• “It were doubtless to be wished, that the power of prohibiting the importation of slaves had not been postponed until the year 1808, or rather that it had been suffered to have immediate operation. But it is not difficult to account, either for this restriction on the general government, or for the manner in which the whole clause is expressed. It ought to be considered as a great point gained in favor of humanity, that a period of twenty years may terminate forever, within these States, a traffic which has so long and so loudly upbraided the barbarism of modern policy; that within that period, it will receive a considerable discouragement from the federal government, and may be totally abolished, by a concurrence of the few States which continue the unnatural traffic, in the prohibitory example which has been given by so great a majority of the Union. Happy would it be for the unfortunate Africans, if an equal prospect lay before them of being redeemed from the oppressions of their European brethren!” ~James Madison, Federalist Paper No. 42
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  • “The augmentation of slaves weakens the states; and such a trade is diabolical in itself, and disgraceful to mankind.” ~George Mason
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  • “To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them.” ~George Mason, after the British Royal Military Governor of Massachusetts, General Thomas Gage, sent 800 British Army Regulars, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Francis Smith, on a preemptive raid to seize guns from American patriots at Lexington and Concord (April 1775)
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  • “That no free government, or the blessing of liberty, can be preserved to any people but by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality, and virtue, and by frequent recurrence to fundamental principles.” ~George Mason, Virginia Declaration of Rights, Section XV [1776]
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  • “I ask, Who are the militia? They consist now of the whole people…” ~George Mason (1788)
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  • “I ask, Who are the militia? They consist now of the whole people…” ~George Mason (1788)
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  • I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people, except for a few public officials. ~George Mason
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  • “The augmentation of slaves weakens the states; and such a trade is diabolical in itself, and disgraceful to mankind.” ~George Mason
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  • There is a Passion natural to the Mind of man, especially a free Man, which renders him impatient of Restraint. ~George Mason
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  • “Those gentlemen, who will be elected senators, will fix themselves in the federal town, and become citizens of that town more than of your state.” ~George Mason, speech in the Virginia Ratifying Convention, 1788
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