Question about Founding Father Quotes, in particular the Federalist Papers

Q: When I’ve discussed this with gun nuts, they say they can point to the Federalist Papers to justify their views, saying that these documents indicate the intent of the Founding Fathers. My answer is that the Federalist Papers are not the law of the land. Thoughts?

  • A: Correct the Federalist Paper, and any other founding father quote, is not legal authority. Also, these were documents about the debates.

    I am pretty sure that none of the Federalist papers actually condone insurrection, rebellion, or treason. If anything Numbers 9 and 28 comes down firmly against such activity. Number 28:

    THAT there may happen cases in which the national government may be necessitated to resort to force, cannot be denied. Our own experience has corroborated the lessons taught by the examples of other nations; that emergencies of this sort will sometimes arise in all societies, however constituted; that seditions and insurrections are, unhappily, maladies as inseparable from the body politic as tumors and eruptions from the natural body; that the idea of governing at all times by the simple force of law (which we have been told is the only admissible principle of republican government), has no place but in the reveries of those political doctors whose sagacity disdains the admonitions of experimental instruction.

    Should such emergencies at any time happen under the national government, there could be no remedy but force. The means to be employed must be proportioned to the extent of the mischief. If it should be a slight commotion in a small part of a State, the militia of the residue would be adequate to its suppression; and the national presumption is that they would be ready to do their duty. An insurrection, whatever may be its immediate cause, eventually endangers all government. Regard to the public peace, if not to the rights of the Union, would engage the citizens to whom the contagion had not communicated itself to oppose the insurgents; and if the general government should be found in practice conducive to the prosperity and felicity of the people, it were irrational to believe that they would be disinclined to its support.

    I would point to quotes from the founders about Shays’ Rebellion. Most were appalled by that.

    The United States would not have lasted long had the founders been as accepting of treason, rebellion, insurrection, and sedition as people have become of this sort of bullshit now.

    Bottom line, anyone who points to the Federalist Papers to support insurrectionism has no fucking idea what they are talking about.

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