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Quote from zzMilitia,

Newsgroups: talk.politics.guns
Subject: RKBA Quotes 2/4
Date: 16 Aug 95 02:30:25 -0500

"Is it possible... that an army could be raised for the purpose
of enslaving themselves and their brethren? or, if raised, whether
they could subdue a Nation of freemen, who know how to prize

liberty, and who have arms in their hands?"
--Rep. Theodore Sedgwick (1746-1813), in the Massachusetts
Convention on the ratification of the Constitution, January 24,
1788, in_Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption
of the Federal Constitution,_ Jonathan Elliot, ed., v.2 p.97
(Philadelphia, 1836)

"A Militia, when properly formed, are in fact the people
themselves, and render regular troops in a great measure
unnecessary. The powers to form and arm the militia, to appoint
their officers, and to command their services, are very important:
nor ought they in a confederated republic to be lodged, solely,
in any one member of the government. First, the constitution ought
to secure a genuine [militia] and guard against a select militia,
by providing that the militia shall always be kept well organized,
armed, and disciplined, and include, according to the past and
general usage of the states, all men capable of bearing arms;
and that all regulations tending to render this general militia
useless and defenceless, by establishing select corps of militia,
or distinct bodies of military men, not having permenent interests
and attachments in the community [ought] to be avoided.
I am persuaded, I need not multiply words to convince you of
the value and solidity of this principle, as it respects general
liberty, and the duration of a free and mild government: having
this principle well fixed by the constitution, then the federal
head may prescribe a general uniform plan, on which the respective
states shall form and train the militia, appoint their officers
and solely manage them, except when called into service of the
union, and when called into that service, they may be commanded and
governed by the union. This arrangement combines energy and safety
in it; it places the sword in the hands of the solid interest of
the community, and not in the hands of men destitute of property,
of principle, or [destitute] of an attachment to the society and
government, [like such men as those] who often form the select
corps of peace or ordinary [military] establishments: by it, the
militia are the people, immediately under the management of the
state governments, but on a uniform federal plan, and called into
the service, command, and government of the union, when necessary
for the common defense and general tranquility.
But, say gentlemen, the general militia are the for the most
part employed at home in their private concerns, cannot well be
called out, or be depended upon; that we must have a select
militia; that is, as I understand it, particular corps or bodies
of young men, and of men who have but little to do at home,
particularly armed and disciplined in some measure, at the public
expence, and always ready to take to the field. These corps, not
much unlike regular troops, will ever produce an inattention to
the general militia; and the consequence has ever been, and always
must be, that the substantial men, having families and property,
will be generally without arms, without knowing the use of them,
and defenseless; whereas, 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; nor does
it follow from this, that all promiscuously must go into actual
service on every occasion.
The mind that aims at a select militia, must be influenced by
a truly anti-republican principle; and when we see many men
disposed to practice upon it, whenever they can prevail, no wonder
true republicans are for carefully guarding against it. As a
farther check, it may be proper to add, that the militia of any
state shall not remain in the service of the union, beyond a given
period, without the consent of the state legislature."
--U.S. Senator Richard Henry Lee (1732-1794) of Virginia, _A number
of Additional Letters from the Federal Farmer to the Republican;
leading to a fair examination of the System of Government proposed
by the late Convention; to several essential and necessary
alterations in it. and calculated to Illustrate and Support the
Principles and Positions Laid down in the preceding Letters,_ (New
York, January 25, 1788), p.169
<<Note: Richard Henry Lee, who was a Senator in the First Congress,
is_not_to be confused with Revolutionary War hero Henry "Light-
Horse Harry" Lee, the father of Confederate general Robert E. Lee.
Richard Henry Lee was "Light-Horse" Henry's_uncle_ (_and_uncle-in-
law!) thanks to "Light-Horse" Henry marrying his second cousin,
Matilda Lee.>>

