The founding Fathers understood this would be accomplished by a militia. But what kind of militia? Here is a typical Anti-federalist view, expressed by richard Henry lee (writing under the pseudonym "The federal Farmer "A militia when properly formed, are in fact the people themselves, and render regular troops in great measure unnecessary. The powers to form and arm the militia, to appoint their officers, and to command their services, are very important; nor ought they in a confederated republic to be lodged, solely, in any one member of the government. First, the constitution ought to secure a genuine and guard against a select militia, by providing that the militia shall always be kept well organized, armed, and disciplined, and include, according to the past and general usage of the states, all men capable of bearing. To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them.". Regarding the freedom to keep and bear arms, of particular concern to the Anti-federalists was that a central government would, over time, convert and model from the corpus of the general militia (traditionally meaning all able-bodied men between the ages of roughly 16 and 60). As far as the Anti-federalists were concerned, such a skilled and select militia would, for all practical purposes, be the same as the standing army that they so feared and detested.
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After four months of debate, the constitution was drafted, signed, and then sent to the individual states for ratification, as required by its Article vii. This Article provided that the constitution could become effective only after ratification by at least two-thirds of the states. In the months before and after the constitutional Convention, including the ratification period that lasted until June 21, 1788 (when New Hampshire became the ninth state to ratify, fulfilling the two-thirds majority ratification requirement numerous constitutional debates took place in all the states, accompanied. It came as no surprise that with all these politicians at work, literally thousands of pages of debate proceedings, records, and suggested amendments were produced. Reading their words, one tries to imagine what it would be ask like to be in their company and share in what they must have been feeling. Surely they must have been proud of their stunning victory over the British and full of optimism for their future as free people in a free country. But at the same time, they must have felt humbled, uncertain, and fearful of the momentous task that lay before them. One also begins to realize that even though only fourteen years had gone by, for these most determined men it was likely that the smell of gunpowder from Lexington and Concord was still in their noses. The fear of standing armies, of all the powerful memories and emotions the founding Fathers brought to the constitutional debates, apparently none was stronger than their fear of standing armies. As david young has observed: "The necessity of an armed populace, protection against disarming of the citizenry, and the need to guard against a select militia and assure a real militia which could defend liberty against any essay standing forces the government might raise were topics. Yet, in the absence of a standing army, how was the nation to defend itself from external or internal aggression?
Delegates to this meeting including george washington, benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson began to organize the colonies for war. George washington was commissioned to organize a continental army, and the congress formulated regulations for foreign trade, issued paper money, and sent emissaries abroad to negotiate with foreign powers for financial, diplomatic, and military assistance. Jefferson, aided especially by john Adams, drafted and Congress adopted the declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776; and on november 15, 1777, congress drafted and adopted the Articles of Confederation, which were ratified by the thirteen colonies in 1781. During much of this period, armed combat had been taking place between the colonists and the British army and its mercenaries. The conflict ended with the surrender of the British forces at Yorktown on October 19, 1781. Subsequently, the states recognized that the Articles of Confederation were flawed, impractical, and urgently in need of amendment, Therefore, the States sent delegates to a convention offer that convened at the State house in Philadelphia on may 25, 1787. The convention was attended by 55 delegates from twelve states, all prominent political figures of the time, including such luminaries as James Madison, george mason, benjamin Franklin, and Alexander Hamilton. (John jay and Thomas Jefferson did not attend, as they were on diplomatic missions abroad; nor did Patrick henry or Samuel Adams, both of whom opposed the formation of a strong central government for the new nation.) The delegates soon realized that merely amending the.
The first Continental Congress, which convened at Carpenters Hall in Philadelphia on September 5, 1774, was the first major political gathering of the American Colonies. This Congress was to become the de facto revolutionary government that directed the war for independence. The principal outcome of this first meeting was the issuance of a petition called the declaration of Rights and Grievances, an appeal to king george iii to restore harmony between Britain and the colonies. At that time, there was considerable discord between them, chiefly essay because of the passage by the British Parliament in March 1774 of the so-called Intolerable Acts, a series of punitive measures directed against the colony of Massachusetts for its rebellious conduct, which had been recently. Before adjourning, the first Continental Congress also arranged for a second Congress to take place in Philadelphia if the king failed to respond favorably to their petition. As it turned out, not only did george iii fail to respond favorably, he began preparations for war. In qualitative August 1775 he issued a proclamation "for suppressing rebellion and sedition" in the colonies and hired 20,000 Hessian mercenaries, who were soon sent to America. The second Continental Congress convened on may 10, 1775.
But they are wrong. Caplan, who has examined this issue in depth, provides this analysis: "In colonial times the term well regulated meant well functioning for this was the meaning of those words at that time, as demonstrated by the following passage from the original 1789 charter of the. Privately kept firearms and training with them apart from formal militia mustering thus was encompassed by the second Amendment, in order to enable able-bodied citizens to be trained by being familiar in advance with the functioning of firearms. In that way, when organized the militia would be able to function well when the need arose to muster and be deployed for sudden military emergencies. Therefore, even if the opening words of the Amendment, "A well regulated militia " somehow would be interpreted as strictly limiting "the right of the people to keep arms nevertheless, a properly functioning militia fundamentally presupposes that the individual citizen be allowed to keep, practice, and train. The national guard cannot possibly be interpreted as the whole constitutional militia encompassed by the second Amendment; if for no other reason, the fact that guardsmen are prohibited by law from keeping their own military arms. Instead, these firearms are owned and annually inventoried by the federal government, and are kept in armories under lock and key. With this preliminary understanding, lets examine how the Amendment came into being and was then ratified into the.
