Friday, May 10, 2013

"...and the infringement repeatedly, in one or more of the States, of the right of the people to keep and to bear arms for their defense...."

"Sir, I am obliged to pass by, for want of time other grave and dangerous infractions and usurpations of the President since the fourth of March. I only allude casually to the quartering of soldiers in private houses without the consent of the owners, and without any manner having been prescribed by law; to the subversion in a part at least of Maryland of her own State government and the authorities under it: to the censorship over the telegraph, and the infringement repeatedly, in one or more of the States, of the right of the people to keep and to bear arms for their defense. But if all these things, I ask, have been done in the first two months after the commencement of this war, and by men not military chieftains and unused to arbitrary power, what may we not expect to see in three years, and by the successful heroes of the fight? Sir, the power and rights of the States and the people, and of their Representatives, have been usurped; the sanctity of the private house and of private property has been invaded; and the liberty of the person wantonly and wickedly stricken down; free speech, too, has been repeatedly denied; arid all this under the plea of necessity. Sir, the right of petition will follow next--nay, it has already been shaken; the freedom of the press will soon fall after it; and let me whisper in your ear, that there will be few to mourn over its loss, unless, indeed, its ancient high and honorable character shall be rescued and redeemed from its present reckless mendacity and degradation. Freedom of religion will yield too, at last, amid the exultant shouts millions, who have seen its holy temples defiled and its white robes of a former innocency trampled now under the polluting hoofs of an ambitious and faithless or fanatical clergy. Meantime national banks, bankrupt laws, a vast and permanent public debt, high tariffs, heavy direct tax[a]tion, enormous expenditure, gigantic and stupendous peculation, anarchy first and a strong government afterwards, no more State lines, no more State governments, and a consolidated monarchy or vast centralized military despotism, must all follow in the history of the future, as in the history of the past they have, centuries ago, been written."--Mr. Clement L. Vallandigham, July 10, 1861. U.S. House of Representatives, The Congressional Globe Pg. 60.

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