Noah WebsterNoah Webster, (1758-1843) American patriot and scholar, author of the first dictionary of American English usage (1806) and the author of the 1828 edition of the dictionary that bears his name.

Famous Noah Webster Quote

“Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed as they are in almost every kingdom in 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 band of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States.”

Noah WebsterNoah Webster
~ Noah Webster

An Examination of the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution, Philadelphia, 1787

Ratings and Comments


Mike, Norwalk

A B S O L U T E L Y ! ! ! , Thank you Noah Webster !

Me Again
  • Reply
    Me Again    7/22/08

    "The supreme power in America can not enforce unjust laws through the sword".That is a comforting thought but consider this: How the supreme power in America Does enforce Unjust laws.That is as uncomforting a thought as the 1st statement is comforting.I Agree With This Quote and that is Comforting Also.Amen

    Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

    I give it a 3. This was probably true in 1787 but of course our standing Army today can take on all comers. The reason the people in America have never had to resort to violence against our government(s) is because we are a nation of democracy (government by discussion) and law.

    jim k, austin

    As the man said when the church burned down, "Holy Smoke". Waffler, are you into that white lightning again? What on earth, pray tell, is "government by discussion"? Yes, our politicians do get together and discuss how they can hijack more of our freedoms, buy our votes, and tax us to death, so perhaps it is government by discussion. As Mark Twain said, " No Man's Life, Liberty, or Property is Safe When The Legislature is in Session".

    Mike, Norwalk

    Waffler, you should really change your identifying pseudonym to Tory. Your logic and concepts more closely lie with the anti-freedom loyalists at this nation's birth than with what the founders accomplished and/or set forth. You claim you've given up your sovereignty to the democratic oligarchy. You claim supreme power in America is the Army, not We the People. More than establishing codes, rules, statutes, etc. to define the God of Nature's laws, you believe that governments can create law. You continually call attention to government's right to make alienable conditions of inalienable rights. You nonstop allude to the premise that government is our friend and will change by simple discussion.

    RobertSRQ
    • Reply
    RobertSRQ    7/22/08

    Stealth is the key not tom dick and harry having a 9mm

    E Archer, NYC

    Why has nearly the richest country in Europe never been invaded or conquered in a thousand years? Switzerland maintains their militia just as it was designed in America. There is practically ZERO gun violence there. Take note. The issue is about POWER, and the Founders did their best to make sure it was balanced with We The People holding the reins. Don't confuse We The People as the government -- when the Founders talked about the People, they talked about you and me. When one understands Power, one will understand that there are those with LOTS of power -- and they don't want to lose it -- they want to monopolize it. When the force of government is used to 'regulate' the power of the people (i.e. limit their power, diminish their power, steal their power), we become but mere clay for the ruling class to mold as they see fit. We are attacked from all fronts -- our powers are stolen left and right. Whenever we bounce back, we are taxed again, threatened again, and abused again. The attack on self-reliance has been going on steadily -- even the concept of state militias has been perverted to mean federal standing armies -- the very opposite of what a state militia was for. Bit by bit, our rights are whittled away. Hold on to your guns -- it is the palladium of rights -- once that right is ignored, all the rest are gone, too.

    Anonymous, Reston, VA US

    I find it fascinating that speculative fiction seems to indicate that the primary outcome of arming all of the citizens and pitting them against the government is anarchy and the reemergence of city states ruled by ruthless thugs. Remember, these speculations come from people who study people and society... and current examples all over the world seem to support it.

    Joe, North Caldwell, NJ

    Switzerland has not been invaded because it has maintained neutrality. Their militia has to be perpetuated because they have no standing army. Militia members are licensed and closely regulated. If you're not a militiaman or a cop, it's impossible to get a firearm license. There is practically zero gun violence there because there are practically zero guns in the hands of anyone outside of police and militia. I'm tired of gun people holding up Switzerland as a shining example of unrestricted gun possession, because it's simply not true. As for the quote, I have no problem with responsible gun possession, but who are we kidding that a citizen militia could take on today's US Army? That argument is completely obsolete.

    E Archer, NYC

    I do not share your fatalist attitude, Joe. Just because the US government is the most powerful entity in the world is not a reason for the People to shirk our responsibility of being its master. The right to bear arms is an inalienable right -- period. Switzerland understands what a militia is -- the People. Nearly every household has a gun closet with military assault weapons -- I know, I have been there. Nearly every male citizen is trained in their use and has served 6 months with the military. Obviously they do not use that training in other country's affairs. The reason Switzerland is 'neutral' is because they are not bankrupt -- which is a qualification for joining the UN. Having one of the longest running hard currencies in the world has kept Switzerland from becoming a vassal of the UN/World Bank, etc.. A state militia's role is more than simply taking on the federal government -- it is about the distribution of power among the People. Centralization of force in the hands of the federal government is contrary to the principles of the United States of America. Gun control is not about controlling guns -- they admit it does nothing EXCEPT get us used to their authority to do so -- an usurpation of the Constitution. If there was a Louisiana militia, they could have helped out in New Orleans. Instead the militias have been hijacked by the president and turned into 'National Guard' under the control of the federal government and busy off fighting in Iraq instead of taking care of our own people in distress. Can we not do anything ourselves or is the federal government our lord now?

