Samuel AdamsSamuel Adams, (1722-1803), was known as the "Father of the American Revolution."

Famous Samuel Adams Quote

“The said constitution shall never be construed to authorize Congress to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms.”

Samuel AdamsSamuel Adams
~ Samuel Adams

Ratings and Comments

john, right here

God bless him

Anonymous, Reston, VA US

... which were hunting guns, roughly equivalant to today's shotguns and 22 rifles... and not at all related to machine guns or glocks or any of the weapons which are helping to destroy our inner cities.

Logan, Memphis, TN

The 'right' of people to 'bear arms' was not an archaic means of obtaining food; in fact, the ability of obtaining food had little or nothing to do with bearing arms, and to say that it was shows a gross misunderstanding of American history. Just a glimpse into what the Founder's of this nation said about this subject would revolutionize the way we view the 2nd Amendment (too bad the founder’s words are too revolutionary to even be taught in our own public schools). Why do people generally go back to the founding fathers to show their case or establish original intent? Because they, unlike any of the generations that have followed, lived under tyranny and forced coercion and then actually did something about it - they overthrew an oppressive ruler, revolutionized government, and established a new Republic. When drafting the Bill of Rights, they looked back through their experience and saw the specific freedoms that they had fought for and the tools that had enabled them to break the bonds of tyranny. Which leads us to the 2nd Amendment - by an overwhelming majority, the reason the 2nd Amendment was included was not for the ability of obtaining food, but for the protection and ability of fighting off oppressive government – An un-armed citizenry is helpless against an oppressive government. Should the Republic they created ever become coercive and unjust, they understood that the people MUST be able to defend themselves and physically able to fight against that government. In short, the 'right of the people to keep and bear arms' was the right of the people to protect themselves, by force, from their own government. However, since the 2nd Amendment has been so foully re-defined throughout the years, the people now find their own 'right' (their own personal check and balance against government) to protect themselves from oppression and coercion as archaic. Sad. Now that this has been said, we can now hear from those who will argue about automatic and high powered guns in the hands of criminals and the need for control.

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Chicago    3/20/06

Just a quick reminder -- the Bill of Rights does not give any rights to the People. Originally, it was added as one more protection of rights of the People. It's main purpose was to prohibit government from making any laws that would abridge what the founding fathers called our inalienable rights. It is from this context that all gun legislation need be considered. Banning the possession of arms is unconstitutional and government has no power to do so.

C.C., Coventry, RI

I can agree with "Chicago" here as he makes his point on the Bill of Rights is true; but then that's why we also have added changes to the Bill of Rights that are made within the time lines of our history, hence, we call these changes "Amendments" which are also to protect our rights as citizens. What Samuel Adams meant here is that the government should not prevent the rights of "peaceable citizens" (those citizens who are actually peaceable - don't break the laws written to protect them). Only when there are lawbreakers or an unpeaceable group of people carrying unregistered guns with ammo to use against the rights of others is when the law and the government can step in to take away those rights. These first written Bill of Rights do need to change for the betterment of our turning ides of time because of the constant influx of illegal aliens crossing our borders who don't read nor understand our written laws who think that they can break all of our laws and get away with it are not justified to stay in our country for what they do. If our own Bill of Rights are not protecting us enough, then Amendments to these rights need updating to the current year and every forthcoming years ahead and we need legislation to uphold those Amendments and any other future Amendments for the protection of the American people (excluding any illegals still living in this country who can't read, can't speak English, and can't follow our written laws).

Joe, Rochester, MI

You may want to read The Second Amendment Primer by Les Adams, if you want to know the founding fathers' thoughts. Reston and Coventry are not interested in the facts. Machineguns and Glocks are destroying the inner city? Wrong. It is violent, non-peaceable gangs, not the tools they abuse. Criminals don't register their guns, nor do they follow the law, regardless of their ability to read. Being peaceable, I am only a threat to criminals. Ask yourself which neighborhood will gangs stay out of ... one where every home owns numerous firearms and are willing to shoot back at participants of drive-by shootings, or one with "This is a gun-free neighborhood" signs in the front yard?

