A Bill Concerning Slaves Quote

“No slaves shall keep any arms whatever, nor pass, unless with written orders from his master or employer, or in his company, with arms from one place to another.”

~ A Bill Concerning Slaves

[1785], reproduced in Alfred Fried, Ed., The Essential Jefferson (Collier Books, 1963), p. 140.

Ratings and Comments

Joe, Rochester, MI

If the people have no right to "...keep and bear arms...", then our legislators must consider us their slaves. How insidious their arguments to take our arms, claiming they are protecting society. In fact, we are safer carrying concealed weapons because we have the means to protect ourselves and family. The police won't be there to protect you, but they will show up to investigate who robbed or killed you. Only criminals want the people disarmed. Hmmm, that would make legislators criminals.

hubert townsend, ft dix

No difference between this slavery quote and the slaves here in NJ. i defy you to show me the difference. I am now legally disarmed and a slave to anyone who wishes me harm

Mike, Norwalk

The above statement, in and of itself, is deplorable, indicting a sick society that would condone such activity, deserving a thumbs down rating. When the quote is interpreted in the broadest terms and through a definition filter it qualifies one of the required elements of implementing and sustaining slavery, getting here a five star rating. Remembering "Those who wish to sacrifice liberty for PERCEIVED security deserve neither." (Benjamin Franklin) And calling the slavery of gun control security, peace, freedom, etc. doesn't make it so.

Mike, Norwalk
  • Reply
Mike, Norwalk Mike, Norwalk 6/13/22

The occupying statist theocracy now infesting would have all individual sovereigns turned into slaves (the mentality, sentiments, and statements are the same).

Robert, Sarasota

The use of this quote to demonstrate the correlation was unnecessary.

Anonymous, Reston, VA US

This quote is marvelous, as it reveals that our founding fathers did NOT assume that ALL should have access to arms! From the start, it was assumed that there will be "A well regulated militia" not a mob of individuals with arms. "the right of the people" refers to a collective right, not a individual right.

Elizabeth, Los Angeles

For people who are strict about interpreting the constitution true to its original intent, and usually people in the NRA camp are in that group, gun liberalization is one area in which they contradict themselves. As Anonymous points out the right to bear arms for the founders had everything to do with the goverments ability to call up a militia and nothing to do with arming the populace up the wazoo with guns of mass destruction to be used on their fellow citizens at their discretion, provked or not. That slaves were left out of the equation also points to the fact that we make progress in interpreting constituional law as history as evolved to teach us more about human justice.

E Archer, NYC

There are no 'collective rights' -- there are only individual rights -- the collective has no more rights than the individuals composing it. Face it, a gun in the hands of a slave is a danger only to the slave owners -- when someone wants to keep guns out of your hands, you will know why.

Mike, Norwalk

He who forgets history (or ignores it intentionally, or puts their on interpretive agenda to it) are doomed to relive it!!! The ignorant slave hearted, (as witnessed a couple of above comments) are dooming the rest of humanity. For the ignorant; at the signing of the Constitution, there was a statutory time set to eliminate slavery. It's wrong was recognized and it was considered economically woeful and harmful to everyone to fee the slaves all at once. Wheather or not that was a moral plan it was not followed, Immoral and illegal changes were made to keep slavery intact. I could go on but this is not the forum to educate in detail. Further, 'regulation' is a noun and a military term meaning implements of deadly force; not a verb meaning order. AND, 'militia' is Constitutionally made up of all free indiviuals (prisoners, slaves, etc. did not qualify) owning their own regulation, no matter their status as private citizens or in active military.

Anonymous, Raleigh, NC

Thanks for that Mike. Atleast there are still some in this country who educate themselves instead of swallowing what others feed them.

Ken, Allyn, WA

The Code of Federal Regualations clearly defines what a militia is as follows..................TITLE 10 - ARMED FORCES Subtitle A - General Military Law PART I - ORGANIZATION AND GENERAL MILITARY POWERS CHAPTER 13 - THE MILITIA Sec. 311. Militia: composition and classes -STATUTE- (a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard. (b) The classes of the militia are - (1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia; and (2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia.....................If you are male between the ages of 17 and 45 you are the militia, and it is your duty to be armed.

Mike, Norwalk

Many states have clarified aspects of the Second Amendment through their Constitutions and statutes, by way of example: 'That no citizen of this state shall be compelled to bear arms, provided he will pay an equivalent, to be ascertained by law." (Article I, Section 28 Tennessee Constitution). It is crystal clear, each free male citizen of age shall be "Well Regulated" (or in Elizabeth speak "armed up the wazoo", and if you wish not to be personally responsible for yourself, family, and country, you can pay somebody to take over your responsibility (and that is in addition to what is paid to local, county, state, and national policing and military agencies). By definition, to license, register, or otherwise forbid private arsenals is slavery.

warren, olathe

Sounds like the slaves back then had about the same 2'nd amendment rights that we have today.

JoW, Utah
  • Reply
JoW, Utah    4/15/08

The quote is wrong, every human has the right to self preservation as much as the next man. The government's sole purpose (it should be, but isn't) is to protect the people from inside or out side danger. If they could indeed protect the people from danger when we have no guns, then I'm all for gun control. But (despite what the government may believe) they cannot protect us from others before we are already dead.

Annie, Mahtomedi, MN

Well DUH!! Why would you ever arm a group of people that you took captive, stripped them of everything-everything, and then treated them poorly. What do we all think would have been the consequence to allow Slaves to have guns for hunting and protection? They were even very hesitant to arm them in the latter part of the cival war when they finally allowed them to form their own (of course) regiment-they wouldn't really be able to do the old-"don't ask, don't tell thing"- but they were segregated- naturally. White men just love the power they have been given, don't they? Allowing for a handful of truly forward thinking and brave people, this kind of crap still happens today.

J Carlton, Calgary

The implication as some have observed is that slaves shall not bear arms. Therefore any attempt to disarm implies that the disarmed are slaves to be disposed of at the will of the state.
And Reston...if rights do not pertain to the individual, they are not rights at all. There is no such thing as "collective rights". Just individual rights that pertain to all. We should abolish slavery.

Mike, Norwalk

JoW, an adaptation to your comment. It is NOT within the government's prerogative or lawful job description to protect anyone from danger (in or out side of anything) The representative republic, limited by the Constitution was a natural law expression of individual sovereigns. By that, it is the individual that is King / Queen, Caesar, Emperor, sovereign. Those hired in a governmental capacity are inferior in authority, power, and ability to their bosses - 'We The People' (individually and in concert). At de jure applications, the government is a representative, unable to do that which one of his/her masters can not do individually. If the government compels the compliance of even one (1) sovereign, the government no longer represents 'We The People' but some other foreign dictate / totalitarian despot. When the government considers 'We The People' slaves, as evidenced by gun limitation, it no longer is a Constitutionally limited representative republic of 'We The People' (again, it is a foreign dictate / totalitarian despot). America's de jure government was to assure individual inalienable right and justice (to determine a criminality - as per natural law, not legal positivism).


When the "Government" can GUARANTEE to me, there are no more ILLEGAL DRUGS on the streets of our country, I MIGHT believe that they will keep ILLEGAL GUNS off of our streets. GUN CONTROL LAWS will only effect LAW ABIDING citizens. Why can't people see that banning guns will not stop people that choose to break laws that are already in place. Just follow our Government's record of protecting our society from drugs, I have no reason to believe any different that will be the same "METHOD' our Government will use of controlling arms if they are outlawed!


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