Mr. Sherman conceived it difficult to modify the clause and make it better. It is well known that those who are religiously scrupulous of bearing arms, are equally scrupulous of getting substitutes or paying an equivalent. Many of them would rather die than do either one or the other; but he did not see an absolute necessity for a clause of this kind. We do not live under an arbitrary Government, said he, and the States, respectively, will have the government of the militia, unless when called into actual service; besides, it would not do to alter it so as to exclude the whole of any sect, because there are men amongst the Quakers who will turn out, notwithstanding the religious principles of the society, and defend the cause of their country. Certainly it will be improper to prevent the exercise of such favorable dispositions, at least whilst it is the practice of nations to determine their contests by the slaughter of their citizens and subjects.--From Annals of Congress, House of Representatives, 1st Congress, 1st Session--
The debate revolved around people who refuse to fight because of religious feelings. Should they expressly be allowed to refuse to serve in the military? The amount of wisdom expressed by members of Congress in response was shocking. Almost makes you believe in government.
I know I'd gladly let these people control everything. Of course, they'd be wise enough to refuse the task and probably berate me for bringing it up.