Logan, Memphis, TN

Samuel Adams wouldn't have been able to fathom the idea of a "registered gun". Such a term is itself unconstitutional. Government control over weapons does nothing to make the populace safer. The Bill of Rights does NOT need to be revised or amended - it needs to be followed! A Constitution, said Thomas Paine (in The Rights of Man), is a contract between the individual sovereign and another - hence, "We the People". The people and the government cannot make a contract with each other because doing this would suggest that the government is a party that existed before the people and can exist independently of the people. This establishes the reason for the 10th Amendment - the Federal government can assume no right, duty, or privilege, except what is specifically given to it by the amending power of the Constitution. Government is neither the source for Liberty, Freedom, or Privilege but only exists to protect man in these humanly or divinely inaliendable 'rights'. From the Declaration of Independence we know that there are certain 'rights' that cannot be alienated from any man, regardless of what government says - in a Republic, the people DELEGATE some of these rights to certain elected officials (DELEGATE is a world of difference from ABDICATE) to represent them to the greater whole. These rights are never given up! When the 'right' of self protection is delegated to a police officer, this does not mean that the man delegating his 'rights' no longer has the right to self-protection. Every 'right' that is delegated is still held inviolate within each man, women, and child! The right to protect oneself is NEVER abdicated but simply delegated... Each person has the right to defend themselves against any threat to their freedom, liberty, and agency by the use of weapons, if necessary, regardless of its size or if it's a projectile weapon. It is IMPOSSIBLE to say, in a Republic, that the police or army can be armed and the people cannot -- such is usurpation and blatant tyranny!

Robert, Sarasota

I believe if Samuel Adams knew the arsenal available to the general public, he would not have made that statement... Well, Liberty Quotes Editor, you certainly stirred the pot...

Terry Berg, Occidental, CA

The "peaceable citizens" component of this quote seems salient to its import. I really have no disagreement with the idea of preventing convicted felons from 'bearing arms'. I do think that "peaceable citizens" ought to be able to rely on the guarantees of our Constitution. I mean, I'm extremely careful in my handling and employment of firearms but then, I'm extremely careful in my handling of power tools, flammable liquids like paint thinner, gasoline, and diesel fuel as well. Heck, I'm extremely careful in handling table settings and household chemicals like bleach. All of these things, among hundreds of others, can easily be 'abused' or put to ill use. It's not the (infamous) Danish cartoons that killed people - it's idiots who killed people. I vote we ban idiots. Oh yeah, THAT'll happen! And who would visit Disney World if we did? - LOL

Anonymous, Raleigh, NC

Well said Logan. "Arms" is never a term used to describe hunting tools. I agree with Terry, we should ban idiots. And my Glock has never been any aid to the destruction of our inner cities.

Helberg, Minnesota

Sammy so often got it correct: "Contemplate the mangled bodies of your countrymen, and then say, 'What should be the reward of such sacrifices?' Bid us and our posterity bow the knee, supplicate the friendship, and plough, and sow, and reap, to glut the avarice of the men who have let loose on us the dogs of war to riot in our blood and hunt us from the face of the earth? If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animating contest of freedom, go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen!" --Samuel Adams

  • Reply
Anonymous    7/20/06

People! This "New World Order" stuff is no joke. Learn why we are being taught that guns are evil, while at the same time learn why there's a freakin' one-eyed pyramid on the dollar in your pocket. Those who understand me - STAY LOUD!

missminnesota, Los Angeles

This is wonderful I don't see why it is so low in stars!

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3-d    3/12/07


Ken, Long Island

"I believe if Samuel Adams knew the arsenal available to the general public, he would not have made that statement... Well, Liberty Quotes Editor, you certainly stirred the pot..." He would have and more so if he knew the arsenal and assumed powers claimed by the Federal government!

Denny, tahoka

The musket of that day and the pistol are in line with the ar15 and glock today. Means of defence of country and self. It is a right man had before the constitution so it cannot be taken away by the governent that was being formed. Look up the meaning of construed. the whole of our freedoms hinge on the second amendment and our ability to protect home and land against crime and tyranny!

Xader, The Dalles, OR

This quote embodies the very essence of what it is to be a free nation. The most qualifying statement to this argument is the line by Beccaria, later delivered by Jefferson: "The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature. They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes."

James E Dietsche Jr, Harrisburg, PA

Mr. Adams is absolutely right. Peaceable citizens are innocent people. The right to keep and bear arms should be unlimited to innocent people, and regulated on the guilty only by what is necessary to solve the problem of committing the crime.

Joni, New Jersey

Well said Logan, Memphis, Tn Unlike anon in Reston Va, you do indeed know your constitution. The 2nd Amendment was included in the constitution to protect us from an out of control government and had nothing to do with hunting. I wonder how many people think they can hold off a government run amuk and equipped with military weapons with only a shotgun! AND Robert in Sarasota - I believe Sam Adams knew exactly what the people would need to guard against a well equipped govenmental force. Take a lesson from Australians who warn Americans all the time not to let the government take your weapons away. They are sorry every day for doing so, and say they have never felt so vulnerable as they do now. I'm hoping we never have to find out, but what if we have to defend against other hostile countries who may choose to try a takeover here. It's time for everyone to take a good look at the world we live in today. It's really not pretty.

