To disarm the people… was the best and most effectual way to enslave them.
I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people except for a few public officials.
That no free government, nor the blessings of liberty, can be preserved to any people, but by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality, and virtue; by frequent recurrence to fundamental principles; and by the recognition by all citizens that they have duties as well as rights, and that such rights cannot be enjoyed save in a society where law is respected and due process is observed.
Considering the natural lust for power so inherent in man, I fear the thirst of power will prevail to oppress the people.
Don’t wait around for your life to happen to you. Find something that makes you happy, and do it. Because everything else is all just background noise.
We came equals into this world, and equals shall we go out of it.
The freedom of the press is one of the great bulwarks of liberty, and can never be restrained but by despotic governments.
When the resolution of enslaving America was formed in Great Britain, the British parliament was advised by an artful man [Sir William Keith], who was governor of Pennsylvania, to disarm the people. That it was the best and most effectual way to enslave them. But that they should not do it openly; but to weaken them and let them sink gradually, by totally disusing and neglecting the militia.
No point is of more importance than that the right of impeachment should be continued. Shall any man be above Justice?
Government is, or ought to be instituted for the common benefit, protection, and security of the people, nation, or community… when any government shall be found inadequate or contrary to these purposes, a majority of the community hath an indubitable, inalienable, and indefeasible right to reform, alter, or abolish it, in such manner as shall be judged most conducive to the public weal.
Those gentlemen, who will be elected senators, will fix themselves in the federal town, and become citizens of that town more than of your state.
A well-regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defense of a free state; that standing armies, in time of peace, should be avoided as dangerous to liberty; and that in all cases the military should be under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.
The laws of nature are the laws of God, whose authority can be superseded by no power on earth.
All men are created equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights, of which they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; among which are the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing the obtaining of happiness and safety.
That all power of suspending laws, or the execution of laws, by any authority, without consent of the representatives of the people, is injurious to their rights, and ought not to be exercised.
Who are the militia? They consist now of the whole people, except a few public officers. But I cannot say who will be the militia of the future day. If that paper on the table [the Constitution] gets no alteration, the militia of the future day may not consist of all classes, high and low, and rich and poor.
The augmentation of slaves weakens the states; and such a trade is diabolical in itself, and disgraceful to mankind.
The Laws of Nature are the Laws of God, Whose authority can be superseded by no power on earth. A legislature must not obstruct our obedience to Him from whose punishment they cannot protect us. All human constitutions which contradict His laws, we are in conscience bound to disobey.
Nothing so strongly impels a man to regard the interest of his constituents, as the certainty of returning to the general mass of the people, from whence he was taken, where he must participate in their burdens.
Who are the militia, if they be not the people, of this country…? I ask who are the militia? They consist now of the whole people, except a few public officers.
We are now to rank among the nations of the world; but whether our Independence shall prove a blessing or a curse must depend upon our own wisdom or folly, virtue or wickedness…. Justice and virtue are the vital principles of republican government.
All power is lodged in, and consequently derived from, the people. We should wear it as a breastplate, and buckle it on as our armour.
Our All is at Stake, and the little Conveniencys and Comforts of Life, when set in Competition with our Liberty, ought to be rejected not with Reluctance but with Pleasure.
The question then will be, whether a consolidated government can preserve the freedom and secure the rights of the people.
Every master of slaves is born a petty tyrant. They bring the judgment of heaven on a Country. As nations can not be rewarded or punished in the next world they must be in this. By an inevitable chain of causes & effects providence punishes national sins, by national calamities.