From the Horses' Mouths: The 'Politically Correct' View of Our Founders

“The right of having and using arms for self-preservation and defense is justly called the primary law of nature, so it is not, neither can it be in fact, taken away by the law of society.”
Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England.


 “Arms in the hands of individual citizens may be used at individual discretion…in private self-defense.”
John Adams, A Defense of the Constitutions (1787-88).

 “The Constitution shall never be construed to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms.”
Samuel Adams, during Massachusetts’ U.S. Constitution Ratification Convention (1788).

“The Constitution preserves the advantage of being armed which Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation…(where) the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.”
James Madison, The Federalist #46.

“Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people’s liberty teeth and keystone under independence.”
George Washington.

“No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.”
Thomas Jefferson, Proposed Virginia Constitution (1776), Jefferson Papers 344 (J. Boyd, ed. 1950).

“The great object is, that every man be armed…Everyone who is able may have a gun…”
Patrick Henry, 3 Elliott Debates 386.

“Arms discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property. Horrid mischief would ensue were the law-abiding deprived of the use of them.”
Thomas Paine, Thoughts on Defensive War (1775).

“Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect every one who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are ruined.”
Patrick Henry, during Virginia’s ratification convention (1788).

 “Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America can not enforce unjust laws by the sword, because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States.”
Noah Webster, An Examination Into the Leading Principals of the Federal Constitution (1787).


 “To disarm the people; that it was the best and most effectual way to enslave them…”
George Mason, 3 Elliott Debates (on the Constitution) 380.


 “A militia, when properly formed, are in fact the people themselves…and include all men capable of bearing arms. To preserve liberty it is essential that the whole body of people always possess arms…”
Richard Henry Lee, Additional letters from The Federal Farmer 53 (1788).

 “I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people…To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them.”
George Mason, during Virginia’s ratification convention (1788).

 “Congress has no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birth-right of an American…The 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, Pennsylvania Gazette, February 20, 1788.

 Current law: “The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age. The classes of the militia are (1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard, and (2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members on the militia who are not members of the National Guard.”
Title 10, Section 311(a) of the United States Code.

 “On every question of construction let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying to determine what meaning can be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed.”
Thomas Jefferson.


 “We have staked the whole future of the American civilization, not upon the power of the government (but) upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.”
James Madison.


 “Our Constitution was made for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the governance of any others.”
John Adams.

 “I feel no anxiety at the large armament designed against us. The remarkable interposition of Heaven in our favor can not be too gratefully acknowledged. He who fed the Israelites in the wilderness, who clothed the lilies in the field, and who feeds the young ravens when they cry…will not forsake a people engaged in so righteous a cause…if we remember His loving kindness.”
Abigail Adams, June 18, 1776.

 “As one studies history, especially the history of the Western Hemisphere, it is difficult to dismiss the premise that God had a plan for America.”
George Will.

 “Men by their constitutions are naturally divided into two parties: 1) Those who fear and distrust the people 2) Those who identify themselves with the people, have confidence in them, cherish and consider them as the most honest and safe depository of the public interest.”
Thomas Jefferson.

 “A government which does not trust its citizens to be armed is not itself to be trusted.”
Niccolo Machiavelli.

 “They that give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania (1759).

 “In Switzerland, where the citizens are most armed, they are most free.”
Niccolo Machiavelli.

 “When firearms go, all goes. We need them every hour.”
George Washington.


“The State, in its criminal code, forbids citizens to have firearms or other weapons, but does not undertake to defend them.”

Alexander Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago.

“I blame the deaths of my parents on those legislators who deny me my right to defend myself.”
Dr. Suzanna Gratia Hupp (referring to the incident at Luby’s cafe in Killeen, TX, in which a murderer killed her parents and 22 other people in her presence).


“The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to permit the conquered Eastern peoples to have arms. History teaches us that all conquerors who have allowed their subject races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by doing so.”
Adolph Hitler, Hitler’s Table-Talk at the Fuhrer’s Headquarters, 1941-1942.

 “Those who can not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
George Santayana.

 “Gun registration is not enough.”

Attorney General, Janet Reno, December 10, 1993 (A.P.).

 “The most effective means of fighting crime in the United States is to outlaw the possession of any type of firearm by the civilian population.”
Attorney General, Janet Reno, 1991 speech to B’nai B’rith in Fort Lauderdale (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, August 25, 1996, p. 3B).

 “What good does it do to ban some guns? All guns should be banned.”
Sen. Howard Metzanbaum.

