Quotes on the Second Amendment:
“…to disarm the people ― that was the best and most effectual way to enslave them.”
– George Mason, 3 Elliot, Debates at 380.
“I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people, except for few public officials.”
-George Mason, 3 Elliot, Debates at 425-426.
“All democratic governments, where the power is in the hands of the people and where there is not the least difficulty or jealousy about putting arms into the hands of every man in the country. (European countries should not) be ignorant of the strength and the force of such a form of government and how strenuously and almost wonderfully people living under one have sometimes exerted themselves in defense of their rights and liberties and how fatally it has ended with many a man and many a state who have entered into quarrels, wars and contests with them.”
– George Mason, “Remarks on Annual Elections for the Fairfax Independent Company” in The Papers of George Mason, 1725-1792, ed Robert A. Rutland [Chapel Hill, 1970])
“No Free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.”
-Thomas Jefferson, Proposal to Virginia Constitution, 1 T. Jefferson Papers, 334,[C.J. Boyd, Ed., 1950].
“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 in 1787. Taken from Jefferson, On Democracy 20, S. Padover ed., 1939)