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The spirit of our political organization, on the other hand, is, by extending as far as practicable the right of suffrage, to subject the measures and operations of government to the influence of the greatest possible number, and, by arming and disciplining every citizen, to be prepared to sustain in all emergencies, by the united force of the whole community, a system instituted for the benefit of the whole. The theory of this part of the system is, that every citizen shall be armed, and that he shall be instructed also in the use of arms. The reasonings by which the utility of such a social organization is supported are so unanswerable, that it is doubted by the most sagacious observers whether our civil liberties could be maintained for a length of time without the influence and protection of a militia. The same causes which would render such a force dangerous to the existence of an arbitrary government render it indispensable to the existence of ours.

That this was the opinion of the original parties to the Constitution of the United States, is apparent from the second article of the amendments of that instrument, which assumes that "a well-regulated militia" is "necessary to the security of a free state," and declares that "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed"; showing that the militia was designed by those who had the largest share in its institution, not merely as a support to the public authority, but, in the last restort, as a protection to the people against the government itself.
Adjutant General John A. Dix to the New York legislature in 1832 concerning a proposal to reduce state encouragement of the militia.
Title: Speeches and occasional addresses. By John A. Dix.
Author: Dix, John A. (John Adams), 1798-1879. pp. 117-118
http://quod.lib.umich.edu/m/moagrp/
 
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