|Declaration of Independence|
When in the Course of human Events, it becomes necessary for one People to dissolve the Political Bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the Separation.
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, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient Causes; and accordingly all Experience hath shewn, that Mankind are more disposed to suffer, while Evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the Forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long Train of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a Design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future Security. Such has been the patient Sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the Necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The History of the present King of Great-Britain is a History of repeated Injuries and Usurpations, all having in direct Object the Establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid World.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public Good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing Importance, unless suspended in their Operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the Accommodation of large Districts of People, unless those People would relinquish the Right of Representation in the Legislature, a Right inestimable to them, and formidable to Tyrants only.
He has called together Legislative Bodies at Places unusual, uncomfortable , and distant from the Depository of their Public Records, for the sole Purpose of fatiguing them into Compliance with his Measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly Firmness his Invasions on the Rights of the People.
He has refused for a long Time, after such Dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the Dangers of Invasion from without, and Convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the Population of these States; for that Purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their Migrations hither, and raising the Conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the Tenure of their Offices, and the Amount and payment of their Salaries.
He has erected a Multitude of new Offices, and sent hither Swarms of Officers to harrass our People, and eat out their Substance.
He has kept among us, in Times of Peace, Standing Armies, without the consent of our Legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of, and superior to the Civil Power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a Jurisdiction foreign to our Constitution, and unacknowledged by out Laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For quartering large Bodies of Armed Troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from Punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For Cutting off our Trade with all Parts of the World:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us, in many Cases, of the Benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended Offences:
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an arbitrary Government, and enlarging its Boundaries, so as to render it at once an Example and fit Instrument for introducing the same absolute Rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with Power to legislate for us in all Cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our Seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the Lives of our People.
He is, at this Time, transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of Death, Desolation, and Tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty and Perfidy, scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous Ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized Nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the Executioners of their Friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic Insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the Inhabitants of our Frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known Rule of Warfare, is an undistinguished Destruction, of all Ages, Sexes and Conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions we have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble Terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated Injury. A Prince, whose Character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the Ruler of a free People.
Nor have we been wanting in Attentions to our British Brethren. We have warned them from Time to Time of Attempts by their Legislature to extend an unwarrantable Jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the Circumstances of our Emigration and Settlement here. We have appealed to their native Justice and Magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the Ties of our common Kindred to disavow these Usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our Connections and Correspondence. They too have been deaf to the Voice of Justice and of Consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the Necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of Mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace, Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the World for the Rectitude of our Intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly Publish and Declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be, Free and Independent States; that they are absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political Connection between them and the State of Great-Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm Reliance on the Protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.
JOHN HANCOCK, President Attest. CHARLES THOMSON, Secretary. SIGNERS Adams, John MA Lawyer Adams, Samuel MA Political leader Bartlett, Josiah NH Physician, Judge Braxton, Carter VA Farmer Carroll, Charles of Carrollton MD Lawyer Chase, Samuel MD Judge Clark, Abraham NJ Surveyor Clymer, George PA Merchant Ellery, William RI Lawyer Floyd, William NY Soldier Franklin, Benjamin PA Printer, Publisher Gerry, Elbridge MA Merchant Gwinnett, Button GA Merchant Hall, Lyman GA Physician Hancock, John MA Merchant Harrison, Benjamin VA Farmer Hart, John NJ Farmer Hewes, Joseph NC Merchant Heyward, Thomas Jr. SC Lawyer, Farmer Hooper, William NC Lawyer Hopkins, Stephen RI Judge, Educator Hopkinson, Francis NJ Judge, Author Huntington, Samuel CT Judge Jefferson, Thomas VA Lawyer Lee, Francis Lightfoot VA Farmer Lee, Richard Henry VA Farmer Lewis, Francis NY Merchant Livingston, Philip NY Merchant Lynch, Thomas Jr. SC Farmer McKean, Thomas DE Lawyer Middleton, Arthur SC Farmer Morris, Lewis NY Farmer Morris, Robert PA Merchant Morton, John PA Judge Nelson, Thomas Jr. VA Farmer Paca, William MD Judge Paine, Robert Treat MA Judge Penn, John NC Lawyer Read, George DE Judge Rodney, Caesar DE Judge Ross, George PA Judge Rush, Benjamin PA Physician Rutledge, Edward SC Lawyer Sherman, Roger CT Lawyer Smith, James PA Lawyer Stockton, Richard NJ Lawyer Stone, Thomas MD Lawyer Taylor, George PA Ironmaster Thornton, Matthew NH Physician Walton, George GA Judge Whipple, William NH Merchant, Judge Williams, William CT Merchant Wilson, James PA Judge Witherspoon, John NJ Clergyman, Educator Wolcott, Oliver CT Judge Wythe, George VA Lawyer
THE PRICE OF FREEDOM
The Signers of The Constitution
On July 4, 1776, delegates to the Continental Congress voted to accept the declaration of Independence in Philadelphia’s Independence Hall. On August 2, fifty-six men signed their names to the historic document, giving birth to a new nation as they declared their independence from Great Britain.
