amendment is the one Amendment that protects We The People from enemies of our Country whether foreign or domestic (and that includes Congress, the president and the military). Good advice, Robert, read some history.
     -- John W Tobin, Newcastle, Wa.     
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    Inspiring words from another one of America's founding fathers.
     -- Johann Hollar, St. Paul     
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    RBESRQ...I'm affraid that the state of mankind does not move forward or backward. Is today's man any less greedy than yesterday's? Is selfish ambition no longer present in society? People throughout history have endeavored to steal and pilage other nations and even their fellow countrymen to aggrandize themselves with greater power. Anyone who builds a fortune will have to defend it from someone else. Today, nothing has changed. Caesars, Hitlers, Al Capones, and Ted Bundys are still alive today and they will be replaced with each generation just as they have been since the birth of mankind. You comment on the present intellect of the human race, but intellect does not lead one to choose justice (most serial killers were very intellegent). It only increases the effectiveness of their plan, whether their intentions are good or evil. Men will always disagree; religions, cultures, ethnicities, differences will always exist and will often clash; and at some point most men will resort to passion rather than reason. This was true the first time the sun rose on civilization and its just as true today. Morally, the human race has not moved forward since the first man, and nothing in history suggest that mankind is even capable of such movement. We are imperfect beings, and we always will be. Evil will exist as long as we live and we will always have to defend ourselves from it. So the possesion of arms will always be necessary.
     -- Publius     
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    Poor Robert. He should look at jpfo.org and read their Genocide Chart and if he is not too illiterate/ignorant, read "Dial 911 and Die" by Aaron Zelman of Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership. Patrick Henry and Thomas Paine are two of my favorite founding fathers!
     -- libertyjack, anytown, uSA     
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    The government can kill us, but it cannot ENSLAVE us against our will, as long as we're armed. The tools of slavery remain the same today as they have for centuries: Whips, clubs, boots, fists, knives, chains and small arms.

    As long as we maintain a parity with the government in our possession of those tools, then slavery is VOLUNTARY. It cannot be forced.
     -- Anonymous, Tooele     
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    A slight clarification to my above comment. Ownership is a corporeal right as a faculty of birth (endowed by our creator) Guns are but a unique item in the domain of ownership. The tool (guns) have many uses (by example defense against enemies foreign and domestic; and food supply; and, pure enjoyment - target practice, etc.) I am absolutely for gun ownership if one so chooses, it his/her right - even in time of peace, love, prosperity and just interaction between man. My comment was on time and absolute situation requirement basis (again, an individuals choice).

    As well spoken as Publius covered the subject, as to the quote - what organic "WHO" is it that is superior to the individual sovereign who's trust is greater than noble man's inalienable right. My statement above that describes the current legal status of the occupying statist theocracy infesting this land as being in toto aloof from 'We The People' demonstrates the absolute necessity of exercising the right to be well armed.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    For many years now, I have always looked forward to "hearing" from the Well Informed Patriots who post in this blog. Mike, Archer, Logan, Jim, Carlton, Kimo, Editor, to name a few, as with all the new-comers. Publius, one of my favorites, can sure turn a phrase. From the dry law-logic to the poetic, never a wasted word upon ears that can hear. Our founding fathers knew very well the times to come. When ancient Truth is made known of our Liberty and Freedom, it is always Enlightening, "How forcible are right words".
    When, the Key to the House of David comes forth, when we speak, they are for war. As it was then, so it is now.
    It has been said there are two things which can be done with the Truth, win souls and start wars ! I am for peace, but if it must be war, let it be short lived, that the living might be about peace. king David, knew more than the Ancients, his sentiments are well known.
    "Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David. Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people. Behold, thou shalt call a nation that thou knowesth not, and nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee because of the Lord thy God." Keep your powder dry, These are the days. and surely " the fullness of times."
     -- Ronw13, OR     
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    We The People are in charge. Why would we allow our employees to have weapons but not ourselves?
     -- Tony, Silver Spring     
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