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Founding Father Quotes

      "The money powers prey upon the nation in times of peace and conspire against it in times of adversity. It is more despotic than a monarchy, more insolent than autocracy, and more selfish than bureaucracy. It denounces as public enemies, all who question it's methods or throw light upon it's crimes. I have two great enemies, the Southern Army in front of me and the Bankers in the rear. Of the two, the one at my rear is my greatest foe..corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money powers of the country will endeavor to prolong it's reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until the wealth is aggregated in the hands of a few, and the Republic is destroyed. --Abraham Lincoln

    "I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. Already they have raised up a monied aristocracy that has set the government at defiance. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs." -- Thomas Jefferson

    "If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered."-- Thomas Jefferson

    "Resistence to tyrants is obedience to God"--Thomas Jefferson

    "We, the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts--not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow men who pervert the Constitution--Abraham Lincoln

    "You have rights antecedent to all earthly governments; rights that cannot be repealed or restrained by human laws; rights derived from the Great Legislator of the Universe"--John Adams 2nd Pres.

    "The Constitution of most of our states (and of the United States) assert that all power is inherent in the people; that they may exercise it by themselves; that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed and that they are entitled to freedom of person, freedom of religion, freedom of property, and freedom of press."--Thomas Jefferson

    "Let us therefore animate and encourage each other, and show the world that a free man, contending for his liberty on his own ground, is superior to any slavish mercenary on earth."-- George Washington--July 2, 1776

    "I consider trial by jury as the only anchor yet imagined by man by which a government can be held to the priciples of it's Constitution."--Thomas Jefferson

    "Democracies have been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their death."--James Madison

    "A generous parent would have said, 'if there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace."--Thomas Paine, Common Sense

    "Posterity, you will never know how much it cost the present generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in heaven that ever I took half the pains to preserve it."--John Adams

    "The way to have safe government is not to trust it all to the one, but to divide it among the many, distributing to everyone exactly the functions in which he is competent....To let the National Government be entrusted with the defense of the nation, and it's foreign and federal relations..... The State Governments with the Civil Rights, Laws, Police and administration of what concerns the State generally. The Counties with the local concerns, and each ward direct the interests within itself. It is by dividing and subdividing these Republics from the great national one down through all it's subordinations until it ends  in the administration of everyman's farm by himself, by placing under everyone what his own eye may superintend, that all will be done for the best."--Thomas Jefferson

    "I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of society but the people themselves and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform them."

    "There is not a shadow of right in the general government to intermeddle in religion. It's least interference with it would be a most flagrant usurpation."--James Madison

    "If taxes are laid upon us without our having a legal representaion where they are laid, we are reduced from the character of free subjects to the state of tributary slaves."--Samuel Adams

    "We must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our selection between economy and liberty or profusion and servitude.
If we run into such debts as that we must be taxed in our meat in our drink, in our necessities and comforts, in our labors and in our amusements, for our callings and our creeds...our people.. must come to labor sixteen hours in the twenty-four, give earnings of fifteen of these to the government for their debts and daily expenses; and the sixteenth being insufficient to afford us bread, we must live..
We have not time to think, no means of calling the mismanagers to account, but be glad to obtain subsistence by hiring ourselves to rivet their chains on the necks of our fellow suffers.
Our landholders, too...retaining indeed the title and stewardship of estates called theirs, but held really in trust for the treasury, must...be contented with penury, obscurity and exile..private fortunes are destroyed by public as well as by private extravagance.
This is the tendancy of all human governments. A departure from principle becomes a precedent for a second; that second for a third; and so on, till the bulk of society is reduced to mere automatons of misery, to have no sensibilities left but for sinning and suffering...
And the fore horse of this frightful team is public debt. Taxation follows that, and in it's train wretchedness and oppression." -- Thomas Jefferson

     "If the present (Continental) Congress errs in too much talking, how can it be otherwise, in a body to which the people send one hundred and fifty lawyers, whose trade it is to question everything, yield nothing, and talk by the hour?" -- Thomas Jefferson - 1821

    "It is not only his right, but his duty...to find the verdict according to his own best understanding, judgement and conscience, though in direct opposition to the direction of the court." -- John Adams

    "All the perplexities, confusion and distress in America arise not from defects in their Constitution or Confederation, nor from want of honor or virtue, so much as downright ignorance of the nature of coin, credit and circulation." --John Adams

     "A wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another; shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement"- Thomas Jefferson -

    "The strongest reason for people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against 
tyranny in government." -Thomas Jefferson Papers, 334 (C.J.Boyd, Ed., 1950) 

"... God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion. The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. 
The part which is wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions, it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. ... And what country can preserve its 
liberties, if it's 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 the facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify 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, Nov. 13, 1787, letter to William S. Smith, see Jefferson On Democracy, 20 (S. Padover ed. 1939)

"I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people, except for a few public officials." - George Mason, 3 Elliot, Debates at 425-426.

