This was the defiant refusal by the greeks at Thermopylae when told to lay down their arms by Persian invaders. While the defenders were eventually annihilated by overwhelming numbers, the three day battle enabled the evacuation of Athens and saved many lives.
The phrase is now being used in anticipation of new regulations that would sanction the confiscation of privately held firearms by the US federal government contrary to the Second Amendment.
While the fate of a single individual making an armed but solo resistance to such an order seems clear, organized and coordinated groups could ultimately prove to be an entirely different matter. We have our own history with farmers and old men at Concord to consider where they repulsed the British attempt to confiscate arms stored at Lexington.
Complete victory did not follow for many years but, ultimately, the rights of man – of men banded together for their collective, individual rights – prevailed.
“Divided we fall, United we stand” points to an essential step in such resistance.