The Influence of the State and Federal Governments Compared

To the People of the State of New York:
Resuming the subject of the last paper, I proceed to inquire
whether the Federal Government or the State Governments will have
the advantage with regard to the predilection and support of the
people. Notwithstanding the different modes in which they are
appointed, we must consider both of them, as substantially
dependent on the great body of the citizens of the United States.
I assume this position here as it respects the first, reserving
the proofs for another place. The Federal and State Governments
are in fact but different agents and trustees of the people,
constituted with different powers, and designed for different
purposes. The adversaries of the Constitution seem to have lost
sight of the people altogether in their reasonings on this subject;
and to have viewed these different establishments, not only as
mutual rivals and enemies, but as uncontrouled by any common
superior in their efforts to usurp the authorities of each other.
These gentlemen must here be reminded of their error. They must
be told that the ultimate authority, wherever the derivative may
be found, resides in the people alone; and that it will not depend
merely on the comparative ambition or address of the different
governments, whether either, or which of them, will be able to
enlarge its sphere of jurisdiction at the expense of the other.
Truth, no less than decency, requires that the event in every
case should be supposed to depend on the sentiments and sanction
of their common constituents.
Many considerations, besides those suggested on a former
occasion, seem to place it beyond doubt that the first and most
natural attachment of the people will be to the governments of
their respective States. Into the administration of these a
greater number of individuals will expect to rise. From the gift
of these a greater number of offices and emoluments will flow.
By the superintending care of these, all the more domestic, and
personal interests of the people will be regulated and provided
for. With the affairs of these, the people will be more familiarly
and minutely conversant. And with the members of these, will
a greater proportion of the people have the ties of personal
acquaintance and friendship, and of family and party attachments;
on the side of these therefore the popular bias, may well be
expected most strongly to incline.
Experience speaks the same language in this case. The federal
administration, though hitherto very defective in comparison with
what may be hoped under a better system, had, during the war, and
particularly whilst the independent fund of paper emissions was
in credit, an activity and importance as great as it can well have
in any future circumstances whatever. It was engaged, too, in
a course of measures which had for their object the protection
of everything that was dear, and the acquisition of everything that
could be desirable to the people at large. It was, nevertheless,
invariably found, after the transient enthusiasm for the early
Congresses was over, that the attention and attachment of the
people were turned anew to their own particular governments; that
the Federal Council was at no time the idol of popular favor;
and that opposition to proposed enlargements of its powers and
importance, was the side usually taken by the men who wished to
build their political consequence on the prepossessions of their
fellow citizens.
If, therefore, as has been elsewhere remarked, the people should
in future become more partial to the federal than to the State
governments, the change can only result, from such manifest and
irresistible proofs of a better administration, as will overcome
all their antecedent propensities. And in that case, the people
ought not surely to be precluded from giving most of their
confidence where they may discover it to be most due: But even
in that case the State governments could have little to apprehend,
because it is only within a certain sphere that the federal power
can, in the nature of things, be advantageously administered.
The remaining points on which I propose to compare the federal
and State governments, are the disposition and the faculty they
may respectively possess, to resist and frustrate the measures of
each other.
It has been already proved, that the members of the federal
[government] will be more dependent on the members of the State
governments, than the latter will be on the former. It has
appeared also, that the prepossessions of the people, on whom both
will depend, will be more on the side of the State governments,
than of the Federal Government. So far as the disposition of
each towards the other may be influenced by these causes, the State
governments must clearly have the advantage. But in a distinct
and very important point of view, the advantage will lie on the
same side. The prepossessions, which the members themselves will
carry into the Federal Government, will generally be favorable to
the States; whilst it will rarely happen, that the members of the
State governments will carry into the public councils a bias in
favor of the general government. A local spirit will infallibly
prevail much more in the members of Congress, than a national
spirit will prevail in the Legislatures of the particular States.
Every one knows that a great proportion of the errors committed by
the State Legislatures proceeds from the disposition of the members
to sacrifice the comprehensive and permanent interest of the State,
to the particular and separate views of the counties or districts
in which they reside. And if they do not sufficiently enlarge
their policy to embrace the collective welfare of their particular
State, how can it be imagined that they will make the aggregate
prosperity of the Union, and the dignity and respectability of its
government, the objects of their affections and consultations? For
the same reason that the members of the State Legislatures will be
unlikely to attach themselves sufficiently to national objects,
the members of the federal legislature will be likely to attach
themselves too much to local objects. The States will be to the
latter what counties and towns are to the former. Measures will
too often be decided according to their probable effect, not on
the national prosperity and happiness, but on the prejudices,
interests, and pursuits of the governments and people of the
individual States. What is the spirit that has in general
characterized the proceedings of Congress? A perusal of their
journals, as well as the candid acknowledgments of such as have
had a seat in that assembly, will inform us, that the members have
but too frequently displayed the character, rather of partisans of

