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Revitalization of the State Militias: A Review of Edwin Vieira’s The Sword and Sovereignty

Revitalization of the State Militias
A Review of Edwin Vieira’s The Sword and Sovereignty

by Nelson Hultberg

On April 19, 1775, the battles of Lexington and Concord on the outskirts of Boston ignited the conflict that led to the most momentous political event of man’s history – the Declaration of Independence and the birth of America. In the early morning hours of that day, a command of British troops was dispatched from Boston to search out and confiscate stores of militia weapons and supplies at Concord. On the way they confronted a small and unimposing band of armed American militia at Lexington. The British Major John Pitcairn shouted out, “Ye villains, ye Rebels, disperse; damn you, disperse! Lay down your arms!”

The American militia were under the command of Captain, John Parker; and their orders were to remain non-antagonistic to the British. They were outnumbered by almost ten to one. So why didn’t they lay down their arms when ordered to do so? “Because,” says constitutional scholar Edwin Vieira, “free men with a duty to keep and bear arms never willingly lay down their arms. And at Lexington, none of them did.” The heroic militia Captain John Parker warned his men, “if they mean to have a war let it begin here.” And begin it did.

Importance of the State Militias

With his newest book, The Sword and Sovereignty, Edwin Vieira, Jr., has given us a magisterial work that meticulously documents the history of the early American militias and why similar units must be revitalized today if we are to adequately confront our disintegration as a society and restore the republic that the Founders gave us. It is a book that will profoundly shock 98 percent of Americans. It is so overpowering in its legal logic and constitutional veracity that the intellectuality of Cicero and Plutarch comes to mind as one reads the prose. It is not a book that can be read lightly; it demands a tolerance for legal thought and abstract conceptualization. But for those “men of the mind” who understand the importance of ideas in the unfolding of history, the effort will be most rewarding. You will be shown an entirely new way of seeing things regarding guns, militia, the Second Amendment, homeland security, how they intertwine, and how they have been grossly misrepresented by quisling, pseudo-experts of the establishment.

For the first 125 years of our history, the “Militia of the several States” was a highly honored institution that played a vital role in preserving the concept of federalism upon which our system of freedom depends. This ended with the Militia Act of 1903, which shifted the “Militia of the several States” into National Guard units under the auspices of the national military. State and local control was eliminated.

In addition, as Vieira tells us, over the past century decades “of disuse, misuse, and abuse have so thoroughly muddled the meaning of ‘Militia’ in contemporary American political discourse that the word is hardly ever encountered except as invective, usually well-freighted with vituperative adjectives such as ‘extremist’ and ‘violent’, broadcast by the enemies of constitutional government (and their dupes and other ‘useful idiots’) for the purpose of intimidating into silence the people they intend to oppress as soon as the vast majority of Americans has been thoroughly disarmed through one form of ‘gun control’ or another.”

Anybody today with a modicum of brains can see that our nation is being transformed into a “first-class police state.” Homeland Security and Washington’s outrageous “Patriot Acts” are Alice in Wonderland institutions that have taken us a giant step down the path to Orwell’s nightmare. Our military-industrial complex grows exponentially. The Federal Government has become a Godzilla of ugliness and menace. Our Congressmen are Machiavellian schemers wallowing in sophistic mazes and treason to truth.

Vieira’s answer to this pernicious evolution is startling. As with all big thinkers in history, he asks us (like Steve Jobs did to his comrades at Apple) to “Think Different!” He maintains that America cannot be saved unless she revitalizes her original concept of the “Militia of the several States.” The Sword and Sovereignty explains – in 1,945 pages of text and 305 pages of appendixes, tables, and notes – why this must be done and how to constitutionally do it. Magisterial scholarship is putting it mildly.

History and Restoration of the Militias

The book explores the legal history of the pre-constitutional Militia statutes of colonial times to demonstrate that armed and well-regulated Militias formed on the state level are what the Founders intended for the provision of “homeland security.” The monstrosity of today’s centralized Homeland Security Department in Washington is not needed; a revival of the “Militia of the several States” and unequivocal acknowledgement of the people’s right to bear arms will give us everything we require. This will decentralize “security” in the country and help greatly to check the ominous peril of the military-industrial complex.

Many Americans will perceive this as a quixotic attempt to turn back the clock and revive a hopeless anachronism that prevailed in the era of flintlock muskets and tri-cornered caps. Not so. Vieira demonstrates his points legally with the same overpowering logic that Ludwig von Mises puts forth economically in Human Action. Mises was relentless in rational destructions of the socialists’ sinister fallacies. So too is Vieira in his dismantling of the arguments of today’s collectivist control freaks.

After he traces the legal history of pre-constitutional Militia and gun statutes, he then lays out seventeen fundamental principles (in seventeen chapters) to define how the constitutional structure and service of a revitalized “Militia of the several States” would be validated. When one is done reading these seventeen chapters, he sees clearly that a revitalization of the state Militias is constitutionally legitimate and workable in the modern day. Whether or not they can be revived is, of course, an open question. There is huge opposition in all establishment schools, bureaucracies, and courts to such a radical restructuring of society’s power relationships. But Vieira demonstrates in compelling fashion why and how it can be done if Americans still have the will.

One of the most profound parts of the book is its explanation in Chapter One of the present day fallacy of “judicial supremacy,” showing how the Supreme Court is not the ultimate judge of “what the law is.” Congress stands above the Court and may stipulate how the Judges are to interpret the laws. But most importantly, the People stand above Congress, for they are the creators of Congress via the Constitution. WE THE PEOPLE rule in America, not congressional despots and judicial oligarchs.

As the famous eighteenth century jurist, Sir William Blackstone, stated in Commentaries on the Laws of England, “whenever a question arises between the society at large and any magistrate vested with powers originally delegated by that society, it must be decided by the voice of the society itself: there is not upon earth any other tribunal to resort to.”

Thus the salvation of America must come with reassertion of the citizens’ fundamental right to decide the ultimate issues of their lives. Through political techniques such as nullification on the part of juries and state governments the overweening excesses of today’s Federal Government and its bureaucratic thugs can be brought to heel.

It is important to understand that Vieira is NOT proposing “private” Militias, the likes of which we have seen in recent years from racial supremacy groups and neo-Nazi extremists. What Vieira is proposing is the revitalization of governmentally created and legitimized Militia units among the states that our Constitution calls irrevocably for. These will be legislated and regulated by the state governments. They will be official government bodies in all the towns and cities of the land, not rogue factions that operate from wilderness hideouts. The leftist establishment media will, no doubt, attempt to portray Vieira’s plan as the promotion of wilderness wackos reveling in burning crosses and white sheets; but hopefully learned Americans will recognize such smear tactics as the inexcusable liberal vacuity that it is.

Benefits of Militia Restoration

There are so many benefits to such a revitalization. As Vieira writes, “Today, at every level of the federal system, America is woefully unprepared to deal effectively with hurricanes, tornados, floods, earthquakes, and other natural disasters; with major industrial accidents, such as leakages from offshore oil-drilling rigs or meltdowns of nuclear power plants; with epidemics and pandemics; with crop failures and possibly attendant famines; with invasions through the Volkerwanderung of illegal immigration; with economic breakdowns, and in particular a collapse of this country’s monetary and banking systems; and with the myriad threats posed by real terrorism. ‘[W]ell regulated Militia’, however, not only could deal with the consequences of such events, but also could forefend many of them.”

In addition, the Militia can be used to investigate the constitutionality of the laws that they execute, they can supervise honest elections, they can help to repel a foreign power invasion, they can help local police, they can be very instrumental in defeating the machinations of globalism, etc.

Another crucial point to grasp is that the revitalized Militia will not be in anyway a part of the regular military, nor will they be under the thumb of Congress. This is the way the Constitution established them in the beginning, and this is the way they must be revived. They will be institutions of unity and defense at the state government level. Their revival will begin the vital process of restoring “federalism.”

Owning Guns Not Enough

Vieira explains that the individual right to bear arms as a defense against tyranny will not suffice in and of itself. “For, confronted by usurpers and tyrants deploying ‘standing armies’ and para-militarized police forces, or by hordes of foreign invaders, armed individuals in isolation or in small groups would likely prove feckless.”

