It is asserted by the most respectable writers upon Government, that a well regulated militia, composed of the yeomanry of the country have ever been considered as the bulwark of a free people; and, says the celebrated Mr. Hume, "without it, it is folly to think any free government will have stability or security. When the sword is introduced, as in our constitution (speaking of the British) the person entrusted will always neglect to discipline the militia, in order to have a pretext for keeping up a standing army; and it is evident this is a mortal distemper in the British parliament, of which it must finally inevitably perish."
A people, entering into society, surrender such a part of their natural rights, as shall be necessary for the existence of that society. They are so precious in themselves, that they would never be parted with, did not the preservation of the remainder require it. They are entrusted in the hands of those, who are very willing to receive them, who are naturally fond of exercising of them, and whose passions are always striving to make a bad use of them.
They are conveyed by a written compact, expressing those which are given up, and the mode in which those reserved shall be secured.
On the need for a Bill of Rights, Antifederalist Papers John DeWitt II (1787)
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