their respective States, than of impartial guardians of a common
interest; that where on one occasion improper sacrifices have been
made of local considerations, to the aggrandizement of the Federal
Government, the great interests of the nation have suffered on
a hundred, from an undue attention to the local prejudices,
interests, and views of the particular States. I mean not by these
reflections to insinuate, that the new Federal Government will not
embrace a more enlarged plan of policy than the existing government
may have pursued; much less, that its views will be as confined
as those of the State legislatures; but only that it will partake
sufficiently of the spirit of both, to be disinclined to invade
the rights of the individual States, or the preorgatives of their
governments. The motives on the part of the State governments,
to augment their prerogatives by defalcations from the Federal
Government, will be overruled by no reciprocal predispositions
in the members.
Were it admitted, however, that the Federal Government may feel
an equal disposition with the State governments to extend its power
beyond the due limits, the latter would still have the advantage
in the means of defeating such encroachments. If an act of a
particular State, though unfriendly to the national government, be
generally popular in that State and should not too grossly violate
the oaths of the State officers, it is executed immediately and,
of course, by means on the spot and depending on the State alone.
The opposition of the federal government, or the interposition of
federal officers, would but inflame the zeal of all parties on the
side of the State, and the evil could not be prevented or repaired,
if at all, without the employment of means which must always be
resorted to with reluctance and difficulty. On the other hand,
should an unwarrantable measure of the Federal Government be
unpopular in particular States, which would seldom fail to be the
case, or even a warrantable measure be so, which may sometimes
be the case, the means of opposition to it are powerful and at
hand. The disquietude of the people; their repugnance and,
perhaps, refusal to co-operate with the officers of the Union; the
frowns of the executive magistracy of the State; the embarrassments
created by legislative devices, which would often be added on such
occasions, would oppose, in any State, difficulties not to be
despised; would form, in a large State, very serious impediments;
and where the sentiments of several adjoining States happened to be
in unison, would present obstructions which the federal government
would hardly be willing to encounter.
But ambitious encroachments of the Federal Government, on the
authority of the State governments, would not excite the opposition
of a single State, or of a few States only. They would be signals
of general alarm. Every Government would espouse the common cause.
A correspondence would be opened. Plans of resistance would be
concerted. One spirit would animate and conduct the whole.
The same combinations, in short, would result from an apprehension
of the federal, as was produced by the dread of a foreign yoke;
and unless the projected innovations should be voluntarily
renounced, the same appeal to a trial of force would be made in
the one case as was made in the other. But what degree of madness
could ever drive the Federal Government to such an extremity.
In the contest with Great Britain, one part of the empire was
employed against the other. The more numerous part invaded the
rights of the less numerous part. The attempt was unjust and
unwise; but it was not in speculation absolutely chimerical.
But what would be the contest in the case we are supposing? Who
would be the parties? A few representatives of the people would
be opposed to the people themselves; or rather one set of
representatives would be contending against thirteen sets of
representatives, with the whole body of their common constituents
on the side of the latter.
The only refuge left for those who prophesy the downfall of
the State governments is the visionary supposition that the federal
government may previously accumulate a military force for the
projects of ambition. The reasonings contained in these papers
must have been employed to little purpose indeed, if it could be
necessary now to disprove the reality of this danger. That the
people and the States should, for a sufficient period of time,
elect an uninterupted succession of men ready to betray both;
that the traitors should, throughout this period, uniformly and
systematically pursue some fixed plan for the extension of the
military establishment; that the governments and the people of
the States should silently and patiently behold the gathering
storm, and continue to supply the materials, until it should be
prepared to burst on their own heads, must appear to every one
more like the incoherent dreams of a delirious jealousy, or the
misjudged exaggerations of a counterfeit zeal, than like the
sober apprehensions of genuine patriotism. Extravagant as the
supposition is, let it however be made. Let a regular army, fully
equal to the resources of the country, be formed; and let it be
entirely at the devotion of the Federal Government; still it would
not be going too far to say, that the State governments, with
the people on their side, would be able to repel the danger.
The highest number to which, according to the best computation,
a standing army can be carried in any country, does not exceed one
hundredth part of the whole number of souls; or one twenty-fifth
part of the number able to bear arms. This proportion 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 of 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. Those who
are best acquainted with the last successful resistance of this
country against the British arms, will be most inclined to deny
the possibility of it. 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. 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. Let us rather no longer insult them with the
supposition that they can ever reduce themselves to the necessity
of making the experiment, by a blind and tame submission to the
long train of insidious measures which must precede and produce it.
The argument under the present head may be put into a very
concise form, which appears altogether conclusive. Either the mode
in which the Federal Government is to be constructed will render it
sufficiently dependent on the people, or it will not. On the first
supposition, it will be restrained by that dependence from forming
schemes obnoxious to their constituents. On the other supposition,
it will not possess the confidence of the people, and its schemes
of usurpation will be easily defeated by the State governments,
who will be supported by the people.
On summing up the considerations stated in this and the last
paper, they seem to amount to the most convincing evidence, that
the powers proposed to be lodged in the Federal Government are as
little formidable to those reserved to the individual States, as
they are indispensably necessary to accomplish the purposes of the
Union; and that all those alarms which have been sounded, of a
meditated and consequential annihilation of the State Governments,
must, on the most favorable interpretation, be ascribed to the
chimerical fears of the authors of them."
--James Madison (1751-1836), writing as "Publius," in the
_New York Packet,_ January 29, 1788