Thus we need the establishment of collective, coordinated state Militias, which is why the Second Amendment says, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Revitalized Militias will build a protective wall between ourselves and all tyrants. “Because ‘the Militia of the several States’ are State governmental institutions,” says Vieira, “no contemporary form of ‘gun control’ can be applied to them or their members by either Congress or the States’ legislatures. Rather, it is the duty of Congress and the States’ legislatures to see that all members of the Militia are properly armed, not to any degree disarmed.” Thus the gun controllers will be stopped dead in their tracks.

The pre-constitutional colonial and state statutes during the 150 years leading up to 1787, demonstrate irrefutably that Militias organized on the state and local levels were held by the patriots of the era to be vital for the defense of freedom and order in the republic. The modern day is no different; in fact, such institutions are even more vital. Upon this right of individual and local self-defense, there can be no compromise.

Most libertarians and conservatives are aware of the recent testimony in front of Congress by Suzanna Hupp regarding our right to bear arms. She was one of the victims of the tragic Luby’s massacre in Killeen, Texas in 1991 and lost both her parents to the gun-toting madman. She testified to our Washington solons that if she had been allowed to carry the gun she owned in her purse, she would have been able to kill the madman and would have saved numerous lives including her parents.

Then she topped off her heroic testimony with these searing words as she stared Senator Charles Schumer and his imperious cronies right in the eyes: “I am sitting here getting more and more fed up with all of this talk about these pieces of machinery having no legitimate sporting purpose, no legitimate hunting purpose. People, that is not the point of the Second Amendment. The Second Amendment is not about duck hunting….It is about our rights, all of our rights to be able to protect ourselves from all of you guys up there.”

How to Bring About the Revitalization

The Militias of early America in both pre and post Constitution eras were basically compulsory institutions. The states mandated that all able-bodied men were subject to membership and duty. In other words the states had the right to impress citizens into the Militia. This, of course, will not be acceptable to the libertarian community of the modern day. So if the Militias are to be revived, they will have to be voluntarily joined as Independent Militia Companies formed by the state governments. And this is the procedure that Vieira advocates. Independent Militia Companies must spring up under the auspices of the state governments via volunteers.

Vieira goes into detail, however, explaining how the early American viewpoint was that membership in the Militias had to be compulsory, and that eventually they should be formed into such units as Americans are educated in this upcoming century toward their duties as well as their rights in maintaining a free republic. He makes a very passionate case for regaining the “all for one and one for all” spirit that animated early Americans’ willingness to tolerate compulsory membership in their local Militias. Being a political libertarian, I would disagree on this point and rely permanently on voluntary units as the undergirding structure to revitalization. The Militias might not work as efficiently, and their memberships might not be spread as evenly among all citizens, but they will be a lot safer units of government under volunteer recruitment policies.

The Founders understood the power lusting nature of man and the necessity for citizens to be armed and organized at all times as protection from their rulers. Suzanna Hupp understands this. Edwin Vieira understands it. And now we as a people must come to realize it. Our right to bear arms has nothing to do with duck hunting. State Militias have nothing to do with wilderness wackos.

“The struggle that has been thrust upon Americans,” writes Vieira, “is not one to preserve the uniquely American way of life, but to restore it.” The plague of factions and collectivist usurpers has decimated the republic. “Today, the true America exists only as fleeting, dissipating shadows of her former self.”

The Sword and Sovereignty message will go a long way toward restoring that resplendent America we lost. It is a profoundly patriotic work of powerful impact that can direct our intelligentsia toward a rediscovery of our real roots. Any thinking man or woman today who fears for America’s survival needs to tackle this book. It is available in CD format at Amazon.


Nelson Hultberg is a freelance writer in Dallas, Texas and the Director of Americans for a Free Republic His articles have appeared in such publications as the Dallas Morning News, The American Conservative, Insight, The Freeman, and Liberty, as well as on numerous Internet sites such as The Daily Bell, Financial Sense, and Safe Haven. He is also the author of The Golden Mean: Libertarian Politics, Conservative Values to be released in March of 2013. Email him at:

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Read James Madison - Federalist #46

The First thing that is required is adequate representation, and to have that, you need smaller states before you speak of revitalizing state militias.