 “Our task of creating a socialist America can only succeed when those who would resist us have been totally disarmed.”
Sara Brady, Chairman, Handgun Control, to Sen.Howard Metzanbaum, The National Educator, January 1994, p. 3.

 “We’re going to have to take this one step at a time, and the first step is necessarily— given the political realities— going to be very modest. Our ultimate goal—total control of all guns—is going to take time. The first problem is to slow down the increasing number of handguns being produced and sold in this country. The second problem is to get handguns registered, and the final problem is to make possession of all handguns, and all handgun ammunition totally illegal.”
Nelson T. (Pete) Shields, III, founding Chair of Handgun Control, Inc.

 “The only real justification (for the assault weapons ban) is not to reduce crime but to desensitize the public to the regulation of weapons in preparation for their ultimate confiscation.”
Charles Krauthammer, “To Control Crime, Control Guns” (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, April 7, 1996, p.3B, emphasis added).


 “There are more instances of abridgment of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments…than by violent and sudden usurpations.”
James Madison, June 16, 1788.

 “All military type firearms are to be handed in immediately…The S.S., S.A., and Stahlhelm give every respectable German man the opportunity of campaigning with them, therefore, anyone who does not belong to one of the above organizations and who unjustifiably keeps his weapon…must be regarded as an enemy of the national government.”
SA Oberfuhrer of Bad Tolz (March, 1933).

 “I see creeping fascism in America, just as in Germany, a drip at a time: a law here, a law there, all supposedly passed to protect the public. The German people really believed that only hoodlums owned such (unregistered) guns. What fools we were. It truly frightens me to see how the government, media, and some police groups in America are pushing for the same mindset.”
Theodore Haas, survivor of Dachau and the Holocaust.

 “The authority of the (state) is not limited by checks and controls, by special autonomous bodies or individual rights. The concept of personal liberties of the individual as opposed to the authority of the state had to disappear. There are no personal liberties of the individual which fall outside of the realm of the state. The Constitution is therefore not based upon a system of inborn and inalienable rights of the individual.”
Ernst Huber, 1933 speech to National Socialist Workers (NAZI) Party, quoted in The Ominous Parallels, Leonard Peikoff (Stein & Day, N.Y. 1982) p.6.

 “Citizens! Turn in your weapons.”
English translation of Soviet Union Poster (1919).

 “Armas para que?” (“Guns for what?”)
Fidel Castro, 1959, in a speech urging the people to turn in their guns because they were no longer needed with him in control.

 “In today’s Cuba, only those who hold absolute power over the people are armed.”

Max Jorge (Cuban exile).


 Contrast with: “There is only one fundamental right (all the others are its consequences or corollaries): A man’s right to his own life. The Bill of Rights was not directed against private citizens, but against the government— as an explicit declaration that individ-ual rights supersede any public or social power.”
Ayn Rand, “Man’s Rights,” The Virtue of Selfishness, at 108, 110-112 (Signet Books, N.Y., 1970).

 “The strength of the Constitution lies entirely in the determination of each citizen to defend it. Only if every single citizen feels duty bound to do his share in this defense are constitutional rights secure.”
Albert Einstein.

 “The right of the citizens to bear arms is just one more guarantee against arbit-rary government, one more safeguard against a tyranny which now appears remote in America, but which historically had proved to be always possible.”
Senator Hubert Humphrey.

 “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.”
Ronald Reagan.


 “You need only reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go around repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in their struggle for independence.”
Charles A. Beard.


 Thomas Jefferson carefully hand-copied the following passage into his personal journal from renown 18th century criminologist, Cesare Beccaria, On Crimes and Punishment, 87-88 (Henry Palolucci trans., 1964. 1764). Beccaria is generally regarded as the founder of criminology. The complete quotation, without editing:

 “False is the idea of utility that sacrifices a thousand real advantages for one imaginary of trifling inconvenience; that would take fire from men because it burns, and water because one may drown in it; that has no remedy for evil, except destruction. The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature. They disarm those only who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. Can it be supposed that those who have the courage to violate the most sacred laws of humanity, the most important of the code, will respect the less important and arbitrary ones, which can be violated with ease and impunity, and which, if strictly obeyed, would put an end to personal liberty — so dear to men, so dear to the enlightened legislator — and subject innocent persons to all the vexations that the guilty alone ought to suffer? Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man. They ought to be designated as laws not preventive but fearful of crimes, produced by the tumultuous impression of a few isolated facts, and not by thoughtful consideration of the inconveniences and advantages of a universal decree.” (Emphasis added.)



 Second Continental Congress July 4, 1776

 “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
 Unanimous Declaration of the Second Continental Congress.

Join the conversation as a VIP Member