Monday, May 06, 2013
"It was nothing less than man's right to self defence, that power which could not be impaired by any power of government"
"Here, then, every man,--whether native or naturalized, whether free or bond--for the provision comprehended every class and colour--every man capable of shouldering a musket, was required to be trained and armed, by our present Constitution; and the proposed to it, designates the militia as only to be for defence, and in this view Blackstone himself regarded the militia. The very second amendment to the Constitution of the United States, previous to which several of the States had refused to come into the compact, he begged to recommend to the attention of his friend from Allegheny, (Mr. Forward)--"a well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." Mark the admirable adaption of the language. There is said (Mr. I) an argument in it more than I could make in a year, all condensed. A regulated right of every man, to do what? To hear arms--and the Constitution says this right to bear arms "shall not be infringed." This "well regulated militia," which is "necessary to the security of a free State" is the right of every man to bear arms, and it is a right which "shall not be infringed." And when his friend from Allegheny said at first, (as he had understood him,) that the federal power absorbed all the rights of the states on this subject, he (.Mr I) confessed that he had felt himself excited almost to pugnacity. This right exceeded, was beyond the reach of the federal Constitution--it was supreme, above the supremacy of the Constitution--it was a right which the Constitution could not touch. It was nothing less than man's right to self defence, that power which could not be impaired by any power of government."
- Mr. Charles Jared Ingersoll, Oct. 24, 1837, PROCEEDINGS AND DEBATES OF THE CONVENTION OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, TO PROPOSE AMENDMENTS TO THE CONSTITUTION, COMMENCED AT HARRISBURG MAY 2 1837 VOL. IV. Reported by JOHN AGG, Stenographer: Assisted By Messrs. Wheeler, Kingman, Draks, and McKinley. HARRISBURG: PRINTED BY PACKER, BARRETT, And PARKE. 1838. (Ingersoll served twice as a United States representative, first from 1813 to 1815 and again from 1841 to 1847. In between these terms, he worked as the United States attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania from 1815 to 1829 by appointment from President James Madison, was Pennsylvania state representative in 1830, and in 1837, was a delegate to the Pennsylvania state constitutional convention. Over the course of his governmental career, Ingersoll worked with a few U. S. presidents such as James Monroe, John Tyler, and James K. Polk).