“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
“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.