Only a Virtuous People: To Alter or Abolish


“That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.” (Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of Independance, July 4, 1776.)

“Live free or die.” (Official motto of the state of New Hampsire. This motto is quite a bit different than the one we've adopted instead — Safety no matter what, even if we become slaves and loose our religion in the process.)

“Whenever the ends of government are perverted, and public liberty manifestly endangered, and all other means of redress are ineffectual, the people may, and of right ought to reform the old, or establish a new government. The doctrine of nonresistance against arbitrary power, and oppression, is absurd, slavish, and destructive of the good and happiness of mankind.” (New Hampshire's constitution guarantees its citizens the right to rebellion, in Article 10 of the constitution's Bill of Rights. This is the state with the motto “Live free or die.” Constitution of the State of New Hampshire)

“When a government betrays the people by amassing too much power and becoming tyrannical, the people have no choice but to exercise their original right of self-defense — to fight the government.” (Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist Papers, No. 28.)

“The ultimate authority resides in the people, and that if the federal government go too powerful and overstepped its authority, then the people would develop plans of resistance and resort to arms.” (James Madison, The Federalist Papers, No. 46.)