Quote of the day—Roger Sherman

Conceived it to be the privilege of every citizen, and one of his most essential rights, to bear arms, and to resist every attack upon his liberty or property, by whomsoever made.

The particular states, like private citizens, have a right to be armed, and to defend, by force of arms, their rights, when invaded.

Roger Sherman
Roger Sherman, during House consideration of a militia bill (1790)
Quoted in Debates in the House of Representatives: Third Session, December 1790 – March 1791. Ed. William C. diGiacomantonio et al. Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press, 1996,. 92-93.
Volume 14 of the Documentary History of the First Federal Congress of the United States of America, March 4, 1789-March 3, 1791.
[Via Proclaiming Liberty: What Patriots and Heroes Really Said About the Right to Keep and Bear Arms by Philip Mulivor.

Update: As pointed out in the comments by Sean the nature of the argument is interesting. The states have the right to be armed just as private citizens do. As, I think it was, Lysander Spooner pointed out a government has no power which was not granted it by the individuals who formed the government. It is therefore a logical impossibility for the state to grant private citizens rights or powers since the state cannot have any rights or powers which the private citizen did not already have.—Joe]


1 thought on “Quote of the day—Roger Sherman

  1. It’s interesting how he structures his argument.

    The particular states, *like private citizens*, have a right to be armed

    From that point of view it is clear that he is arguing in favor of state militias being allowed to have weapons, and he’s tying that right to the obviously unquestioned right of private citizens to own arms.

    It’s almost like the lying liars who argued the “Collective Rights” theory of the Second Amendment got it backwards.

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