Full-Length Friday Liberty Quotation: Noah Webster on the Benefits of Arming Citizens

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Noah WebsterBefore a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom of Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any bands of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States. A military force, at the command of Congress, can execute no laws, but such as the people perceive to be just and constitutional; for they will possess the power, and jealousy will instantly inspire the inclination, to resist the execution of a law which appears to them unjust and oppressive.”

Noah Webster, “An Examination into the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution”  (a pamphlet aimed at swaying Pennsylvania toward ratification of the Constitution) [1787]