Second Amendment & Freedom Quotes
(And Others)


"No freeman shall be debarred the use of arms..." - Thomas Jefferson

"...The people have the right to bear arms for the defense of themselves and the state..." - Pennyslvania Declaration of 1776

"Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are ruined." -Patrick Henry

"I ask sir, who is the militia? It is the whole people...To disarm the people, that is the best and most effective way to enslave them..." - George Mason

"Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom; it is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves." - William Pitt, 1783

"Americans [have] the right and advantage of being armed -- unlike citizens of other countries whose governments are afraid to trust people with arms." - James Madison

"...Arms like laws discourage and keep the invader and the plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property. The balance of power is the scale of peace." -Thomas Paine

"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 cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword because the whole body of 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

"Liberty and order will never be perfectly safe until a trespass on the Constitution provisions for either, shall be felt with the same keenness that resents and invasion of the dearest rights..." - James Madison

"They that give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." -Benjamin Franklin

"Arms in the hands of individual citizens may be used at individual discretion...in private self defense." - John Adams

"Those who reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it." - Thomas Paine

"The great principle is that every man be armed....everyone who is able may have a gun." - Patrick Henry

"Let me add, that a bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth, general or particular; and what no just government should refuse or rest on inference." -Thomas Jefferson: Letter to James Madison, Dec. 20, 1787

"...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 remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify is a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure...." - Thomas Jefferson: Letter to Colonel Smith, Nov. 13, 1787.

"However controversial the meaning of the Second Amendment is today, it was clear enough to the generation of 1789. The amendment assured to the people "...their private arms, ..." said and article which recieved James Madison's approval and was the only analysis available to Congress when it voted. Subsequent contemporaneous analysis is epitomized by the first American commentary on the writings of William Blackstone. Where Blackstone described arms for personal defense as among the "...absolute rights of individuals..." at common law, his eighteenth century American editor commented that this right had beed constitutionalized by the Second Amendment. Early constitutional commentators, including Joseph Story, William Rawle and Thomas M. Cooley, described the amendment in terms of a republican philosophical tradition stemming from Aristotle's observation that basic to tyrants is a "...mistrust of the people; hense they deprive them of arms." Political theorists from Cicero to John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rouseau also held arms possession to be symbolic of personal freedom and vital to the virtuous, self reliant citizenry (defending itself from encroachment by outlaws, tyrants and foreign invaders alike) that they deemed indispensable to poplar government.." - Don B. Kates, Jr., Encyclopedia of the American Constitution, MacMillan Publishing Co, NY, 1986

"The right of the citizens to bear arms is just one more guarantee against arbitrary government, one more safeguard against the tyranny which now appears remote in America, but which historically has proved to be always possilble." - Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey