Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Journal of the Senate of the United States of America, " put arms into the hands of the people...", Dec. 8, 1835

"...Under the operation of our institutions, the public servant who is called on to take a step of high responsibility should feel, in the freedom which gives rise to such apprehensions, his highest security. When unfounded, the attention which they arouse, and the discussions they excite, deprive those who indulge them of the power to do harm; when just, they but hasten the certainty with which the great body of our citizens never fail to repel an attempt to procure their sanction to any exercise of power inconsistent with the jealous maintenance of their rights. Under such convictions, and entertaining no doubt that my constitutional obligations demanded the steps which were taken in reference to the removal of the deposites, it was impossible for me to be deterred from the path of duty by a fear that my motives could be misjudged, or that political prejudices could defeat the just consideration of the merits of my conduct. The result has shown how safe is this reliance upon the patriotic temper and enlightened discernment of the people...."

"...Occurrences, to which we as well as all other nations are liable, both in our internal and external relations, point to the necessity of an efficient organization of the militia. I am again induced, by the importance of the subject, to bring it to your attention. To suppress domestic violence, and to repel foreign invasion, should these calamities overtake us, we must rely, in the first instance, upon the great body of the community, whose will has instituted, and whose power must support, the Government. A large standing military force is not consonant to the spirit of our institutions, nor to the feelings of our countrymen; and the lessons of former days, and those also of our own times, show the danger as well as the enormous expense of these permanent and extensive military organizations...."

"...The armor and the attitude of defence afford the best security against those collisions which the ambition, or interest, or some other passion of nations not more justifiable, is liable to produce. In many countries it is considered unsafe to put arms into the hands of the people, and to instruct them in the elements of military knowledge. That fear can have no place here, when it is recollected that the people are the sovereign power. Our Government was instituted, and is supported, by the ballot-box, not by the musket...."

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