"The militia of these free commonwealths, entitled and
accustomed to their arms, when compared with any possible army,
must be _tremendous and irresistable_. Who are the militia?
_[A]re 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_... [T]he 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 (1755-1824), writing as "A Pennsylvanian," in
_Pennsylvania Gazette,_ February 20, 1788 [see_A Documentary
History of the Ratification of the Constitution_(Kamiski and
Saladino, eds., 1981) p.1778-1780]

"I have received with great pleasure your friendly letter of
Apr. 24. It has come to hand after I had written my letters for
the present conve[y]ance, and just in time to add this to them.
I learn with great pleasure the progress of the new Constitution.
Indeed I have presumed it would gain on the public mind, as I
confess it has on my own. At first, tho[ugh] I saw the great mass
and groundwork was good, I disliked many [of its] appendages.
Reflection and discussion have cleared me of most of these
[apprehensions]. You have satisfied me as to the query which I
had put to you about the right of direct taxation. (My first wish
was that nine states would adopt it in order to ensure what is
good in it, and that the others might, by holding off, produce
the necessary amendments. But the plan of Massachuset[t]s is far
preferable, and will I hope be followed by those who are yet to
decide. There are only two amendments which I am anxious for.
1. A bill of rights, which it is so much the interest of all
to have, that I concieve it must be yielded [given]. The 1st.
amendment proposed by Massachuset[t]s will in some degree answer
this end, but not so well. It will do too much in some instances
and too litle in others. It will cripple the federal government
in some cases where it ought to be free, and not restrain it where
restraint would be right.

The 2d. amendment which appears to me essential is restoring
the principle of necessary rotation, particularly to the Senate and
Presidency: but most of all to the last. Re-eligibility makes him
an officer for life, and the disasters inseperable from an elective
monarchy, render it preferable, if we cannot tread back that step,
that we should go forward and take refuge in an hereditary one.
Of the correction of this article however I entertain no present
hope, because I find it scarcely excited an objection in America.
And if it does not take place ere long, it assuredly never will.
The natural progress of things is for liberty to y[ie]ld and
government to gain ground. As yet our spirits are free.
Our jealousy is only put to sleep by the unlimited confidence we
all repose in the person [Washington] to whom we all look as our
president. After him inferior characters may perhaps succeed and
awaken us to the danger which his merit has led us into. For the
present however, the general adoption [of the Constitution] is to
be prayed for, and I wait with great anxiety for the news from
Maryland and S. Carolina which have decided before this, and
wish that Virginia, now in session, may give the 9th vote of
approbation. There could them be no doubt of N. Carolina, N. York,
and New Hampshire.) But what do you propose to do with Rhode
Island? As long as there is hope, we should give her time.
I cannot conceive but that she will come to rights in the long run.
Force, in whatever form, would be a dangerous precedent.
There are rumours that the Austrian army is obliged to retire
a little; that the Spanish squadron is gone to South America; that
the English have excited a rebellion there, and some others equally
unauthenticated. The bankruptcies in London have recommended with
new force. There is no saying where this fire will end. Perhaps
in the general conflagration of all their paper [money]. If not
now, it must ere long. With only 20 million of coin, and three
or four hundred million of circulating paper, public and private,
nothing is necessary but a general panic, produced either by [bank]
failures, invasion, or any other cause, and the whole visionary
[illusory] fabric vanishes into air and sh[o]ws that paper is
poverty, that it is only the ghost of money, and not money itself.
100 years ago they [the British] had 20 odd millions of coin.
Since that they have brought in from Holland by borrowing 40.
millions more. Yet they have but 20 millions left, and they talk
of being rich and of having the balance of trade in their favour.
--[John] Paul Jones is invited into the Empress[ of France]'s service
with the rank of rear admiral, and to have a seperate command.
I wish it corresponded with the views of Congress to give him that
rank for the taking of the _Seraphis._ [I look to] this officer
as our great future depend[e]nce on the sea, where alone we should
think of ever having a force. He is young enough to see the day
when we shall be more populous than the whole British dominions and
able to fight them ship to ship. We should procure him then every
possible opportunity of acquiring experience. I have the honour to
be with sentiments of the most perfect esteem[,] Dear sir[,] Your
friend and servant."
--Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), letter to Edward Carrington, (from
Paris, May 27, 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."--"M.T. Cicero," in Charleston_State Gazette,_
September 8, 1788

