"A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercises, I advise the gun.
While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise and independence to the mind.
Games played with the ball, and others of that nature, are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind.
Let your gun therefore be your constant companion
of your walks."
- Thomas Jefferson, from a letter to Peter Carr, 1785
"The Constitution . . . meant that its coordinate branches should be checks on each other. But the opinion which gives to the judges the right to decide what laws are constitutional and what not, not only for themselves in their own sphere of action but for the Legislature and Executive also in their spheres, would make the Judiciary a despotic branch."
- Thomas Jefferson from a letter to Abigail Adams, 1804
"The rifle itself has no moral stature, since it has no will of its own.
Naturally, it may be used by evil men for evil purposes, but there are more good men than evil, and while the latter cannot be persuaded to the path of righteousness by propaganda, they can certainly be corrected by good men with rifles."
- Col. Jeff Cooper, from The Art of the Rifle
Democracy is two wolves and one sheep voting on what to have for dinner. Liberty is the well-armed lamb contesting the vote.
- often erroneously attributed to Benjamin Franklin (in this form) - True author unknown to us but still a damn good pair of lines!
"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
- Benjamin Franklin, Nov 11 1755, from the Pennsylvania Assembly’s reply to the Governor of Pennsylvania
“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. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man."
- From Thomas Jefferson’s Commonplace Book 1774-1776, quoting 18th century Italian criminologist Cesare Beccaria in Chapter 40 of On Crimes and Punishment, 1764
“Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed, as they are in almost every country in Europe”
- Noah Webster from the 1787 Pamphlets on the Constitution of the US
“A free people ought to be armed.”
- George Washington, Jan 14 1790, Boston Independent Chronicle
“No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.”
- From The Thomas Jefferson Papers 334
"When angry, count ten before you speak; if very angry, an hundred."
- From correspondence to Thomas Jefferson Smith, February 21, 1825 (included in The Jefferson Papers)