Friday, June 1, 2018

Episode 66 - The Militia

"I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people, except for a few public officials."
— George Mason, in Debates in Virginia Convention on Ratification of the Constitution, Elliot, Vol. 3, June 16, 1788

 "The best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed."
-- Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist Papers at 184-188

"That the said Constitution shall never be construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the press or the rights of conscience; or to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms ... "
-- Samuel Adams, Debates and Proceedings in the Convention of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, at 86-87 (Pierce & Hale, eds., Boston, 1850)

 "What country can preserve its liberties if its rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms."
-- Thomas Jefferson to William Stephens Smith, 1787. ME 6:373, Papers 12:356

Militia Act of 1792

Militia Act of 1903

ADJUTANT-GENERAL:Rifle ranges also are needed, not only for the National Guard, but also for the citizen population. To shoot well is a large part of the education of the soldier ; and if the Government can arouse such an interest in shooting, in not only the organized but also the unorganized militia, that our male population shall be familiar with the accurate use of the rifle, we shall have gone far towards evening up the advantage the foreigner gains by his universal conscription. Much can be accomplished in this direction, if the United States will offer free the use of the military rifle on ranges to be established near our large towns. Such ranges would also be available for the instruction of the National Guard. Their cost would be little in comparison with the benefits to be obtained. The cost of sufficient target ranges and camp sites for the whole country will hardly exceed that of one or two new battle-ships.

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