--Samuel Adams
"The Constitution shall never be construed....to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms" (Samuel Adams, Debates and Proceedings in the Convention of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 86-87)
--Trench Coxe
"As civil rulers, not having their duty to the people before them, may attempt to tyrannize, and as the military forces which must be occasionally raised to defend our country, might pervert their power to the injury of their fellow citizens, the people are confirmed by the article in their right to keep and bear their private arms." (Tench Coxe in `Remarks on the First Part of the Amendments to the Federal Constitution' under the Pseudonym `A Pennsylvanian' in the Philadelphia Federal Gazette, June 18, 1789 at 2 col. 1)
"Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birthright of an American... The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state government, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people" (Tench Coxe, Pennsylvania Gazette, Feb. 20, 1788)
--Alexander Hamilton
"...but if circumstances should at any time oblige the government to form an army of any magnitude, that army can never be formidable to the liberties of the people, while there is a large body of citizens, little if at all inferior to them in discipline and use of arms, who stand ready to defend their rights..."
(Alexander Hamilton speaking of standing armies in Federalist 29.)
-- Patrick Henry
"The great object is that every man be armed" and "everyone who is able may have a gun." (Patrick Henry, in the Virginia Convention on the ratification of the Constitution. Debates and other Proceedings of the Convention of Virginia,...taken in shorthand by David Robertson of Petersburg, at 271, 275 2d ed. Richmond, 1805. Also 3 Elliot, Debates at 386)
"Are we at last brought to such humiliating and debasing degradation, that we cannot be trusted with arms for our defense? Where is the difference between having our arms in possession and under our direction, and having them under the management of Congress? If our defense be the real object of having those arms, in whose hands can they be trusted with more propriety, or equal safety to us, as in our own hands?" (Patrick Henry, 3 J. Elliot, Debates in the Several State Conventions 45, 2d ed. Philadelphia, 1836)
--Thomas Jefferson
"No Free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms." (Thomas Jefferson,
Proposal Virginia Constitution, 1 T. Jefferson Papers, 334,[C.J.Boyd, Ed., 1950])
--Richard Henry Lee
"A militia, when properly formed, are in fact the people themselves...and include all men capable of bearing arms." (Richard Henry Lee, Additional Letters from the Federal Farmer (1788) at 169)
"To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of people always possess arms, and be taught alike especially when young, how to use them."
(Richard Henry Lee, 1788, Initiator of the Declaration of Independence,
and member of the first Senate, which passed the Bill of Rights)
--James Madison
"Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation. . . Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms." (James Madison, author of the Bill of Rights, in Federalist Paper No. 46. at 243-244)
"The right of the people to keep and bear...arms shall not be infringed.
A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to
arms, is the best and most natural defense of a free country..."
(James Madison, I Annals of Congress 434 [June 8, 1789])
-- Miscellaneous Sources
"The right of the people to keep and bear arms has been recognized by the General Government; but the best security of that right after all is, the military spirit, that taste for martial exercises, which has always distinguished the free citizens of these States....Such men form the best barrier to the liberties of America" - (Gazette of the United States, October 14, 1789.)
--William Rawle
"The prohibition is general. No clause in the Constitution could by any rule
of construction be conceived to give to Congress a power to disarm the
people. Such a flagitious attempt could only be made under some general
pretense by a state legislature. But if in any blind pursuit of inordinate power,
either should attempt it, this amendment may be appealed to as a restraint on both."  [William Rawle, A View of the Constitution 125-6 (2nd ed. 1829)
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