No freeman shall be debarred the use of arms (Quotation)

This sentence comes from Thomas Jefferson's three drafts of the Virginia Constitution. The text does vary slightly in each draft:

First Draft: "No freeman shall ever be debarred the use of arms."[1]

Second Draft: "No freeman shall be debarred the use of arms [within his own lands or tenements]."[2]

Third Draft: "No freeman shall be debarred the use of arms [within his own lands or tenements]"[3]

This sentence does not appear in the Virginia Constitution as adopted.

Note: This sentence is often seen paired with the following: "The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." That sentence does not appear in the Virginia Constitution drafts or text as adopted, nor in any other Jefferson writings that we know of.

Footnotes

  1. PTJ, 1:344.
  2. Ibid., 353. Brackets appear in the original manuscript.
  3. Ibid., 363. Brackets appear in the original manuscript.

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Discussion

says

but did he write or say the part about the protection from "tyranny in government" and further to the point, how does what he wrote in the draft of the Virginia Constitution relate his writing of the US Constitution.

says

Madison was the prime author of the Constitution. Jefferson was in Paris.

says

While the Monticello site tries their best to say he didn't say it, they print it up and say it was in 1.) his first draft, 2.) his 2nd draft.....

So HE DID say (or write it), even if he did change it later.

Sort of like John Kerry saying he was for it before he was against it (and) BO saying he is against sequestration (even though he used to be for it).

Don't you just love how these libs are literally trying to change history while talking out of both sides of their mouth??!!!

says

Scott,

I think it's pretty clear that this research firmly establishes that Jefferson did write at least part (perhaps the most important part) of the quotation attributed to him. That it was not ultimately adopted in the Virginia Constitution is not a coverup, any more than the the final version of the Declaration of Independence is a coverup of Jefferson's initial draft.

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