Have you ever wondered what happened to the men who signed the Declaration of Independence? Who were these "super-patriots"? Most were well-educated, prosperous businessmen and professionals. Two dozen were lawyers or judges; nine were farmers or plantation owners; eleven were merchants. Among them were also physicians, politicians, educators, and a minister; several were sons of pastors.
Here is the documented fate of that gallant fifty-six.
Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader saw his ships swept from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts. (The Lives of The Signers of The Declaration of Independence, N. Dwight, 1840, pp. 321-324; Lives of The Signers to The Declaration of Independence, C. Goodrich, 1841, pp. 418-421)
Thomas Nelson, Jr., of Virginia, raised $2 million to supply our French allies by offering his property as collateral. Because he was never reimbursed by the struggling new government, he was unable to repay the note when it came due – wiping out his entire estate. In the final battle of Yorktown, Nelson urged George Washington to fire on his home as it was occupied by British General Cornwallis. Nelson’s home was destroyed, leaving him bankrupt when he died. (The Lives of The Signers of The Declaration of Independence, N. Dwight, 1840, pp. 309-318; Lives of The Signers to The Declaration of Independence, C. Goodrich, 1841, pp. 410-415)
Thomas McKean was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in the congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward. (The Lives of The Signers of The Declaration of Independence, N. Dwight, 1840, pp. 237-244; Lives of The Signers to The Declaration of Independence, C. Goodrich, 1841, pp. 323-337)
Vandals and enemy soldiers looted the properties of Bartlett, Ellery, Clymer, Hall, Gwinnet, Walton, Heyward, Rutledge, and Middleton; the latter four captured and imprisoned. (Ibid., Bartlett, pp. 1-8; pp. 131-138; Ellery pp. 71-76; pp. 153-157; Clymer pp. 190-198; pp. 284-291; Hall pp. 362-366; pp. 455-457; Gwinnet pp. 358-362; pp. 452-455; Walton pp. 366-373; pp. 458-460; Heyward pp. 341-346; pp. 440-443; Rutledge pp. 336-341; pp. 436-440; Middleton pp. 353-357; pp. 447-451)
Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed and his wife imprisoned. She later died from the brutal treatment she received. (The Lives of The Signers of The Declaration of Independence, N. Dwight, 1840, pp. 109-112; Lives of The Signers to The Declaration of Independence, C. Goodrich, 1841, pp. 193-197)
After signing the Declaration, Richard Stockton, a State Supreme Court Justice, rushed back to his estate near Princeton in an effort to save his wife and children. Although he and his family found refuge with friends, a Tory betrayed him. Judge Stockton was pulled from bed in the night and beaten by British soldiers. Then he was jailed and deliberately starved. After his release, with his home burned and all of his possessions destroyed, he and his family were forced to live off charity. (The Lives of The Signers of The Declaration of Independence, N. Dwight, 1840, pp. 118-125; Lives of The Signers to The Declaration of Independence, C. Goodrich, 1841, pp. 204-211)
John Hart was driven from his wife’s bedside as she was dying. Their thirteen children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill were laid to waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished. His health gradually failed him; and though he lived to see brighter prospects opening before his country, he died before the contest was ended from exhaustion and a broken heart. (The Lives of The Signers of The Declaration of Independence, N. Dwight, 1840, pp. 138-143; Lives of The Signers to The Declaration of Independence, C. Goodrich, 1841, pp. 225-229)
Lewis Morris and Philip Livingston suffered fates similar to Hart’s. (Ibid., Morris pp. 112-118; pp. 193-197; Livingston pp. 104-109; pp. 186-192)
John Hancock, one of the wealthiest men in New England, stood outside Boston one terrible evening of the war and said, Burn Boston, and make John Hancock a beggar, if the public good requires it! He lost most of his fortune during the war, having given over $100,000 to the cause of freedom. (The Hundred Boston Orators, 1853, p. 77; The Lives of The Signers of The Declaration of Independence, N. Dwight, 1840, pp. 18-28; Lives of The Signers to The Declaration of Independence, C. Goodrich, 1841, pp. 71-81)
Caesar Rodney, Delaware statesman, was gravely ill with facial cancer. But instead of returning to England for treatment, he chose to remain in America for the cause of freedom, a decision that would eventually cost him his life. Rodney sealed his fate by signing the Declaration of Independence. He was one of several who fulfilled their pledge with their lives. (The Lives of The Signers of The Declaration of Independence, N. Dwight, 1840, pp. 222-231; Lives of The Signers to The Declaration of Independence, C. Goodrich, 1841, pp. 313-319)
