The Right of Citizens to Keep and Bear Arms Has Justly Been Considered as the Palladium of the Liberties of a Republic

Joseph Story

“One of the ordinary modes, by which tyrants accomplish their purposes without resistance, is, by disarming the people, and making it an offence 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, for the sake of mere private convenience, this powerful check upon the designs of ambitious men… The militia is the natural defense of a free country against sudden foreign invasions, domestic insurrections, and domestic usurpations of power by rulers.  It is against sound policy for a free people to keep up large military establishments and standing armies in time of peace, both from the enormous expenses, with which they are attended, and the facile means, which they afford to ambitious and unprincipled rulers, to subvert the government, or trample upon the rights of the people.  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 the 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.” – Joseph Story, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, 1833.

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Filed under Bill of Rights, Conservative Principles, Constitution, Freedom/Liberty, Human Rights/Natural Rights, Joseph Story, Limited Government, Patriotism, Second Amendment, Tyranny

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