    RobertSRQ
    • Reply
      RobertSRQ    7/22/08

      Well Archer I have to tell you that my friends in Switland do not come up to you expectations. I too have visted Switzland many times and only a few (very few) like Joe stated have locked boxes with guns. Thanks Reston and Joe for some sanity. By the way, having guns in South Central LA didn't stop the roits and I know I was there. Though to be trueful there were a few shop owners with ozi's lying wait on rooftops.

      RobertSRQ
      • Reply
        RobertSRQ    7/22/08

        Oops sorry for the spelling - I'm in a hurry

        Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

        Jimmy government by discussion is what we are doing right now. Just as the purchasing decisions of each of us dictates what products are mfg. and distributed to us so are our poltical thoughts, sentiments and opinions communicated via public opinion polls, suveys, and by the voting booth to our legislators and administrators. Mike it is sad that you do not the think that the Army, the National Guard, is somehow not us, We The People. It shows just how far you have sunk in the mire of your sick philosophy and how little faith you have in America. Mike if you would get out more you might find many of your neighbors are Guard Members, or FBI agents, IRS agents etcetera and you might loose your bunker mentality.

        Mike, Norwalk

        Robert, I don't know what planet you're from or where you've visited but all those I've visited in and from Switzerland have at least one rifle (often an automatic weapon) and one pistol. As to the LA Riots, I was there also. Do you recall all the Koreans that had automatic weapons and more, bigger, better. Many of them had seen first had what happens when only the government owns the means to deadly force. They defied the police and national guard from taking their weapons and they alone, guarded their homes and business from the rooftops and every other needful place with their own hastily put together militias. Only those that defied government's executive branch and the mob with deadly force saved lives and property. I was at an acquaintance's home with other heavily armed private citizens in the middle of the action - not one injury or loss of property (no media coverage of the Second Amendment in action). Guns didn't stop the riot, but they sure reduced property loss and loss of innocent lives. But of course, that's not prudent or politically correct to put that into any statistic.

        Mike, Norwalk

        Waffler, I'm out a lot. I find that the U.S.'s military (Army, Navy, National Guard, etc.) are among the finest, and most moral individuals on the planet. I believe they, as a whole, far exceed the average citizen in almost all ways. The military in my opinion is among the 'best' of us - their commanders are not. I know FBI, IRS, police, etc. in my neighborhood(s). I give all the benefit of the doubt until I get to know them and, most prove me right over and over again. They are power hungry despots that love to lord over and inflict their prowess when ever possible.

        Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

        There is some apparent debate in Swizerland about gun ownership. The lawful American gun culture should not be messed with. I inherited my current arsenal. I did have a 22 rifle as a kid. If someone or government tried to take my guns away from me I would be offended. I got along fine before I got these guns and get along fine now also. THE ISSUE HERE IS THAT NO ONE IS TRYING TO DISARM LAWFUL DEER GUNS AND HAND GUNS FROM THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. It is a non-issue. Our time at public discourse could be better spent but we must deal with the cards we are dealt. I had a Colonel friend who was a West Point Graduate and another who was a Canadian Police Detective. I thought it interesting that these two told me that they never had weapons in their homes. The West Pointer did say that he might take up gunning for deer when he retired to Colorado.

        E Archer, NYC

        The issue is not whether some military people still keep guns around or not. I do not have a gun, but I may get one some day. That doesn't give me a right to tell others they should or should not have one -- in fact, it is because so many people do have guns that I don't worry too much about it -- but if there weren't perhaps I would reconsider. Friends of mine have assault weapons -- they would blow a deer to smithereens -- they are not for hunting deer, but for defending against other armed intruders. These guys are trained in their use, and I support them. Hand guns are power -- and the People should not be disarmed of the very powers that check governmental power which is subject to abuse day and night -- look what the US is doing with their power of guns -- better we not let them forget we are not their servants.

        Ken, Allyn, WA

        In a pinch I'll loan you one of my guns, Archer. It's the neighborly thing to do. Speaking of neighborly, it is a good thing to look out for one another and defend those who don't quite have the ability to do so themselves. That's a hard thing to do when you don't have the necessary tools to do it. Personally, I consider being armed a civic responsibility. I understand and will certainly not condemn anyone who doesn't agree, but it is an understanding I have come to for myself.

        Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

        Welcome you all to the unorganized militia. Isn't it nice to know that the Pentagon recognizes and cares about us. Get over it Archer it ain't about defending yourself from government. Under the title Ken quoted all armed men are part of the Pentagons plans.

        Mike, Norwalk

        Logan, for you. Tennessee's Constitution as last ratified in 1870 states at Article I, Section 28 "That no citizen of this state shall be compelled to bear arms, provided he will pay an equivalent, to be ascertained by law."

        E Archer, NYC

        Thanks, Ken. Having lived in cities most of my life (NYC, DC, Chicago, Boston), my 'civic responsibility' to be armed has been declared illegal in all these places -- one year in prison mandatory in some cases for simple possession. It's not a fight I am prepared to wage alone. But there are 'arms' other than guns for which I am capable of wielding. ;-)

        warren, olathe

        A government that does not trust its people to bear arms can not be trusted.

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