Next, it requires the Citizens, not the "state", to be armed with a 25 to 1 power superiority to the "standing army"

(whether the standing army is state or federal);

This 25 to 1 Citizen "over" standing army "POWER RATIO" was clearly established by James Madison in FEDERALIST #46:

See on front page (bottom) American Patriot Party.CC

or at :

Educate Yourself. Educate Others.

RichardTaylorAPP - Chair - American Patriot Party.CC

John Locke #201, 202, 212 to 232; Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions 1798; Virginia Ratifying Convention 6-16-1788; Rights of the Colonists 1772.

Bottom-up structure being discussed is self-evident

The comments that this structure needs to be bottom-up is clearly relevant and necessary. However, the Governor of each State MUST be in charge because of the Constitutional requirement in Article IV, Section 4 which states that the Constitution guarantees a Republican form of government.

The "Militia of the several States" is a governmental institution, not a private institution. As Dr. Vieira points out, even in Rhodes Island where independent Militia companies could apply for a Colonial or State charter to participate in the Militia, they were not authorized as private Militia groups but as independent State Militia groups, once authorized.

There was no provision in any State for a private Militia at any time in our history up until the States removed their official Militias in the period of 1903-1908 to conform to the provisions of the Dick Law (or Act) of 1903. By January 21, 1908, every State legislature had altered their Militia laws to comply with the Dick Law.

So we certainly need to revitalize the "Militia" as a bottom-up structure, with proper State legislation for its organization, funding, operations, and proper statutory authority. People who want to do otherwise will have no legal authority to operate. That is THE problem with other proposals.

The Militia is supposed to be the one governmental organization that is made up of the People en mass. The role of the Militia is to "execute the laws" as the ultimate authority of the country. This role falls under the specific authority of the Governor as the commander-in-chief of the State, and "when called into the actual service of the United States" it falls on to the President (but only in the case of such "actual service.")

I hope this helps to clarify the issue. All of this opinion comes from a reading of Dr. Vieira's book. That is the seminal reference we need to review since it is the only one presently available that addresses these issues in their entirety. However, we may also look to the original Militia Acts of the several States for further research on these issues as well.

Revitalizing the Second Amendment

This story caught my attention because I learned of a new organization that is using Dr. Vieira's book as the operating manual to start a local Constitutional Homeland Security Association.

The name of the organization is Revitalizing the Second Amendment. You can find it on the website:

I also noticed them on Facebook at:

This may be the first and only organization to follow Vieira's teaching, which is fully based on the Constitution.

Of course there is no book

Of course there is no book available only a CD because the sales weren't high enough.

Sounds good, but I'll go you one better....

In Localism, the national government is not allowed to keep its own ground forces, it has to borrow them from the states (who presumably get them from the counties). The present Constitution bans the states from keeping troops, and counts on the militia by itself being strong enough to check a federal army. With modern military weapons the balance of power has shifted so much I don't think that is enough of a deterrent by itself.

There are many other benefits which would occur from this arrangement, including making empire building a lot harder.

Localism, A Philosophy of Governmen" E-book on Amazon:

On Barnes and Noble:

Localism is for people who can still sleep at night even though somebody they don't know in a city they have never been is doing things differently. ("Localism, A Philosophy of Government" on Amazon for Kindle or Barnes and Noble ebook websites)

Great Book Review, Mr. Hultberg.

I have read Mr. Vieira's writings,for many years, here:

Dr. Vieira also has written in depth about using the "money" mandated in the U.S. Constitution, Silver/Gold. His book's {2} "Pieces of Eight", is a classic, that should be included in all academic libraries everywhere.


We've already begun forming one in our county.

However because of the fact it is a border county and likely to have major elements of cartel corruption, we are not able to be as open to the county officials at this point.

If it was another place in America, we'd be very open and public with what we are doing to encourage membership growth.

Right now, all we can be is professional and mindful of criminal element's possible and likely sway with local authorities.

I have a few concerns about Vieira's plan?

