“As the greatest danger is that of disunion of the states, it is necessary to guard against it by sufficient powers to the common government; and as the greatest danger to liberty is from large standing armies, it is best to prevent them by an effectual provision for a good militia.”
James Madison —ELLIOTT, ED., 5 THE DEBATES IN THE SEVERAL STATE CONVENTIONS 464 (1836, repr. 1941)
“Let a regular army, fully equal to the resources of of the country, be formed; and let it be entirely at the devotion of the federal government; still it would not be going to far to say, that the state governments with the people on their side would be able to repel the danger. The highest number to which, according to their best computation, a standing army can be carried in any country, does not exceed one hundredth part of the whole number of souls; or one twenty-fifth of the number able to bear arms. This proportion would not yield in the United States an army of more than twenty-five or thirty thousand men. The these would be opposed a militia amounting to near a half million citizens with arms in their hands, officered by men chosen from among themselves, fighting for their common liberties, and among themselves, fighting for their common liberties, and united and conducted by governments possessing their affections and confidence. It may well be doubted whether a militia thus circumstanced could ever be conquered by such a proportion of regular troops. Those who are best aquainted with the late successful resistance of this country against the the British arms will be the most inclined to deny the possibility of it. Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the peopleof almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments to which the people are attached, and by which the militia officers are appointed, 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 attachments 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. And it is not certain that this aid alone [mere quiet private possession of ordinary personal firearms], they would not be able to shake off their yokes.“|
James Madison —THE FEDERALIST, NO. 46
Et tu, James?
It’s almost like they didn’t trust government, or something.
Oh well, I’m sure they didn’t know what they were talking about or anything, right?