"Last Monday a string of amendments were presented to the
lower House; these altogether respect personal liberty..."
--Senator William Grayson (1740-1790) of Virginia in a letter to
Patrick Henry, June 12, 1789 [in Patrick Henry's_Papers_ vol.3,
p.391 (1951)]

"This declaration of rights, I take it, is intended to secure
the people against the mal-administration of the government; if
we could suppose that, in all cases, the rights of the people would
be attended to, the occasion for guards of this kind would be
removed. Now, I am apprehensive, sir, that this clause would give
an opportunity to the people in power to destroy the constitution
itself. They can declare who are those religiously scrupulous,
and prevent them from bearing arms.
What, sir, is the use of a militia? It is to prevent the
establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty. Now, it
must be evident, that under this provision, together with their
other powers, Congress could take such measures with respect to a
militia, as make a standing army necessary. Whenever Government[s]
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. This was actually done by Great Britain at the
commencement of the late revolution. They used every means in
their power to prevent the establishment of an effective militia
to the eastward. The Assembly of Massachusetts, seeing the rapid
progress that [the British] administration were making to divest
them of their inherent privileges, endeavored to counteract them
by the organization of the militia; but they were always defeated
by the influence of the Crown."
--Rep. Elbridge Gerry (1744-1814) (Mass.), Annals of Congress,
vol.I, p.750, August 17, 1789
[in _The Bill of Rights: A Documentary History,_ Schwartz, ed.]
<<Gerry is speaking about Madison's original draft of the Second
Amendment which contained the "religiously scrupulous" language.>>

"We are told there is no cause to fear. When we consider
the great powers of Congress, there is great cause of alarm.
They can disarm the militia. If they were armed, they would be
a resource against great oppressions. The laws of a great empire
are difficult to be executed. If the laws of the union were
oppressive, they could not carry them into effect, if the people
were possessed of the proper means of defence."
--William Lenoir (????-????), in the North Carolina 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.4 p.203 (Philadelphia, 1836)

<<Lenoir is advocating for the addition of a Bill of Rights to the
Federal Constitution.>>

"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 (1722-1803), in_Debates and Proceedings in the
Convention of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,_ pp.86-87,
(Pierce & Hale, Boston, 1850), also in Philadelphia_Independent
Gazetteer,_ August 20, 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, p.211, col.2

"I embrace with great satisfaction the opportunity which now
presents itself of congratulating you on the present favorable
prospects of our public affairs. The recent accession of the
important State of North Carolina to the Constitution of the
United States (of which official information has been received),
the rising credit and respectability of our country, the general
and increasing good will toward the Government of the Union,
and the concord, peace, and plenty with which we are blessed are
circumstances auspicious in an eminent degree to our national
In resuming your consultations for the general good you can
not but derive encouragement from the reflection that the measures
of the last session have been as satisfactory to your constituents
as the novelty and difficulty of the work allowed you to hope.
Still further to realize their expectations and to secure the
blessings which a gracious Providence has placed within our reach
will in the course of the present important session call for the
cool and deliberate exertion of your patriotism, firmness and
Among the many interesting objects which will engage your
attention that of providing for the common defense will merit
particular regard. To be prepared for war is one of the most
effectual means of preserving peace. A free people ought not
only to be armed, but disciplined; to which end a uniform and well-
digested plan is requisite; and their safety and interest require
that they should promote such manufactures as tend to render them
independent of others for essential, particularly military,
The proper establishment of the troops which may be deemed
indispensable will be entitled to mature consideration. In the
arrangements which may be made respecting it it will be of
importance to consider the comfortable support of the officers
and soldiers with a due regard to economy.
There was reason to hope that the pacific measures adopted
with regard to certain hostile tribes of Indians would have
relieved the inhabitants of our Southern and Western frontiers
from their depredations, but you will perceive from the information
contained in the papers which I shall direct to be laid before you
(comprehending a communication from the Commonwealth of Virginia)
that we ought to be prepared to afford protection to those parts
of the Union, and, if necessary, to punish aggressors.
The interests of the United States require that our intercourse
withother nations should be facilitated by such provisions as will
enable me to fulfill my duty in that respect in the manner which
circumstances may render most conducive to the public good, and to
this end that the compensations to be made to the persons who may
be employed should, according to the nature of their appointments,
be defined by law, and a competent fund designated for defraying
the expenses incident to the conduct of our foreign affairs.
Various considerations also render it expedient that the terms
on which foreigners may be admitted to the rights of citizens
should be speedily ascertained by a uniform rule of naturalization.
Uniformity in the currency, weights, and measures of the United
States is an object of great importance, and will, I am persuaded,
be duly attended to.
The advancement of agriculture, commerce, and manufactures by
all proper means will not, I trust, need recommendation; but I can
not forbear intimating to you the expediency of giving effectual
encouragement as well to the introduction of new and useful
inventions from abroad as to the exertions of skill and genius in
producing them at home, and of facilitating the intercourse between
the distant parts of our country by a due attention to the post-
office and post-roads.
Nor am I less persuaded that you will agree with me in opinion
that there is nothing which can better deserve your patronage than
the promotion of science and literature. Knowledge is in every
country the surest basis of public happiness. In one in which
the measures of government receive their impressions so immediately
from the sense of the community as in ours it is proportionably
essential. To the security of a free constitution it contributes
in various ways --by convincing those who are intrusted with the
public administration that every valuable end of government is
best answered, by the enlightened confidence of the people, and by
teaching the people themselves to know and to value their own
rights; to discern and provide against invasions of them; to
distinguish between oppression and the necessary exercise of lawful
authority; between burthens proceeding from a disregard to their
convenience and those resulting from the inevitable exigencies
of society; to discriminate the spirit of liberty from that of
licentiousness --cherishing the first, avoiding the last-- and
uniting a speedy but temperate vigilance against encroachments,
with an inviolable respect to the laws.
Whether this desirable object will be best promoted by affording
aids to seminaries of learning already established, by the
institution of a national university, or by any other expedients
will be well worthy of a place in the deliberations of the
--George Washington, First "State of the Union" speech [First
Annual Address], January 8, 1790

"Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself.
They are the American people's liberty teeth and keystone under
independence. The church, the plow, the prarie wagon, and
citizen's firearms are indelibly related. 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 the pistol are equally indispensable. Every corner
of this land knows firearms, and more than 99 99/100 percent of
them by their silence indicate they are in safe and sane hands.
The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains
evil interference; they deserve a place with all that's good.
When firearms, go all goes; we need them every hour."
--falsely attributed to George Washington, address to the
second session of the first U.S. Congress
<<This quotation, sometimes called the "liberty teeth" quote,
appears nowhere in Washington's papers or speeches, and contains
several historical anachronisms: the reference to "prarie wagon"
in an America which had yet to even begin settling the Great Plains
(which were owned by France at the time), the reference to "the
Pilgrims" which implies a modern historical perspective, and
particularly the attempt by "Washington" to defend the utility
of firearms (by_use_of_statistics!) to an audience which would
have used firearms in their daily lives to obtain food, defend
against hostile Indians, and which had only recently won a war
for independence. It's clear that "Washington" is addressing
"gun control" arguments which wouldn't exist for another couple
of centuries, not to mention doing so in a style that is
uncharacteristic of the period, and uncharacteristic of
Washington's addresses to Congress, both of which exhibited a
high degree of formality. This is a false quote, but bits and
pieces of it still continue to crop up from time to time.
As there are_plenty_of verifiable and eloquent quotes by the
Founders concerning the right to keep and bear arms, there is
no excuse for making one up.>>

"Under every government the dernier [Fr. last, or final]
resort of the people, is an appeal to the sword; whether to defend
themselves against the open attacks of a foreign enemy, or to check
the insidious encroachments of domestic foes. Whenever a people...
entrust the defence of their country to a regular, standing army,
composed of mercenaries, the power of that country will remain
under the direction of the most wealthy citizens... [Y]our
liberties will be safe as long as you support a well regulated
--"A Framer" in the_Independent Gazetteer,_January 29, 1791, p.2
<<Addressed "To the Yeomanry of Pennsylvania," perhaps in support
of President Washington's plans to better organize the militia.>>

"Another of these [democratizing] operations is making
every citizen a soldier, and every soldier a citizen; not
only_permitting_every man to arm, but_obliging_him to arm.
This fact, [if] told in Europe, previous to the French Revolution,
would have gained little credit; or at least it would have been
regarded as a mark of an uncivilized people, extremely dangerous
to a well-ordered society. Men who build systems [of government]
on an inversion of nature, are obliged to invert every thing that
is to make [up] part of that system. It is_because the people are
civilized, that they are with safety armed._ It is an effect of
their conscious dignity, as citizens enjoying equal rights, that
they wish not to invade the rights of others. The danger (where
there is any) from armed citizens, is only to the _government,_
not to _society;_ and as long as they have nothing to revenge in
the government (which they cannot have while it is in their own
hands) there are many advantages in their being accustomed to the
use of arms, and no possible disadvantage. * * *
One general character will apply to much [of] the greater part
of the wars of modern times,--they are _political,_ and not
_vindictive._ This alone is sufficient to account for their real
origin. They are wars of agreement, rather than of dissention;
and the conquest is taxes, and not territory. To carry on this
business, it is necessary not only to keep up the military spirit
of the noblesse by titles and pensions, and to keep in pay a vast
number of troops, who know no other God but their king; who lose
all ideas of themselves, in contemplating their officers; and who
forget the duties of a man, to practise those of a soldier, --this
is but half the operation: an essential part of the military system
is to disarm the people, to hold all the functions of war, as well
the arm that executes, as the will that declares it, equally above
their reach. This part of the system has a double effect, it
palsies the hand and brutalizes the mind: a habitual disuse of

