Nemo Me Impune Lacessit

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Quote of the Day for 23 November 2010

Filed under: Politics, Quote of the Day, Resistance, Self-Defense — mikewb1971 @ 1:01 AM (01:01)

“That the people and the States should, for a sufficient period of time, elect an uninterrupted succession of men ready to betray both; that the traitors should, throughout this period, uniformly and systematically pursue some fixed plan for the extension of the military establishment; that the governments and the people of the States should silently and patiently behold the gathering storm and continue to supply the materials until it should be prepared to burst on their own heads must appear to everyone more like the incoherent dreams of a delirious jealousy, or the misjudged exaggerations of a counterfeit zeal, than like the sober apprehensions of genuine patriotism. Extravagant as the supposition is, let it, however, be made. Let a regular army, fully equal to the resources of the country, be formed; and let it be entirely at the devotion of the federal government: still it would not be going too far to say that the State governments with the people on their side would be able to repel the danger. . . . This proportion would not yield, in the United States, an army of more than twenty-five or thirty thousand men.[1] To these would be opposed a militia amounting to near half a million of citizens with arms in their hands . . . . It may well be doubted whether a militia thus circumstanced could ever be conquered by such a proportion of regular troops. . . . Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments . . . forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of. Notwithstanding the military establishments in the severl kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms. . . . Let us not insult the free and gallant citizens of America with the suspicion that they would be less able to defend the rights of which they would be in actual possession than the debased subjects of arbitrary power would be to rescue theirs from the hands of their oppressors. Let us rather no longer insult them with the supposition that they can ever reduce themselves to the necessity of making the experiment by a blind and tame submission to the long train of insidious measures which must precede and produce it.”

James Madison, The Federalist No. 46


  1. Estimated as of 1787
  2. The Federalist papers were written after the main body of the Constitution had been drafted, but before the Bill of Rights had been added. The Federalist writers strongly supported the Constitution, and considered a Bill of Rights as being:
    1. Unnecessary, because the Federal government would be granted only the few powers explicitly stated in the Constitution
    2. Dangerous, for enumeration of specific rights would only tempt Federal authorities to seize power up to the limits of those rights.

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