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Each State, in ratifying the Constitution, is considered as a sovereign body, independent of all others, and only to be bound by its own voluntary act. In this relation, then, the new Constitution will, if established, be a FEDERAL, and not a NATIONAL constitution.
It is clear from the words of the founders of this country that the right to ‘keep and bear arms’ is an inviolable personal right. They protected this right by the Second Amendment to the federal constitution and by provisions of the constitutions of the states. This is a subject for debate only by those ignorant of our history, or those that purposely wish to deny us our rights and, ultimately, to subjugate us under the tyranny of government perverted from its constitutional foundations.
We should not trick ourselves into believing that we can pick and choose which part of the Bill of Rights we support.
The Constitution is a written instrument. As such, its meaning does not alter. That which it meant when it was adopted, it means now.
The foundation on which all [constitutions] are built is the natural equality of man, the denial of every preeminence but that annexed to legal office, and particularly the denial of a preeminence by birth.
The private actions of men which in no way offend public order or morality, nor injure a third party, are only reserved to God and are exempted from the authority of judges. No inhabitant of the Nation shall be obliged to perform what the law does not demand nor deprived of what it does not prohibit.
This balance between the National and State governments ought to be dwelt on with peculiar attention, as it is of the utmost importance. It forms a double security to the people. If one encroaches on their rights they will find a powerful protection in the other. Indeed, they will both be prevented from overpassing their constitutional limits by a certain rivalship, which will ever subsist between them.
At the establishment of our constitutions, the judiciary bodies were supposed to be the most helpless and harmless members of the government. Experience, however, soon showed in what way they were to become the most dangerous.
No man can well doubt the propriety of placing a president of the United States under the most solemn obligations to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution.
[N]either the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt.