Ben Carson -- in articulating his position on the Second Amendment and defending his view that guns could have prevented the Holocaust -- has quoted famed 19th century orator and politician Daniel Webster as saying the American people would never have tyranny because they are armed.
"As Daniel Webster eloquently said, 'The people of America will never suffer under tyranny because they are armed," Carson said on CBS' Face the Nation on Sunday.
In an interview with USA Today last week, Carson said, "Reading people like Daniel Webster, who talked about tyranny in Europe and said it would never occur in America because the American people were armed. When you look at tyranny and how it occurs, the pattern is so consistent: Get rid of the guns for the people first so you can go in and dominate them."
Carson repeated the quote, attributed to Daniel Webster, again on CBS This Morning, saying, "What I understand quite vividly is what Daniel Webster said. Daniel Webster said America will never suffer under tyranny because the people are armed."
"That's what I understand. So I don't want to see tyranny occur here."
And again, last week, on Fox and Friends, Carson said, "Daniel Webster said that America would never suffer tyranny because the people are armed."
Daniel Webster never said this, however. The quote is from founding father Noah Webster, who Carson correctly attributes in his new book, A More Perfect Union.
From his book:
The idea that an armed citizenry was necessary for maintaining democracy is an old one. In discussions about the Constitution, Noah Webster said, "Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed." True to Webster's observation, American citizens have been armed for hundreds of years and they have been free for hundreds of years. On the other hand, German citizens were disarmed by their government in the late 1930s, and by the mid-1940s Hitler's regime had mercilessly slaughtered six million Jews and numerous others whom they considered inferior. Through a combination of removing guns and disseminating deceitful propaganda, the Nazis were able to carry out their evil intentions with relatively little resistance. Atrocities involving the murder of millions of people were also carried out against the people of China, the USSR, Uganda, Cuba, Cambodia, and Turkey, among others , after the people had been disarmed by tyrants.
Andrew Kaczynski is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
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