As a captain in the Continental Army, Nathan Hale volunteered to penetrate enemy lines to spy for the American cause. He was captured by the British. On the day of his execution by hanging in September 1776, Hale spoke these last words: My only regret in dying is that I have but one poor life to lose for my country. (Nathan Hale, The Martyr Spy, An Incident of The Revolution, Charles W. Brown, 1899, pp. 88-90)
In all, five of the fifty-six were captured by the British and tortured. Twelve had their homes ransacked, looted, confiscated by the enemy, or burned to the ground. Seventeen lost their fortunes. Two lost their sons in the army; another had two sons captured. Nine of the fifty-six lost their lives as a result of the war, suffering untimely deaths either from wounds or hardships inflicted by the enemy.
These were only a few of the examples of the sacrifices made by those fifty-six courageous men who boldly pledged their all to support the Declaration of Independence. Of those who took the pledge to defend the sovereignty of their nation and the liberty of its people, many were forced to pay a heavy price before that bold vision could be realized.
It is important to remember this about them: despite the hardships they encountered -- regardless of the heavy price exacted by that pledge -- not a single one of them defected or failed to honor his pledge. These men of means, prosperity, and security, who enjoyed much ease and luxury in their personal living, considered liberty to be so much more important than security that they pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor. And they fulfilled that pledge. And freedom was born.
The Bill of Rights of The United States of America, Amendment II states:A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. The first ten amendments to the Constitution, adopted 4 March 1789, ratified 15 December 1791.
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...[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. [emphasis added]
--- Tench Coxe, The Pennsylvania Gazette, Feb. 20, 1788.
The constitutions of most of our States assert, that all power is inherent in the people; that they may exercise it by themselves, in all cases to which they think themselves competent (as in electing their functionaries, executive and legislative, and deciding by a jury of themselves, in all judiciary cases in which any fact is involved), or they may act by representatives, freely and equally chosen; that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed;
--- Thomas Jefferson to John Cartwright, 1824. Memoir, Correspondence, And Miscellanies: From The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Vol. IV, 1830, p. 395
Militias, when properly formed, are in fact the people themselves and include all men capable of bearing arms....[W]hereas, 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;...
--- Richard Henry Lee, The Pennsylvania Gazette, Feb. 20, 1788.
No freeman shall be debarred the use of arms.
--- Thomas Jefferson: Draft Virginia Constitution, 1776. The Jeffersonian Cyclopedia, 1900, p. 51
And that the said Constitution be never 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, in "Phila. Independent Gazetteer", August 20, 1789; The Life and Public Services of Samuel Adams, Vol. III, 1865, p. 267
The right of self-defense is the first law of nature: in most governments it has been the study of rulers to confine this right within the narrowest limits possible. Wherever standing armies are kept up, and when the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any color or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction.
--- St. George Tucker (in Blackstone's Commentaries, St. George Tucker, 1803, p. 300)
Are we at last brought to such an humiliating and debasing degradation, that we cannot be trusted with arms for our own defense? Where is the difference between having our arms in our own possession and under our own direction, and having them under the management of Congress? If our defense be the real object of having those arms, in whose hands can they be trusted with more propriety, or equal safety to us, as in our own hands?
--- Patrick Henry Patrick Henry; Life, Correspondence and Speeches, Vol. III, 1891, p. 494
[The Constitution preserves] the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation....[where] the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.
--- James Madison, in Federalist 46, The Federalist, on The New Constitution, Vol. I, 1802, p. 316.
