"Let us recollect that peace or war will not always be left to our option; that however moderate or unambitious we may be, we cannot count upon the moderation, or hope to extinguish the ambition of others. ...The best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed."
Alexander Hamilton (1757-1804) Source: the Federalist Papers at 184-8
"Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority. It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters."
Daniel Webster (1782-1852)
"I am thus far a Quaker, that I would gladly argue with all the world to lay aside the use of arms and settle matters by negotiation, but unless the whole will, the matter ends, and I take up my musket and thank Heaven He has put it in my power."
Thomas Paine (1737-1809)