I'm not so sure that the top down approach (Governor the head) is the way to go. I know many currupt State Governors

Wouldn't it be best to start with communities, then those communites give their support to the townships, the townships give their support to the counties, and finnally the counties support the State

There would be a tax if you choose not to participate (it is manditory)

He seems to be opposed to the private possession of firearms outside the State controled Militia

Take back your health by giving your body the nurtients you need.

Download free mp3's of Dr. Wallach's radio show "Dead Doctors don't Lie" here:

Vieira's plan is Founder's plan

1. This plan in essence is not really a top down approach. What Edwin is proposing would in a practical sense, restore the power to WE THE PEOPLE once again. The non-commissioned officers would be elected locally. Just as during the War of Independence, any corrupt Governor today would be removed from office and their unlawful orders would not be followed. Gage tried this at Lexington. The royal governors in NH & VA also failed because the PEOPLE did not obey their unjust orders and they had to flee.

2. The Founders believed the 2nd Amendment was not only a Right but a Duty and responsibility to participate. This was NECESSARY if we are to remain a "free PEOPLE" in a "free State". For those that choose to get an exemption, I think a fee is fair and justified. The money it generated would go to making the State Militia self funded.

3.I know for a fact, he does not oppose private possession of firearms.I have personally known him for 8 years. If you like duck hunting, skeet shooting,private protection, etc. that is all fine but that is not the primary intent and purpose of the 2nd Amendment.

Check out this recent interview:

Debbie's picture

Thank you so much. Nobody has a better understanding of

Colonial America than Dr. Vieira. I love hearing him speak about it and reading his eloquent words. Here is an interview from NewsWithViews.TV with Dr. Vieira just a few days ago (Feb. 7th), discussing his new book. Enjoy!


Thanks, Debbie

The interview was enjoyable. So glad that you let us know about it.


Another Vieira book on the subject

Constitutional Homeland Security: A Call for Americans to Revitalize the Militia of the Several States

Haven't yet read either book, but am certainly planning to!

Update - just ordered the last new one available on Amazon -
maybe the author should consider putting some of his older
works out in e-book format?

Were Militias Privately Run or Publicly?

Were Militias Privately Run or Publicly? Watching the latest piece on Gun Control from Ben Swann. The 2nd Amendment mentions " of a free State". "State" as in "Nation" not necessarily "States of the Union"(?) The Keeping and Bearing of Arms for trouble without and trouble within(?)


Ben is incorrect

With all due respect to Ben and I do have an enormous amount of respect for him and the great job he does, he is definitely wrong about what the Framers were referring to in regards to "State" in the 2nd Amendment. They were referring to individual States, as in Article 2 sec.2 calls them "the Militia of the several States". All of the 13 States had their State Militias fully functioning by State statutes before the 2nd Amendment was even written.

I found some interesting info.

Seems George wasn't too impressed.

If I was called upon to declare upon Oath, whether the Militia have been most serviceable or hurtful upon the whole; I should subscribe to the latter. – George Washington, September 1776

The first quarter of the 17th century was a period of experimentation and improvisation as the settlers struggled to gain a foothold in the New World. During the succeeding decades, the colony’s evolving militia system was refined, reorganized, and continually tested in combat. Forced to defend themselves with little or no outside help, the colonists had developed an effective and well organized militia system that by the 1670s encompassed nearly all able-bodied, adult males.

it seems as though Vieira is demonizing “private” Militias

It concerns me that he seems to be opposed to the private possession of firearms outside the State controled Militia.

Quote from article above:
"It is important to understand that Vieira is NOT proposing “private” Militias, the likes of which we have seen in recent years from racial supremacy groups and neo-Nazi extremists."

I'm not so sure that the top down approach (Governor the head) is the way to go. I know many currupt State Governors

Wouldn't it be best to start with communities, then those communites give their support to the townships, the townships give their support to the counties, and finnaly the counties support the State

Take back your health by giving your body the nurtients you need.

Download free mp3's of Dr. Wallach's radio show "Dead Doctors don't Lie" here:

Vieira is NOT opposed to private possession of firearms

dswartz1, you already made that false statement in an earlier comment.

