Tench Coxe Quote

“The militia of these free commonwealths, entitled and accustomed to their arms, when compared with any possible army,  must be tremendous and irresistible. Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? Is it feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man against his own bosom. Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birth-right of an American ... the unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people.”

~ Tench Coxe

Pennsylvania Gazette, February 20, 1788

Ratings and Comments

E Archer, NYC

Truly amazing. It is so odd that today the term 'militia' draws so much criticism in America -- it is a tell-tale sign that the powers-that-be have made significant strides to subvert the very right to defend oneself. To every person who claims to love Liberty and defend her, I ask, are you a member of the militia? Are you "entitled and accustomed to your arms"? That is one thing we can do -- join the local citizen militia. It has worked in Switzerland for centuries -- and it is an American right -- and dare I say, an American responsibility. If I am unwilling to defend my own freedom, who will? -- if I won't, who even can? The real danger to Liberty lies with those who will not defend their own Freedom.

Barry Bright, Taylor County, Kentucky

gee, all these people appear to 'support' the 'idea' of the militia. How many are actually training with one?

john-douglas, nassau

I believe it was Washington who said (I paraphrase) "Next to the Constitution, the firearm is a citizen's most valued possession."

  • Reply
P.M.    4/7/05
Anonymous, Reston, VA US

Voting is much more important than the ability to open heavy arms fire on your neighbor. It is crazy quotes like this that are used to justify keeping automatic weapons in the hands of organized crime. One must really read these things with an eye to what these words ment in the day when they were written, not today. "Organized militia" did not and should not mean the boys in the hood or the local hate group of the day's ranch, yet these words are being interpreted to mean just that. In this day and age it is more about joining your local national guard than owning your own personal glock.

john-douglas, nassau

I think Reston has been brainwashed - probably by the education system. Join the National Guard?! I hope Reston does that and gets a good look at how fighting in Iraq defends our personal liberty back here in the USA. Also: The very idea these words can ever be interpreted to authorize organized crime to own and keep automatic weapons is so ridiculous Reston destroys his own credibility.

Brian D. Pickett, Tampa, Florida

It is precisly the attitude of "Anonymous" from Reston, Va. that have enabled politicians to weaken the 2nd Amendment and thus put all our rights in jeopardy. I can no longer have or hold a firearm, nor may I vote, because I was one who was vilified, arrested and imprisoned during the Goverment's crack-down on militias and other patriotic groups back in the 1990s. I now have no choice but to use my voice in opposition to the Government and to person such as "Anonymous".

Michael, Houston, TX

Reston, YOU IDIOT!!! (PS: I don't mean that in a bad way.)

Mike, Norwalk

AfR is almost ok, he's used to using illogic off the subject to prove some un-rational thought. By way of example: AfR doesn't recognize that the more God is taken out of the government, schools and public, the more socialist programs are implemented, the more immorality is touted as normal, the more compelled compliance, license, theft of the noble labor's fruit, victimless crimes, forced charity - ID - insurance, and gun control is perpetrated on individuals, the more harsh the society, the more violent the crimes and, law enforcement is no longer adequate to protect the individuals.

Joe, Rochester, MI

Reston has thrown in a red herring (typical). This quote is not about voting, nor is it about him wanting to murder his neighbors because he is paranoid and sees organized criminals all around him who have what weapons they want regardless of laws. It is about the 99.8% law-abiding citizens who have the right to own any and all "arms" they want to stand against the few criminals. I'm not sure he's an idiot ... just a liberal-socialist.

Eric Engstrom, Wichita, KS

And not everyone is cut out to defend themselves, so those unable or unwilling to do so want to hobble those of us that are able and willing. Let's be frank, I don't trust anyone with my security and safety more than myself, and LEAST of all the government. And I work for the goverbment!! Ponder that Reston, and let's not beat up on this gentle soul gentlemen.

Ken, Allyn, WA

What radical, right-wing, gun nuts those founding fathers were! God love 'em. If it weren't for their affection for guns, we'd be sipping tea and eating crumpets (whatever they are).


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