    "...to disarm the people is the best and most effective way to enslave them..." -George Mason, 3 Elliot, Debates at 380. 

"Whenever governments mean to invade the rights and liberties of the people, they always attempt to destroy the militia, in order to
raise an army upon their ruins." -Rep. Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts, spoken during floor debate over the Second Amendment, I Annals of Congress at 750, August 17, 1789.

    "...the people are confirmed by the article in their right to keep and bear their private arms." -Trench 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.

    "To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of people always possess arms..." -Richard Henry Lee, 1788, Member of the First U.S. Senate.

    "That the said Constitution shall never be 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, Debates and Proceedings in the Convention of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, at 86-87 (Peirce & Hale, eds., Boston, 1850. 

"The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference - they deserve a place of honor with all that is good." -George Washington 

"The battle, Sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, Sir, we have no election. If we were
base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains
are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable; and let it come! I repeat, Sir, let it come!"
Patrick Henry, in his famous "The War Inevitable" speech, March, 1775.

    "It is in 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 sweeps 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 want? 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 give me death!"

-Patrick Henry, in his famous "The War Inevitable" speech, March, 1775. 

"A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercise, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise, and independence 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 the constant companion of your walk." -Encyclopedia of Thomas Jefferson, 318 (Foley, Ed., reissued 1967)

    "That the Constitution shall never be 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 arguing for a Bill of Rights, from the book "Massachusetts," published by Pierce & Hale, Boston, 1850, pg. 86-87.

    "The militia, when properly formed, are in fact the people themselves.. . . [T]he Constitution ought to secure a genuine and guard against a select militia, by providing that the militia shall always be kept well organized, armed, and disciplined, and include . . . all men capable of bearing arms..." -Richard Henry Lee, "Letters from the Federal Farmer to the Republic," (1788) p. 169.

    "That 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." -George Mason, Article 13 of the Virginia Declaration of Rights of 1776. 

"The prohibition is general. No clause in the Constitution could by rule of construction be conceived to give the Congress the power to disarm the people." -William Rawle, 1825; He was offered the position of the first U.S. Attorney General, by President Washington.

    "Government is not reason. It is not eloquence. It is a force, like fire: a dangerous servant and a terrible master". -George Washington

    "The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; a well-armed, and well-regulated militia being the best security of a free country; but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms shall be compelled to render military service in
person." -James Madison, 4th President of the United States, I Annuals of Congress 434 (June 8, 1789). [This was Madison's original proposal for what became the Second Amendment.] 

"...but if 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 use of arms, who stand ready to defend their rights..." -Alexander Hamilton, speaking of standing armies in The Federalist 29.

    "Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation...nothwithstanding the military establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms." -James Madison, author of the Bill of Rights, in Federalist Paper No. 46, at 243-244. 

"The supposed quietude of a good man allures the ruffian; while on the other hand, arms, like laws, discourage and keep the invader and the plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property. The same balance would be preserved were all the world destitute of arms, for all the world would be alike; but since some will not, others dare not lay them aside...Horrid mischief would ensue were one half the world deprived the use of them..."  - Thomas Paine, I Writings of Thomas Paine at 56 (1894). 

"A free people ought...to be armed..."  -George Washington, speech of January 7, 1790 in the Boston Independent Chronicle, January 14, 1790.

    "The great object is that every man be armed. Everyone who is able may have a gun." -Patrick Henry, in the Virginia Convention on the ratification of theConstitution...Debates and other Proceedings of the Convention of Virginia, ...taken in shorthand by David Robertson of Petersburg, at 271, 275 (2d ed. Richmond, 1805). Also 3 Elliot, Debates at 386. 

"Are we at last brought to such humiliating and debasing degradation that we cannot be trusted with arms for our defense? Where is the difference between having our arms in possession and under our 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, 3 J. Elliot, Debates in the Several State Conventions 45, 2d Ed. Philadelphia, 1836.

    "The best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed." -Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist Papers at 184-8.

    "That the said Constitution shall never be 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...Debates and Proceedings in the Convention of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, at 86-87 (Pierce & Hale, eds., Boston, 1850)

    "No freeman shall ever be debarred the use of arms." -Thomas Jefferson, Proposed Virginia Constitution, June 1776. 

"Arms in the hands of citizens [may] be used at individual discretion...in private self-defense..." -John Adams, A defense of the Constitutions of the Government of the USA, 471 (1788). 

"The Constitution of most of our states (and of the United States) assert that all power is inherent in the people; that they may exercise it by themselves; that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed and that they are entitled to freedom of person,
freedom of religion, freedom of property, and freedom of press." -Thomas Jefferson

"This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or their revolutionary right to dismember it or overthrow it."
-Abraham Lincoln, First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1861 -- (And that's exactly what HE did!!!)