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last revised 03/26/05

From the works of Fisher Ames

On page 76 of That Every Man Be Armed the NRA's leading pseudoscholar Stephen Halbrook writes:

Jack Rakove addresses Ames' comment on Madison's bill of rights in footnote 12 of "The Highest Stage of Originalism" in the Chicago-Kent symposium.

The fuller text of the quote is from a letter to Thomas Dwight, June 11, 1789:

From Works of Fisher Ames as published by Seth Ames, W. B. Allen edition (1983), p. 641-2.

The right "of changing the government at pleasure" is interesting. The words are not in the Bill of Rights. The issue was addressed as a constitutional issue in the Dorr Rebellion in the 1840s

Fisher Ames' thoughts on the matter were previously expressed in his reaction to and comments on Shays' Rebellion in seven essays published between October, 1786 and March, 1787. The repudiation of Halbrook's anarchic purposes is quite severe. The Constitution and legislative bodies referred to in these essays were of the State of Massachusetts. The US Constitution had not yet been written and ratified. The 1780 Massachusetts Constition, largely written by John Adams, interestingly is only one of the original thirteen still in force.

October 12, 1786

Others in preparation:
October 19, 1786: "To the Respectable Members of the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives:"

October 26, 1786: "To the Respectable Members of the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives:"

February 15, 1787: "Mess'rs Printers:"

February 22, 1787: "Mess'rs, Adams & Nourse:"

March 1, 1787

March 15, 1787

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