Joni, New Jersey

P.S. Everyone should watch the video of Dr. Suzanne Gratia Hupp. Killeen Texas Luby's Massacre Survivor when she spoke to members of congress on gun control. Never have I heard it said better. But you will never hear this on the news.

  • Reply
Jim    2/16/09

I have seen the video Joni and you are 100 % correct.

flubby, nj
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flubby, nj    3/4/09

bahh humbug

  • Reply
    Anonymous    3/26/09

    Perhaps, unless it is amended (Which it should be).

    chris, webster nh

    Now more than ever as our gov seeks to take our property and our freedom. Not about hunting at all. It is about protecting ourselves from tyranny.


    Not much more can be said. People against personal protection, hunting, and freedom are not interested in facts - they are interested in their agenda, and not much else. The best thing we can do is follow the fight for freedom into the three branches of our government.

    Fanya Kaplan, Galveston

    Gun control is class warfare!

    P.W., Lake Wales

    I have yet to see a gun of any make, shape, caliber, or other designation pick itself up off the ground load a round into the chamber and fire the round. No matter what you want to say about gun control, (which can't ever even hope to happen to have a positive effect on the peaceable citizens), it is always the person who makes the decision to pull the trigger who causes the problem. You say no guns = no problems, hahaha, take a look at jolly old England and get back to me on that one. When you disarm a person in any fashion, you take away any ability that they may have had to be able to defend themselves against a criminal element. Don't believe me? Go down to your local police and ask them to go out and defend the citizens they've swarn to protect without a firearm and see what reaction you get. After you've done that ask to do a civilian ride-a-long with them so long as they're not armed. See how long it takes before you want them to re-arm themselves if not yourself before going back on patrol. Then ask yourself is it because of the guns that are on the street or because of the people behind them? I can bet which one you'll say it is.

    Carrie, Portsmouth, VA

    To the ANONYMOUS poster who is too cowardly to put his name to his opinion that our guns should be taken away - back then those rifles were all they had, and they were used to hunt animals, protect property, and fight in war. A firearm is a firearm, PERIOD. It would not have mattered to Mr. Adams what kind of firearm it was. As long as you are a law-abiding citizen, you can and SHOULD have a firearm to protect yourself. It makes me sad to think that you live in the state of our founding fathers and sully their sacred honor with your unconstitutional opinions.

    Chuck, NC
    • Reply
    Chuck, NC    8/2/09

    The Second Ammendment is my concealed weapons permit. Tresspassors will be shot. Surrvivors will be shot again.

    mark, tulsa,ok

    "The tree of liberty must be watered from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrrants."

    James, Crossville, TN

    The above quote does in no way refer to gun ownership just for hunting. Several other quotes from our founding fathers refer to gun ownership as a way to throw off any tyranny from our government.

    Charles, Williamsburg, VA

    This is excerpted from; 'The Right to Keep and Bear Arms REPORT of the SUBCOMMITTEE ON THE CONSTITUTION of the UNITED STATES SENATE NINETY-SEVENTH CONGRESS Second Session 1982.' "Subsequent legislation in the second Congress likewise supports the interpretation of the Second Amendment that creates an individual right. In the Militia Act of 1792, the second Congress defined "militia of the United States" to include almost every free adult male in the United States. These persons were obligated by law to possess a firearm and a minimum supply of ammunition and military equipment. This statute, incidentally, remained in effect into the early years of the present century [twentieth] as a legal requirement of gun ownership for most of the population of the United States. There can be little doubt from this that when the Congress and the people spoke of a "militia", they had reference to the traditional concept of the entire populace capable of bearing arms, and not to any formal group such as what is today called the National Guard. The purpose was to create an armed citizenry, which the political theorists at the time considered essential to ward off tyranny. From this militia, appropriate measures might create a "well regulated militia" of individuals trained in their duties and responsibilities as citizens and owners of firearms."

