BOGUS, FAKE & QUESTIONABLE QUOTES
FALSELY ATTRIBUTED TO THE
Even though the Founding Fathers and their contemporaries were quite clear about their support for the individual right to keep and bear arms, some overzealous people have attempted to falsely attribute a few additional quotes to their legacy in order to defeat the gun grabbers. Creating bogus quotes is wrong and counterproductive. It harms the rest of the message sent by any person utilizing a proven fake quote, even if the person is unintentionally and unknowingly repeating a made-up statement.
The fact is that the gun haters lie enough for everyone involved in the gun control debate. Resorting to their methods only lowers us to their level, and therefore it is best to keep our side honest.
While it is impossible to prove that these are phony quotes, no historian has been able to verify the original citation required for authenticity. It is better to be safe than sorry. Check out how an anti-gun judge discredited a letter writer by clicking on this sentence.
For this reason, if you locate any websites innocently citing any of the following quotes, please forward the URL of this page to that page’s webmaster. Furthermore, if you can locate proof that one of these quotes is in fact valid, please forward the information HERE!
Perhaps the most ‘infamous’ bogus saying attributed to a Founding Father is the ‘liberty teeth’ quote alleged to have been said by George Washington. One version of this tale reads:
Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people's liberty teeth and keystone under independence. The church, the plow, the prairie wagon, and citizen's firearms are indelibly related.
From the moment the Pilgrims landed, to the present day, events, occurrences, and tendencies prove that to ensure peace, security and happiness, the rifle and pistol are equally indispensable.
Every corner of this land knows firearms, and more than 99 99/100 percent of them by their silence indicate they are in safe and sane hands.
The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference; they deserve a place of honor with all that's good.
When firearms, go all goes; we need them every hour.
This has several variations including "hour" for "moment" and sometimes added as part of an actual Washington quote "A free people ought not only to be armed…" The various citations are even more numerous than different wordings: Address to the Second Session of the First U.S. Congress; Speech to Congress of January 7, 1790, printed in the Boston Independent Chronicle, January 14, 1790; The Federalist No. 53; Debates and Proceedings in the Convention of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 1785.
The problems with this quote are many. (1) Prairie wagons were not being utilized and the prairies were uninhabited by European settlers at the time. (2) The percentage use and other modern English phrases such as "safe and sane" are suspicious and atypical for the time period. (3) The bold proclamation of needing firearms is odd since nobody was considering gun control against law-abiding people at the time. (4) Too many convenient topics are covered in one passage.
Despite all these problems, could parts of this quote be true? Maybe. But until it can be properly documented, stick to the many proven pro-gun quotes from George Washington and other Founding Fathers.
Another questionable statement attributed to George Washington reads as follows:
Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.
While this quote is often attributed to George Washington in his Farewell Address, this quote cannot be found there. Many people have tried to verify its origin, but cannot confirm its authenticity.
Dan Gifford tried to track this quote down but was unsuccessful for his article. See: "The Conceptual Foundations of Anglo-American Jurisprudence in Religion and Reason", The Tennessee Law Review: A Second Amendment Symposium Issue, Page 801, footnote 201. This issue of the Tennessee Law Review is part of the SAF bookshelf.
Perhaps the American Freedom Library available from Laissez Faire Books features the best history of this alleged quote on their Version 3.1 CD-ROM. The searchable CD-ROM notes that the above statement is:
"Attributed to George Washington.—Frank J. Wilstach, A Dictionary of Similes, 2d ed., p. 526 (1924). This can be found with minor variations in wording and in punctuation, and with ‘fearful’ for ‘troublesome,’ in George Seldes, The Great Quotations, p. 727 (1966). Unverified. In his most recent book of quotations, The Great Thoughts (1985), Seldes Says, p. 441, col. 2, footnote, this paragraph ‘although credited to the 'Farewell' [address] cannot be found in it. Lawson Hamblin, who owns a facsimile, and Horace Peck, America's foremost authority on quotations, informed me this paragraph is apocryphal [fake].’"
Thomas Jefferson has many confirmed quotes on our website. Why anyone felt it necessary to make up a quote is ludicrous. Maybe an anti-gunner did it to discredit all the real quotes.
The strongest reason for people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.
Occasionally this phony quote attributed to Thomas Jefferson is given with the following citation: Thomas Jefferson Papers, 334 (C.J.Boyd, Ed., 1950). The publication exists, but the quote does not. And the editor's correct name is Julian P. Boyd, not C.J. Boyd. In other cases, this quote is added to the end of a proven Jefferson quote "No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms…" Thomas Jefferson, Proposed Virginia Constitution, 1776, Jefferson Papers 344.
The drafter of the Second Amendment needs no help in stating his intent, yet a rare, false statement is sometimes attributed to him. This false quote appears as follows:
The right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the state shall not be questioned.
So far, this quote has not been seen with a citation or reference of any kind. In searching for these questionable 'quotes', neither this Madison ‘quote’ nor the Jefferson ‘quote’ have not been found in their speeches, personal correspondences, or diaries. Nor have either of these statements ever been cited to our knowledge by any respected Second Amendment scholars.
If you have information to the contrary, please send the details and your contact information HERE!
The information provided on these pages are from a variety of sources. For more information about questionable quotations, please visit the GunCite.com website. GunCite.com has an excellent analysis of some of these infamous non-statements HERE. In addition, please check out Firing Back by Clayton Cramer, part of the SAF bookshelf.
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