originally appeared on Kim Weissman's
Congress Action Newsletter
August 23, 1787:
Mr. RUFUS KING (Massachusetts delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1787): [Definition of terms used during the discussion of the militia]: “By way of explanation, said that by organizing [a militia], the Committee meant, proportioning the officers and men; by arming, specifying the kind size and caliber of arms; and by disciplining, prescribing the manual exercise evolutions etc.”
Mr. ELBRIDGE GERRY (Massachusetts delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1787 and delegate to the Massachusetts ratification convention of 1788): [Equating the disarming of citizens with despotism, in the discussion of removing command over organized militias from the States] “This power in the U.S. as explained is making the States drill sergeants. He had as lief let the Citizens of Massachusetts be disarmed, as to take the command from the States, and subject them to the General Legislature. It would be regarded as a system of Despotism.”
Mr. JAMES MADISON [Definition of terms used during the discussion of the militia]: “Observed that ‘arming’ as explained did not did not extend to furnishing arms; nor the term ‘disciplining’ to penalties and Courts Martial for enforcing them.”
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