physical forces totally destroys the moral [force]; and men lose
at once the power of protecting themselves, and of discerning the
cause of their oppression.
It is almost useless to mention the conclusions which every
rational mind must draw from these considerations. But though
they are too obvious to be mistaken, they are still too important
to be passed over in silence; for we seem to be arrived at that
epoch in human affairs, when 'all useful ideas, and truths the most
necessary to the happiness of mankind, are no longer exclusively
destined to adorn the pages of a book.' Nations, wearied out with
imposture begin to provide for the safety of man, instead of
pursuing his destruction. [Barlow quotes the French National
Assembly. It is only with historical perspective that this
paragraph now takes on an ironic cast... -KB]
I will mention as one conclusion, which bids fair to be a
practical one, that the way to prevent wars is not merely to change
the military system; for that, like the church, is a necessary part
of governments as they now stand, and of society as now organized:
but the _principle of government_ must be completely changed; and
the consequence of this will be such a total renovation of society,
as to banish standing armies, overturn the military system, and
exclude the possibility of war. [In this, while not correct in the
particulars, Barlow does make a telling point, in that republican
governments, so long as they _remain_ democratic, are less warlike
than monarchies, and when they go to war, tend to be much more
successful, due to popular support. --KB]
Only admit the original, unalterable truth,_that all men are
equal in their rights,_ and the foundation of every thing is laid;
to build the superstructure requires no effort but that of natural
deduction. The first necessary deduction will be, that the people
will form an equal representative government; in which it will be
impossible for_orders_ or _privileges_ to exist for a moment; and
consequently the first materials for standing armies will be
converted into peaceable members of the state. Another deduction
follows, That the people will be universally armed: they will
assume those weapons for security, which the art of war has
invented for destruction. You will then have removed the
_necessity_ of a standing army by the organization of the
legislature, and the _possibility_ of it by the arrangement of the
militia; for it is impossible for an armed soldiery to exist in an
armed nation, as for a nobility to exist under an equal government.
It is curious to remark how ill we reason on human nature, from
being accustomed to view it under the disguise which the unequal
governments of the world have imposed upon it. During the American
war, and especially towards its close, General Washington might
be said to possess the hearts of all the Americans. His
recommendation was law, and he was able to command the whole
power of that people for any purpose of defence. The philosophers
of Europe considered this as a dangerous crisis to the cause of
freedom. They _knew_ from the example of Caesar, and Sylla, and
Marius, and Alcibiades, and Pericles, and Cromwell, that Washington
would never lay down his arms, till he had given his country a
master. But after he did lay them down, then came the miracle,
--his virtue was cried up to be more than human; and it is by this
miracle of virtue in him, that the Americans are supposed to enjoy
their liberty at this day.
I believe the virtue of that great man to be equal to any that
has ever yet been known; but to an American eye no extraordinary
portion [or, quantity] of it could appear in the transaction.
It would have been impossible for the General or the army to have
continued in the field after the enemy left it; for the soldiers
were all_citizens;_ and if it had been otherwise, their numbers
were not the hundredth part of the citizens at large, who were
all_soldiers._ To say that he was wise in discerning the
impossibility of success in an attempt to imitate the great heroes
above mentioned, is to give him only the same merit for sagacity
which is common to every other person who knows that country, or
who has well considered the effects of equal liberty. * * *
A people that legislate for themselves ought to be in the habit
of protecting themselves; or they will lose the spirit of both.
A knowledge of their own _strength_ preserves a temperance in their
own _wisdom,_ and the performance of their _duties_ gives a value
to their rights. This is likewise the way to increase the solid
domestic [defensive] force of a nation, to a degree far beyond any
ideas we form of a standing army; and at the same time annihilate
its capacity as well as inclination for foreign aggressive
hostilities. The true guarantee of perpetual tranquility at home
and abroad, in such a case, would arise from this truth, which
would pass into an incontrovertible maxim, _that offensive
operations would be impossible, and defensive ones infallible._
This is undoubtedly the true and only secret of exterminating
wars from the face of the earth; and it must afford no small
degree of consolation to every friend of humanity, to find this
unspeakable blessing resulting from that equal mode of government,
which alone secures every other enjoyment for which mankind unite
their interests in society. Politicians, and even sometimes honest
men, are accustomed to speak of war as an uncontroulable event,
falling on the human race like a concussion of the elements,
--a scourge which admits no remedy; but for which we must wait
with trembling preparation, as for an epidemical disease, whose
force we may hope to lighten, but can never avoid. They say that