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 the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretence, raised in the United States. A military force, at the command of Congress, can execute no laws, but such as the people perceive to be just and constitutional; for they will possess the power, and jealousy will instantly inspire the inclination, to resist the execution of a law which appears to them unjust and oppressive.
--- Noah Webster, (Philadelphia 1787) Pamphlets on the Constitution of the United States, 1888, p. 56
A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercises, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise and independence to the mind. Games played with the ball, and others of that nature, are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun therefore be your constant companion of your walks.
--- Thomas Jefferson to Peter Carr, 1785. Memoir, Correspondence, And Miscellanies: From The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Vol. I, 1830, p. 287
[O]ne loves to possess arms, though they hope never to have occasion for them.
--- Thomas Jefferson to George Washington, 1796. Memoir, Correspondence, And Miscellanies: From The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Vol. III, 1830, p. 331
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 inevitably ruined.
--- Patrick Henry Life of Patrick Henry, William Wirt, 1817, p. 273
They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.
--- Benjamin Franklin, Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Benjamin Franklin, London, 1818
[W]hen the resolution of enslaving America was formed in Great Britain, the British Parliament was advised by an artful man, 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 weaken them, and let them sink gradually....
--- George Mason, speech of June 14, 1788, The Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution, Vol. III, p. 380
Why should we not provide against the danger of having our militia, our real and natural strength, destroyed? The general government ought, at the same time, to have some such power. But we need not give them power to abolish our militia.... They may effect the destruction of the militia, by rendering the service odious to the people themselves, by harassing them from one end of the continent to the other, and by keeping them under martial law.
--- George Mason, speech of June 14, 1788, The Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution, Vol. III, p. 380
One of the ordinary modes, by which tyrants accomplish their purposes without resistance, is by disarming the people, and making it an offense to keep arms, and by substituting a regular army in the stead of a resort to the Militia. The friends of a free Government cannot be too watchful, to overcome the dangerous tendency of the public mind to sacrifice to mere private convenience this powerful check upon the designs of ambitious men.
--- Constitutional scholar and Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story (The Constitutional Class Book by Joseph Story LL. D., 1834, p. 149)
Adolf Hitler understood this concept well and used it to control and slaughter millions of people. After having occupied Russian territory Hitler said: The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to permit the conquered Eastern peoples to have arms. History teaches that all conquerors who have allowed their subject races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by doing so.
--- Adolf Hitler, April 11, 1942, quoted in Hitlers Tischegesprache Im Fuhrerhauptquartier 1941-1942. [Hitler's Table-Talk at the Fuhrer's Headquarters 1941-1942], Dr. Henry Picker, ed. (Athenaum-Verlag, Bonn, 1951) (Hitler's Secret Conversations 403 (Norman Cameron and R.H. Stevens trans., 1961)
Even the father of non-violent resistance, Mahatma Gandhi, understood the dangers of a ban on possessing arms and spoke out against gun-control: Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the act of depriving a whole nation of arms, as the blackest.
--- Mahatma Gandhi, GANDHI: An autobiography. The story of my experiments with Truth, p. 446
No clause in the Constitution could by any rule of construction be conceived to give to Congress a power to disarm the people. Such a flagitious attempt could only be made under some general pretense by a state legislature. But if in any blind pursuit of inordinate power, either should attempt it, this amendment may be appealed to as a restraint on both.
--- William Rawle, A View of the Constitution of the United States of America, 2nd Ed., 1829, pp. 125, 126
As civil rulers, not having their duty to the people before them, may attempt to tyrannize, and as the military forces which must be occasionally raised to defend our country, might pervert their power to the injury of their fellow citizens, the people are confirmed by the article in their right to keep and bear their private arms.
--- Tench Coxe in 'Remarks on the First Part of the Amendments to the Federal Constitution' under the Pseudonym 'A Pennsylvanian' in the Philadelphia Federal Gazette, June 18, 1789 at 2 col. 1)
Little more can reasonably be aimed at, with respect to the people at large, than to have them properly armed and equipped;...
[I]f circumstances should at any time oblige the government to form an army of any magnitude, that army can never be formidable to the liberties of the people, while there is a large body of citizens, little, if at all, inferior to them in discipline and the use of arms, who stand ready to defend their own rights....
--- Alexander Hamilton speaking of standing armies in Federalist 29, The Federalist, on The New Constitution, Vol. I, 1802, pp. 185,186
The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them.
--- Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story of the John Marshall Court, (A Familiar Exposition of The Constitution of The United States by Joseph Story LL. D., 1840, p. 265)
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 in a letter to William S. Smith, 1787. Memoir, Correspondence, And Miscellanies: From The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Vol. II, 1830, p. 268
If ever the Time should come, when vain & aspiring Men shall possess the highest Seats in Government, our Country will stand in Need of its experienced Patriots to prevent its Ruin.
--- Samuel Adams, Letter to James Warren, 12 February 1779, The Writings of Samuel Adams - Volume 4
If we love wealth better than liberty, the tranquillity of servitude, than the animating contest of freedomgo from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.
--- Samuel Adams, Speech at the State House of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, 1 August 1776, Orations of American Orators, 1900
Roger Sherman, during House consideration of a militia bill (1790), [C]onceived it to be the privilege of every citizen, and one of his most essential rights, to bear arms, and to resist every attack upon his liberty or property, by whomsoever made. The particular states, like private citizens, have a right to be armed, and to defend, by force of arms, their rights, when invaded.
--- 14 Debates in the House of Representatives, ed. Linda Grand De Pauw. (Balt., Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 1972), 92-3.
Certainly one of the chief guarantees of freedom under any government, no matter how popular and respected, is the right of the citizens to keep and bear arms. [...] the right of the citizens to bear arms is just one guarantee against arbitrary government and one more safeguard against a tyranny which now appears remote in America, but which historically has proved to be always possible.
--- Hubert H. Humphrey, 1960
According to the National Crime Survey administered by the Bureau of the Census and the National Institute of Justice, it was found that only 12 percent of those who use a gun to resist assault are injured, as are 17 percent of those who use a gun to resist robbery. These percentages are 27 and 25 percent, respectively, if they passively comply with the felon's demands. Three times as many were injured if they used other means of resistance.
--- G. Kleck, "Policy Lessons from Recent Gun Control Research," Law and Contemporary Problems 49, no. 1. (Winter 1986.): 35-62.
If gun laws in fact worked, the sponsors of this type of legislation should have no difficulty drawing upon long lists of examples of criminal acts reduced by such legislation. That they cannot do so after a century and a half of trying -- that they must sweep under the rug the southern attempts at gun control in the 1870-1910 period, the northeastern attempts in the 1920-1939 period, the attempts at both Federal and State levels in 1965-1976 -- establishes the repeated, complete and inevitable failure of gun laws to control serious crime.
--- Senator Orrin Hatch, in a 1982 Senate Report
The conclusion is thus inescapable that the history, concept, and wording of the second amendment to the Constitution of the United States, as well as its interpretation by every major commentator and court in the first half-century after its ratification, indicates that what is protected is an individual right of a private citizen to own and carry firearms in a peaceful manner.
--- Report of the Subcommittee On The Constitution of the Committee On The Judiciary, United States Senate, 97th Congress, second session (February, 1982), SuDoc# Y4.J 89/2: Ar 5/5
In recent years it has been suggested that the Second Amendment protects the "collective" right of states to maintain militias, while it does not protect the right of "the people" to keep and bear arms. If anyone entertained this notion in the period during which the Constitution and the Bill of Rights were debated and ratified, it remains one of the most closely guarded secrets of the eighteenth century, for no known writing surviving from the period between 1787 and 1791 states such a thesis.
--- Stephen P. Halbrook, "That Every Man Be Armed", 1984
The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government - lest it come to dominate our lives and interests.
--- Patrick Henry, Pocket Patriot, 2005, p. 52
I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power, than by violent and sudden usurpations;
--- James Madison (Speech in the Virginia Ratifying Convention on Control of the Military, June 16, 1788 in: History of the Virginia Federal Convention of 1788, vol. 1, p. 130 (H.B. Grigsby ed. 1890) The Debates in The Several State Conventions on The Adoption of The Federal Constitution, Vol. III, 1888, p. 87
Congress....may carry on the most wicked and pernicious of schemes under the dark veil of secrecy. The liberties of a people never were nor ever will be secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them.
--- Patrick Henry Life, Correspondence and Speeches, Vol. 3, 1891, p. 496
An appeal to arms and the God of Hosts is all that is left us! It is vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry peace, peace; but there is no peace. The war is actually begun. The next gale that comess from the north, will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field. Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or death!