    Mary, Indianapolis

    How is it we have let progressives dictate the education of our children? Sugar coating some things and skipping other parts of our history altogether. Must we really have to experience what it's like to be powerless citizens, owned by a government? No, because we who thoroughtly understand the history understand the import of being able to protect oneself from any government. Unfortunately, children are being dumbed down in school, and will not be taught the history of our country, much less the history of other countries whose citizens have experienced the same helplessness. Education is an incredible weapon. History can and will always be repeated. I propose that if we change education, as in, teachers stick to educating the unbiased facts, and thoroughly, we may just see our country return, in time, to its former glory.


    this didnt help at all

    Tom K, Indianapolis

    That is all fine and great but it doesn't pertain to THIS discussion. I don't care what Paine wrote in "The Rights of Man" or Hamilton wrote in "The Federalist Papers". What I do care is what is actually written in the Constitution. and I quote: "A well organized militia being necessary for the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." Now, I'm no rocket scientist but I do know that in effective writing, you put your main point up front. If it had been written "The right of the people to keep and bear arms, being necessary for a well organized militia and the security of a free state, shall not be infringed." I would say that the main point is the right of the individual person to have weapons with the justifying benefits being increased security for the state and a more readily organized militia. Unfortunately, as written, the MAIN POINT is a "well organized militia' with an armed citizenry as the best way to achieve "the security of a free state". Also...if you are a student of history...then you should know the founding father's (and they hardly agreed amongst themselves) seen the counterwieght to the federal government, never as a populace armed to the teeth, but quasi-independent state governments each with their own little army (militia) which the constitution further stipulates will be funded by the federal government but whose officers will be appointed by the states (thus being loyal to the state and not the fed). In fact, the Constitution goes into great detail about the providing for and restrictions of use for the states militias. The constitution was written in an attempt to fix the problems of the Articles of Confederation which had made the states too powerful and the Fed with not enough authority. My point is that we can all sit around and chant slogans "I'll give up my gun when...." but it's as meaningless as me shouting "Long live two plus two!!" However, if you are a REASONING person you must concede that there is a valid argument that the Constitution, as it is actually written, is NOT protecting the right of individuals to have weapons. It is protecting the right of the individual states to have militias.

    Mike, Norwalk
    • Reply
    Mike, Norwalk Tom K, Indianapolis 3/22/21

    Tom, your reference to "well organized" actually said "well regulated". Regulated here is a military reference meaning, individuals that are to join a militia are to personally have more than mere adequate regulation (weaponry). Only if the term "regulated" was uniquely on the non-military civilian side of the cite could the interpretation be offered organized.

    E Archer, NYC
    • Reply
    E Archer, NYC Tom K, Indianapolis 3/29/21

    The military was to always be under civilian control.  The militia is in fact the people.  There was to be no permanent (standing) federal army and not to exceed a term of 2 years.  We the People chartered the government and did not transfer our power to the government to rule us, quite the contrary.  I have no right to disarm my neighbor, thus, neither does our representative government.

    A. Nonymous, Denver

    The Second Amendment was not about "sportsmen" or duck hunting. The founders clearly believed that individuals were entitled to own guns.

    frankem51, Kingston upon Thames

    It's obvious that the 2nd Amendment is about preventing a standing army. The Founding Fathers could not conceive of criminals getting hold of powerful weaponry like they can now nor of an army the size of which the US has now. But I'm a European who cannot understand objections to rational gun control.

    Jeff, Westfield, IN

    If he knew the arsenal available to our government today, he would have us all driving tanks!!! for - Robert from Sarasota and Anonymous, Reston, VA US


    Thank you Jeff, Westfield, IN. Robert from Sarasota and Anonymous, Reston, Va US are either ignorant of the meaning of the 2nd Amendment or they are supporters of the muslim in chief. I'm so glad I don't live next to them, or, maybe they are fortunate they don't live next to me. Do you know where I could get a good used tank or at least a MRAP? GARDE BIEN

    SpaceCowboy, Central FL

    I find it funny when the anti-gunners try to claim that the founding fathers wouldn't want our ancestors to have the "scary" guns of today. Seeing how the 2nd Amendment was designed to allow ordinary citizens to vanquish oppressive governments like Britain was back, I am quite sure that they would want their citizens to have the same weapons available that their oppressors had so that they wouldn't be outgunned. The problem in today's society is that guns have started becoming taboo and now everyone who didn't grow up around them fear them for no reason other than they don't know how to handle them safely and can't understand that they are simply a tool. 50 years ago it wasn't uncommon for a pre-teen to be walking in the woods by themselves with a .22 rifle or larger strapped across their back, in fact it would be considered possibly dangerous to not be with predators such a wild dogs, wolves and bears lurking around. I am teaching my daughter how to handle guns safely and to understand that they are not a toy or something you use in anger but that they are used in defense of your life or the lives of others. I am fairly confident she will be safer and more respectful of guns than any of the children who are taught to fear them. Teaching people to fear something only leads to fighting over it and eventually someone will get hurt emotionally and/or physically because neither can respect each other's decisions. If you don't like guns then don't buy one, but don't think that just because you don't like them that nobody should.


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