Please read my response to your earlier comments.

listen to "Debbie's" youtube link at about 20:00

it shure sounds that way

If he's not against private posesion of firearms, he sure is demonizing local militas which he calls "private" (sounds more rough), see my comment above

edit: it was Nelson Hultberg, the author of this article that is demonizing local militas

Take back your health by giving your body the nurtients you need.

Download free mp3's of Dr. Wallach's radio show "Dead Doctors don't Lie" here:

ok I may have got the wrong impression from him

I still don't trust the Governor's to be the head of the Militia's as I do know he promotes. I know I wouldn't trust my Governor. This needs to be run from the local level up, not the other way around.

What ever happened to the Committees of Safety website?

Take back your health by giving your body the nurtients you need.

Download free mp3's of Dr. Wallach's radio show "Dead Doctors don't Lie" here:

I agree with you on principle

There is both historic and legal principle of electing the non-commissioned officers from the local level up. As far as your Governor,I would suggest you make the restoration of your State Militia an issue with him and if he is unreceptive, replace him with a Governor that will.

Committees of Safety's website has been on hold. We may activate it again in the future as an informational source. I believe the States, counties & towns should create their own Committee of Safety as the vehicle for organizing their town, county and State Militia. I have spoken to Edwin Vieira in great depth about this. There is historical precedence for this and he also refers to the historical Committees of Safety in his new book, the Sword and Sovereignty.

has been tried before:

"I would suggest you make the restoration of your State Militia an issue with him and if he is unreceptive, replace him with a Governor that will."

Why don't we just replace our president with one that will follow the Constitution? Didn't we just try that? Easier said than done.

We can be much more productive spending time and $ at the local level.

I agree we need both, but if I have to chose between giving my time and $ to Jesse Benton or to help get a Constituitional Sheriff elected, I will go with my Sheriff.

I totally agree with your second paragraph, if Committees of Safety were focusing more on the town and local level, I would probably be more involved with them, I stoped following them a few years back because of the above concerns

Take back your health by giving your body the nurtients you need.

Download free mp3's of Dr. Wallach's radio show "Dead Doctors don't Lie" here:

He must have written this before Obamas' re-election

He keeps talking changes in 1 or 2 decades?? By then we will be in GITMO, fema re-education camps, labor camps, or be taken out by the same drones we paid for. BO has moved things "forward" at a much more rapid pace since then.

Key phrases lol

'The British Major John Pitcairn shouted out, “Ye villains, ye Rebels, disperse; damn you, disperse! Lay down your arms!”'


Denise B's picture

I have the utmost

respect for Dr. Vieira and all of his works, although I haven't had a chance to read this one yet, it appears to be another brilliant piece by a brilliant man.

My only question is How can we get Dr. Vieira to run for president? He certainly would get my vote. :)

Audio Interview: Dr. Vieira on Constitutional Homeland Security

This is from a few years back, and I'm sure in the course of researching and writing the new book his already-amazing level of knowledge on the subject has increased significantly, but here is a very good audio interview with Dr. Edwin Vieira on this subject if anyone wants to hear him speak about it at considerable length:

Archive of his articles (2005-Present):

The student is ready thus the teacher appears.

This is the remedy. It always has been, yet has been beyond the reach of our consciousness until now. Everything else is just patchwork politics. I relish my copy of Dr. Vieira's new book on CD as well as a copy of his book Constitutional Homeland Security.


Not Appropriate Yet

Militia's seem designed for external threats. In many states the major threat to the people is the state itself. These states need to reembrace freedom before any sort of militia would be advisable.

We should work on getting

a clear legal framework at the state level for
creation of militia organizations at the local

And organize from the ground up. Then it becomes
the responsibility of the people on the ground to
ensure it functions and behaves responsibly.

bump this thread


Are you a POT or a PET - Person Embracing Tyranny?

Michael Nystrom's picture

Excellent review Nelson

The book sounds like a masterpiece. One can only hope that more people of influence read it and put its ideas into practice.

I agree that revitalization

I agree that revitalization of militias is of paramount importance. Apparently, another war with the federal government is nearly inevitable.

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