--- Patrick Henry (Speech delivered before the Virginia Convention of Delegates, March 23, 1775 A Biography of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence, 1839, p. 309)
Dr. Suzanna Hupp Testimony Before Congress on the 2nd Amendment
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The Constitution of The United States of America, Article VI, paragraph two, states:This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding. [emphasis added]The following was taken from:
HANDBOOK OF AMERICAN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW
by Henry Campbell Black (Constitutional Scholar and Author of Black's Law Dictionary), 4th ed. 1927(Page 103)Are Federal, State and Local Officials Violating Their Sacred Oaths of Allegiance to the U.S. Constitution?
LIMITATIONS ON JUDICIAL POWERThe judicial department can neither make nor execute the laws, nor interfere with either of the departments in the constitutional discharge of its powers and duties, nor can judges be charged with the performance of non-judicial duties.Courts Cannot Make or Amend Laws
The judicial department cannot legislate; its duty is to interpret and apply the statutes (if constitutional) exactly as they stand. Even in
the performance of this duty the courts must not attempt to make law. A construction of a statute contrary to its obvious meaning is an encroachment on the legislature. Neither can the courts amend statutes, however worthy the object to be effected or however evil the consequences to be averted. Though a statute may be imperfect, lacking in detail, or impracticable, the courts have no power to remedy the defects. And a court must not write into a statute an exception which the legislature did not make, and on the other hand, a casus omissus [case omitted] does not justify judicial legislation. Nor can the courts inflict any penalties for acts which the legislature has not declared to be a crime.
..., nor can they lawfully enjoin the passage of a statute or ordinance or undertake to prevent the enactment of unconstitutional laws. [emphasis added]
THE POLICE POWERThe police power of a state is the inherent sovereign authority under which its legislature may, within constitutional limits, prescribe laws and regulations to safeguard the safety, health, and morals of the people, prevent fraud and oppression, and promote the public convenience, prosperity, and general welfare. [emphasis added](Page 370)
The police power is an attribute of government fundamentally necessary to the public safety, but so easily perverted as to be extremely dangerous to the rights and the liberty of the citizen. Even when properly defined and limited, it is so far-reaching in its importance and so paramount in its sway, even as against guarantied private rights, that its enlargement, by continual loose applications of the term to cases where it is neither needed nor appropriate, is a serious menace to personal freedom."[T]he Constitution controls any legislative act repugnant to it....a legislative act contrary to the Constitution is not law....an act of the Legislature repugnant to the Constitution is void." (Marbury v. Madison, (Chief Justice Marshall, U.S. Supreme Court, 1803. 1 Cranch's Reports, 137-180), pp. 32,33.)In a September 1859 speech at Cincinnati, Ohio, Abraham Lincoln said,
"It is also not entirely unworthy of observation that, in declaring what shall be the supreme law of the land, the Constitution itself is first mentioned, and not the laws of the United States generally.... Thus, the particular phraseology of the Constitution of the United States confirms and strengthens the principle, supposed to be essential to all written Constitutions, that a law repugnant to the Constitution is void, and that courts, as well as other departments, are bound by that instrument." (Ibid, pp. 36,37.)"The people of these United States are the rightful masters of both congresses and courts, not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution." (Political Debates Between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas, 1894 p. 315)If the Constitution says one thing and a legislature or judge says something else, a federal, state or local official who is sworn to support the Constitution must follow the Constitution. To do otherwise is to disregard the rule of law. Any act of legislation contrary to the U.S. Constitution, and any attempt to enforce such law, is strictly illegal. Our officials in all sectors of government are engaged in criminal conduct by enforcing unconstitutional laws!
WHAT OF 'POSSE COMITATUS'?
FEDS TRAIN CLERGY TO MISUSE THE BIBLE: Romans 13
Under the pretext of peace and safety America's leaders, at all levels of government, have violated their sacred oaths of office in failing to uphold and defend the United States Constitution, the supreme Law of the Land (U.S. Constitution, Article VI, paragraph II).
The framers of our Constitution established a separation of powers to further protect the people from possible government abuse of power. In his Farewell Address in 1796, George Washington warned his nation against the usurpation of power by one department of government over another. Washington said, It is important, likewise, that the habits of thinking, in a free country, should inspire caution in those intrusted with its administration, to confine themselves within their respective constitutional spheres, avoiding, in the exercise of the power of one department, to encroach upon another. The spirit of encroachment tends to consolidate the powers of all the departments in one, and thus to create, whatever the form of government, a real despotism. A just estimate of that love of power, and proneness to abuse it, which predominates in the human heart, is sufficient to satisfy us of the truth of this position. The necessity of reciprocal checks, in the exercise of political power, by dividing and distributing it into different depositories, and constituting each the guardian of public weal against invasions by the others, has been evinced by experiments ancient and modern; some of them in our country and under our own eyes. (A Biography of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence, L. Carroll Judson, 1839, p. 319).
