"The militia, when properly formed, are in fact the people themselves, ... all men capable of bearing arms;..."
— "Letters from the Federal Farmer to the Republic", 1788 (either Richard Henry Lee or Melancton Smith).
"Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? Is it feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man against his own bosom? Congress shall have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birth-right of an American ... The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the People."
— Tench Coxe, 1788.
"How we burned in the prison camps later thinking: What would things have been like if every police operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive? If during periods of mass arrests people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever was at hand? The organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and, notwithstanding all of Stalin's thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt."
— Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Nobel Prize winner and author of The Gulag Archipelago, who spent 11 years in Soviet concentration camps.
If we are ready to violate the Constitution, will the people submit to our unauthorized acts? Sir, they ought not to submit; they would deserve the chains that our measures are forging for them, if they did not resist.
— Edward Livingston
Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.
— Mao Zedong, Nov. 6, 1938, Selected Works, Vol. 2
The meaning of "militia"
The word "militia" is a Latin abstract noun, meaning "military service", not an "armed group" (with the connotation of plurality), and that is the way the Latin-literate Founders used it. The collective term, meaning "army" or "soldiery" was "volgus militum". Since for the Romans "military service" included law enforcement and disaster response, it might be more meaningfully translated today as "defense service", associated with a "defense duty", which attaches to individuals as much as to groups of them, organized or otherwise.
When we are alone, we are all militia units of one. When together with others in a situation requiring a defensive response, we have the duty to act together in concert to meet the challenge. Those two component duties, of individuals to defend the community, and to act together in concert with others present, when combined with a third component duty to prepare to do one's duty and not just wait until the danger is clear and present, comprises the militia duty.
Real courage is found, not in the willingness to risk death, but in the willingness to stand, alone if necessary, against the ignorant and disapproving herd. — Jon Roland, 1976
"I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people, except for a few public officials."
— George Mason, in Debates in Virginia Convention on
Ratification of the Constitution, Elliot, Vol. 3, June 16, 1788
MAN UP and JOIN UP!