No, George Washington Doesn't Want You Armed Against the Government: E-Mail Debunking Part II

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This little infographic has been making the rounds on Facebook among the more pro-gun people... especially a certain kind of pro-gun people. See, there are hunters, there are people who want to own guns for home protection and there are people who want to own guns simply because they are adults who have the right to and there's no reason they shouldn't -- which is the only reason that makes any real sense.

Then there are people who honestly believe that they need to be armed in case the government comes after them. This standpoint is a little baffling, since in general people who decide to stand up to the government with a firearm usually end up as a stain, but whatever. I believe in the Loch Ness Monster and some people think that's unlikely.

To each his own, but here in the age of the Internet when the entire wealth of human knowledge is available for free at all times, there is simply no excuse for one kind of indulgence. Namely, the misquoting or misattribution of quotes to the dead who can't defend themselves. We can't let people co-opt founding fathers willy and/or nilly, otherwise it grants unlimited license to justify points with falsehood.

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Stop twisting his words
First off, here's the quote being used...

A free people ought not only to be armed and disciplined but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government


Since even Wikiquote lists this under the misattributed section of Washington's quotes there's no excuse. Here's the real quote...

A free people ought not only to be armed but disciplined; to which end, a uniform and well digested plan is requisite: and their safety and interest require that they should promote such manufactories, as tend to render them independent on others for essential, particularly for military supplies.


That's from his first annual address to Congress on January 8, 1790. Reading through Washington's speech, it can clearly be seen that when Washington is talking about "a free people," he means the union as a whole should be well-prepared for any threat to the country. He wasn't talking about people being armed and ready to fight their own representatives.


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43 comments
cmckean
cmckean

He said that all people should be equipped to defend themselves. This was around the time we ended the Confederation and Perpetual Union and went under the U.S Constitution allowing for a strong central government. Of course he wanted the people to be able to defend themselves.

djreworkd
djreworkd

You'd have to be an idiot to think that a person who used arms against his government wouldn't be for the people being armed against their government.  

marcmeq
marcmeq

So let me get this straight... you are saying that the founding fathers, who they themselves just fought for years to free themselves from a tyrannical government, made possible by firearm ownership, did not actually believe that it was important for the citizens of the newly created United States to arm themselves, even possibly against their own government?

Umm... yea... right.....

Whether this quote is accurate or not is irrelevant.. any logical person, seeing as how this country was created and founded, can't seriously, after removing their agenda and ideology, truly believe that the founding fathers didn't want their citizens to rise up against any tyranny, regardless of where it came from.

Gaspar Ramsey
Gaspar Ramsey

Too bad nothing you ever say will make any difference toward penetrating the thick skulls of people who believe this sort of claptrap. I own guns, I support other people's permission to have guns (note that I do not consider it a universal right), but I also think violence is the last refuge of the incompetent, and that armed insurrection against a fairly elected government is, well, futile. Nor does it matter to me how many people are quoted or misquoted in favor or against the notion, it remains a romantic delusion. The ballot box is where change is made.

Richard Doll
Richard Doll

You mean to tell me that things sent to me through the interwebs and email are not always true? Dammit I'm going to contact that Nigerian prince's dad, the king of Nigeria and get my money back. Anyone have his number?

Anse
Anse

I'm so sick of the gun culture of this country. It's got to change. I grew up around guns, my dad was/is an avid hunter and I hunted myself as a boy; I'm not one who is prone to paranoid hysteria around firearms. But this militant craziness is beyond the pale. We live in a country with free elections for crying out loud. If you start reaching for your gun every time your guy loses on election day, you're a crazy moron. Go ahead and keep a gun for self-defense. If you like to hunt, by all means, go for it; I'm a meat eater, and I try not to be a hyprocrite about it. But all this high-minded talk about armed revolution is bullshit. I think 99% of these idiots are actually cowards who are too afraid to fire the first shot and would rather keep up the windy talk so somebody else will.

jadedhuman333
jadedhuman333

If the government actually shuts down like it almost did recently and soldiers aren't paid, we just may not have to stockpile arms. The old geezers may think they run the military but try telling a 21 year old that hes not getting paid but the men in office are. That 21 year old is the one actually driving the tank/airplane/helicopter and possession is 9/10ths the law.

Evan
Evan

If people want to defend themselves against an overbearing government, I would recommend starting a super-PAC and hiring a whole bunch of attorneys. That seems to be a much more effective solution than a bunch of guns. 

Dave
Dave

The part of this that I find hysterical is that there are PLENTY of good quotes on this subject for them.  Just not from George Washington.  Is Thomas Jefferson somehow no longer good enough?

  Mark
Mark

With history as our teacher how hard is it to believe a government won't come after you?

B-Rye
B-Rye

Didn't Washington lead the colonies against their government of the time with force of arms? Just sayin...Sometimes it will be necessary to defend yourself from a threat to your freedom, and sometimes that threat will come from your own government, and to think otherwise I believe is a bit naive.  

Championshipvinyl73
Championshipvinyl73

I love these articles Jef. The one that pisses me off the most by far are the half-assed bible thumpers who defend their bigoted point of view about gay rights by pointing out that "it says so in the bible!" Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 are their fucking favorite. Never mind that on the same page of the same chapter in the same bible it also says that (paraphrasing) if I catch a man screwing my wife that they both should be put to death. So...I can hack them up like Jason Vorhees and not go to jail right? Hey it says so in the bible! Oh, and any of us who haven't been offering up burt offerings (animals, the internal organ of the dead, et al.) are also going to hell. Don't get me started, lol...

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