George Washington also warned the people of the United States against the insidious wiles of foreign influence. Washington said, As avenues to foreign influence in innumerable ways, such attachments are particularly alarming to the truly enlightened and independent patriot. How many opportunities do they afford to tamper with domestic factions, to practice the arts of seduction, to mislead public opinion, to influence or awe the public councils? Such an attachment of a small or weak towards a great and powerful nation dooms the former to be the satellite of the latter. Washington believed that America should have as little political connection as possible with foreign nations. Washington said, The unity of government which constitutes you one people, is also now dear to you. It is justly so; for it is a main pillar in the edifice of your real independence;... But as it is easy to foresee, that from different causes and from different quarters, much pains will be taken, many artifices employed, to weaken in your minds the conviction of this truth; as this is the point in your political fortress against which the batteries of internal and external enemies will be most constantly and actively (though often covertly and insidiously) directed (A Biography of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence, L. Carroll Judson, 1839, pp. 315, 321, 322).
From the highest to the lowest levels of government, America's leaders have sold out their communities and their nation to the interests of foreign governments, world bankers and other foreign entities. Noah Webster defines treason as the offense of attempting to overthrow the government of the state to which the offender owes allegiance, or of betraying the state into the hands of a foreign power.... In the United States, treason is confined to the actual levying of war against the United States, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. (American Dictionary of The English Language, 1828). Are the actions of our leaders not treasonous? Leaders who are willing to turn over U.S. sovereignty to foreign powers? Leaders who are willing to allow private U.S. citizens to be tried and convicted in the wicked tribunal of the World Court? Leaders who are passing unconstitutional hate crime legislation destroying our freedoms? Leaders who have hijacked the role of our Grand Jury and the courtroom jury and, henceforth, embarked on a mission of misinformation, distortions, and blatant lies to convince the American people, and the entire legal community, that it is the government that determines what is right and what is wrong... ? ("Runaway" Grand Juries vs. The Runaway State, Mark S. McGrew). Most of America's elected, hired and appointed officials have sold out their country for personal gain. As Patrick Henry said, Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? (see also Secret Agenda: Law of The Sea Treaty)
Will patriotic Americans sit idly while our elected and appointed officials destroy our Constitution? Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia wrote, Day by day, case by case, the Supreme Court is busy designing a Constitution for a country I do not recognize. Will we allow Congress to continue to pass unconstitutional laws, such as hate crime laws, and revert back to the dark ages when it was a criminal offense, punishable by excommunication or death, to even utter a word that was not in conformity with the ruling political/religious hierarchy? Patrick Henry said, I know of no way of judging the future but by the past. (A Biography of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence, 1839, p. 308). Nero, Marcus Aurelius, Diocletion, the Saxons, the Danes, the Normans, Kings Henry the IV, V, and VIII, and Queen (Bloody) Mary, who were among the many Roman emperors, English monarchs and others that destroyed scriptures made from the time of the apostles, the charge against Christians and their scriptures was odio humani generis, Latin for hate crimes (lit. hatred of the human race). There is an agenda behind hate crime laws. Hate-crime legislation is an attempt at thought control. It is another tool in the arsenal of the ruling elite to divide and conquer the nations and peoples of the world. It is one more nail in the coffin to bury our freedoms freedom of thought, of conscience, of religion and of speech. Thanks to unconstitutional hate crime laws in our once free and enlightened nation, simple civil offenses are now considered felony crimes. A time of gross darkness is enveloping the earth (Jer. 13:16; Joel 2:2; Zeph. 1:15). Poet George Santayana said, Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. (The Life of Reason, George Santayana, 1917, p. 284).