mankind are wicked and rapacious, and 'it must be that offences
will come.' This reason applies to individuals, but not to nations
deliberately speaking a national voice. I hope I shall not be
understood to mean, that the nature of man is totally changed by
living in a free republic. I allow that it is still _interested_
men and _passionate_ men, that direct the affairs of the world.
But in national assemblies, passion is lost in deliberation, and
interest balances interest; till the good of the whole community
combines the general will. Here then is a great moral entity,
acting still from interested motives; but whose interest it never
can be, in any possible combination of circumstances, to commence
an offensive war.
There is another consideration, from which we may argue the
total extinction of wars, as a necessary consequence of
establishing governments on the representative wisdom of the
people. We are all sensible that superstition is a blemish of
human nature, by no means confined to subjects connected with
religion. Political superstition is almost as strong as religious
[superstition]; and it is quite as universally used as an
instrument of tyranny. To enumerate the variety of ways in which
this instrument operates on the mind, would be more difficult,
than to form a general idea of the result of its operations. In
monarchies, it induces men to spill their blood for a particular
family, or for a particular branch of that family, who happens to
have been born first, or last, or to have been taught to repeat a
certain creed, in preference to other creeds. But the effect which
I am going chiefly to notice is that which respects the territorial
boundaries of a government. For a man in Portugal or Spain to
prefer belonging to one of those nations rather than the other,
is as much a superstition, as to prefer the house of Braganza to
that of Bourbon, or Mary the second of England to her brother.
All these subjects of preference stand upon the same footing as the
turban and the hat, the cross and the crescent, or the lily and the
The boundaries of nations have been fixed for the accomodation
of the _government,_ without the least regard to the convenience of
the people. Kings and ministers, who make a profitable trade of
governing, are interested in extending the limits of their dominion
as far as possible. They have a property in the people, and in the
territory that they cover. The country and its inhabitants are to
them a farm flocked with sheep. When they call up the sheep to be
sheared, they teach them to know their [master's] names, to follow
their master, and avoid a stranger. By this unaccountable
imposition it is, that men are led from one extravagant folly to
another, [such as] --to adore their King, to boast of their nation,
and to wish for conquest, --circumstances equally ridiculous within
themselves, and equally incompatible with that rational estimation
of things, which arises from the science of liberty.
In America it is not so. Among the several states, the
governments are all equal in their force, and the people are all
equal in their rights. Were it possible for one state to conquer
another State, without any expence of money, or of time, or of
blood, --neither of the states, nor a single individual in either
of them, would be richer or poorer for the event. The people would
all be upon their own lands, and engaged in their own occupations,
as before; and whether the territory on which they live were called
New York or Massachusetts is a matter of total indifference, about
which they have no superstition. For the people belong not to the
government, but the government belongs to the people. * * *
It is found, that questions about the boundaries between free
States are not matters of interest, but merely of form and
convenience. And though these questions may involve a tract of
country equal to a European kingdom, it alters not the case; they
are settled as merchants settle the course of exchange between
two commercial cities. Several instances have occured, since the
revolution, of deciding in a few days, by amicable arbitration,
territorial disputes, which determine the jurisdiction of larger
and richer tracts of country, than have formed the objects of all
the wars of the last two centuries between France and Germany."
--Joel Barlow (1754-1812), _Advice to the Privileged Orders in the
several States of Europe, resulting from the necessity and
propriety of a general revolution in the principles of government,_
p.24 and 61-69 (London, 1792-1793) <<This work was written in the
early days of the French Revolution.>>

"He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his
enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes
a precedent that will reach to himself."
--Thomas Paine (1737-1809), conclusion,_Dissertation on First
Principles of Government,_(Paris, July [4?,]1795) <<Paine is
speaking from experience, as the French Revolution descended into
The Terror following the beheading of Louis XVI, who "Citoyen"
Paine tried to have the National Assembly spare, despite his own
hatred for kings. Paine himself later spent months in prison,
awaiting the guillotine. (Unlike Louis and his queen Marie

Antoinette, Paine was eventually released.)>>

(continued) 2/4

**x*dna Ken Barnes, LifeSci Bldg. ________Vote_________ NRA
*(==) * The University Of Memphis |=*===*===*===*===*=| JPFO
* \' * Memphis, TN | Gramm/Alexander96!| GOP
*(=)*** |___________________| U-U

Take It From Bill, Kids: Don't Inhale!


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Arms, Constitution, Tax


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