“And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”
~~Thomas Jefferson, 1787
“Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom of Europe. 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 bands of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States.”
~~Noah Webster, 1787
“The militia of these free commonwealths, entitled and accustomed to their arms, when compared with any possible army, must be tremendous and irresistible. Who are the militia? Are 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 birthright of an American. The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state government, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people. The militia will render many troops quite unnecessary. They will form a powerful check upon the regular troops, and will generally be sufficient to over-awe them.”
~~Tench Coxe, Pennsylvania Gazette, Feb. 20, 1788
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“What, Sir, is the use of a militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty. Whenever governments 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.”
~~Rep. Elbridge Gerry, Mass., 1789
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