The nineteenth century Constitutional scholar and Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story said, This constitution of government, must perish, if there be not that vital spirit in the people which alone can nourish, sustain, and direct all its movements. It is in vain that statesmen shall form plans of government in which the beauty and harmony of a republic shall be embodied in visible order, shall be built upon solid substructions, and adorned by every useful ornament, if the inhabitants suffer the silent power of time to dilapidate its walls or crumble its massy supporters into dust, if the assaults from without are never resisted and the rottenness and mining from within are never guarded against. Who can preserve the rights and liberties of a people when they shall be abandoned by themselves? Who shall keep watch in the temple when the watchmen sleep at their post? Who shall call upon the people to redeem their possessions and revive the republic, when their own hands have deliberately and corruptly surrendered them to the oppressor and have built the prisons or dug the graves of their own friends ? This dark picture, it is to be hoped, will never be applicable to the republic of America. And yet it affords a warning, which, like all the lessons of past experience, we are not permitted to disregard.(Christian Life and Character of the Civil Institutions of the United States, 1864, p. 269)
Congregationalist minister and Harvard graduate, Jonathan Mayhew, is considered by many to be the prophet of the American Revolution. In 1750 Mayhew published a sermon entitled A Discourse Concerning Unlimited Submission and Non-Resistance to the Higher Powers in which he addressed the issue of obedience to a higher authority as required by Romans 13, stating, That no civil rulers are to be obeyed when they enjoin things that are inconsistent with the commands of God.... All commands running counter to the declared will of the Supreme Legislator of heaven and earth are null and void, and therefore disobedience to them is a duty, not a crime. Mayhew continued: From whence it follows, that as soon as the prince sets himself up above law, he loses the king in the tyrant. He does, to all intents and purposes, unking himself by acting out of and beyond that sphere which the constitution allows him to move in; and in such cases he has no more right to be obeyed than any inferior officer who acts beyond his commission.(A Discourse Concerning Unlimited Submission and Non-Resistance to the Higher Powers, Jonathan Mayhew, 1750, pp. 37, 38, 45)
In his famous speech at Richmond, Virginia, March 23, 1775, American patriot Patrick Henry said, This is no time for ceremony. The question before the house is one of awful moment to this country. For my own part, I consider it as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery; and in proportion to the magnitude of the subject ought to be the freedom of the debate. It is only in this way that we can hope to arrive at truth, and fulfil the great responsibility which we hold to God and our country. Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offence, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the Majesty of Heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings.(American Patriotism: Speeches, Letters, and Other Papers, 1880, p. 108)
In 1851 The Family Christian Almanac stated: If truth be not diffused, error will be; if God and His Word are not known and received, the devil and his works will gain the ascendancy. (The Family Christian Almanac for the United States, 1851, p. 34). Daniel Webster stated that If we and our posterity shall be true to the Christian religion, —if we and they shall live always in the fear of God and shall respect his commandments,... —we may have the highest hopes of the future fortunes of our country;... But if we and our posterity neglect religious instruction and authority, violate the rules of eternal justice, trifle with the injunctions of morality, and recklessly destroy the political constitution which holds us together, no man can tell how sudden a catastrophe may overwhelm us that shall bury all our glory in profound obscurity.(Christian Life and Character of the Civil Institutions of the United States, 1864, p. 270).
Historian Charles A. Goodrich said in 1830, Thus it is evident that wickedness and infidelity are certainly, though sometimes slowly, punished by Him who is just, although merciful: and if he has hitherto graciously refrained from visiting the sins of this nation with the punishment which they deserve, let us not be vain of that exemption: let us not attribute it to any merit of our own; but rather let it afford an additional motive to our gratitude and praise; let us unfeignedly thank him for his tender mercies daily vouchsafed to us; (Book Of Martyrs, 1830, pp.66,67). The apostle Paul said, For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. (I Thess. 5:3). The apostle Peter said, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. (Acts 2:40).
Our only hope is to uphold and defend the U. S. Constitution, the supreme Law of the Land, and repent of our sins and return to the God of our Founding Fathers, the God of the Bible. Our U.S. house of representatives summed it up well in a resolve passed in 1854: Whereas, The people of these United States, from their earliest history to the present time, have been led by the hand of a kind Providence, and are indebted for the countless blessings of the past and present, and dependent for continued prosperity in the future upon Almighty God; and whereas the great vital and conservative element in our system is the belief of our people in the pure doctrines and divine truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ, it eminently becomes the representatives of a people so highly favored to acknowledge in the most public manner their reverence for God: (Christian Life and Character of The Civil Institutions of The United States, Benjamin F. Morris, 1864, pp. 327, 328). Daniel Webster said in a speech on June 3, 1834, God grants liberty only to those who love it, and are always ready to guard and defend it. (Speeches and Forensic Arguments, Daniel Webster, Vol. II, p. 363).
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