Amendment II: to, keep and, bear, arms
They revered English customs and means law. Chief Justice howard Taft observed that: "the Framers of essay our Constitution were born and brought up in the atmosphere of the common law, and thought and spoke its vocabulary. They were familiar with other forms of government, recent and ancient, and indicated in their discussions earnest study and consideration of many of them; but, when they came to put their conclusions into the form of fundamental law in a compact draft, they expressed themselves. This analysis by Chief Justice taft explains, in part, the confusion that has developed, especially in this century, over the interpretation of the language of the second Amendment. The meaning of such words as "militia "keep arms "bear arms "discipline "well regulated and "the people" was the meaning of these words as they were used in the English common law of the sixteenth through the eighteenth centuries not as they are used today.
As Chief Justice taft further commented: "The language of the constitution cannot be interpreted safely except by reference to the common law and to British institutions as they were when the instrument was framed and adopted.". Thomas Jefferson, by no means an imprecise thinker, was well aware of this consideration. In commenting upon how the constitution should properly be read, he said: "On every question of construction let us carry ourselves back to the time when the constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning can. Yet despite this clear evidence, gun control and prohibition proponents attempt to squeeze out of the text of the second Amendment the meaning that only a collective not an individual right is guaranteed by the amendment. They argue that the words of the amendment allegedly apply only to the group in our society that is "well regulated" and "keeps and bears arms the national guard.
The sheriff will be aided by military force. The most wanton excesses may be committed under color of this; for every man in office, in the states, is to take an oath to support it in all its operations. The honorable gentleman said, in answer to the objection that the militia might be marched from New Hampshire to georgia, that the members of the government would not attempt to excite the indignation of the people. Here, again, we have the general unsatisfactory answer, that they will be virtuous, and that there is no danger. Reynolds, "The right to keep and bear Arms Under the tennessee. Constitution forthcoming in 61, tennessee law review 2 (Winter, 1994 extensively discussing the second Amendment in "Firearms Purchases and the right to keep Arms.
West Virginia law review 1 (1993). Tahmassebi, "Gun Control and Racism 2 george mason civil Rights Law journal (1991). Moncure,., "Who is the militia the virginia ratifying Convention and the right to bear Arms 19 Lincoln Law review 1 (1990). Library bill of Rights, history, that's Not What They meant by wayne lapierre, the second Amendment. History: a drafting and Ratification of the bill of Rights in the colonial Period. As heirs to the majestic constitutional history of England, the intellectual and political leaders of the new Colonies intended nothing less than to incorporate into their new government the laws and liberties of Englishmen, including the well-established right of the law-abiding citizen to keep and. Yet, while engaged in bringing about one of the most radical political changes in the history of the western world, the founding Fathers remained conservative republicans who valued tradition and their English heritage the dynasties of the Angles, saxons, picts, and Jutes; 1066 and the.
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The honorable gentleman, in endeavoring to answer the feasibility question why the militia were to be called forth to execute the laws, said that the civil power would probably. He is driven to say, that the civil power may do it instead of the militia. Sir, the military power ought not to interpose till the civil power refuse. If this be the spirit of your new. Constitution, that the laws are to be enforced by military coercion, we may easily divine the happy consequences which will result from. The civil power is not to be employed at all. If it be, show. I read it attentively, and could see nothing to warrant a belief that the civil power can be called for. I shall be glad to see the power that authorizes Congress to.
Implication is to be the foundation of our civil liberties, and when you speak of arming the militia by. Page 387 concurrence of power, you use implication. But implication will not save you, when a strong army of veterans comes upon you. You would be laughed at by the whole world for trusting your safety implicitly to implication. The argument of my honorable friend was, that rulers might tyrannize. The answer he received was, that they will not. In saying that they would not, he admitted they might. In this great great, this essential part of the constitution, if you are safe, it is not from the constitution, but from the virtues of the men in government. If gentlemen are willing to trust themselves and posterity to so slender and improbable a chance, they have greater strength of nerves than I have.
it is to have arms, and though our Assembly has, by a succession of laws for many years, endeavored to have the militia completely armed, it is still far from being the case. When this power is given up to congress without limitation or bounds, how will your militia be armed? You trust to chance; for sure i am that nation which shall trust its liberties in other hands cannot long exist. If gentlemen are serious when they suppose a concurrent power, where can be the impolicy to amend it? Or, in other words, to say that Congress shall not arm or discipline them, till the states shall have refused or neglected to do it? This is my object. I only wish to bring it to what they themselves say is implied.
To congress is given the power of "arming, organizing, and disciplining the militia, and governing such part short of them as may be employed in the service of the United States." to the state legislatures is given the power of "appointing the officers, and training the. If the states have the right of arming them,., concurrently, congress has a concurrent power of appointing the officers, and training the militia. If Congress have that power, it is absurd. To admit this mutual concurrence of powers will carry you into endless absurdity that Congress has nothing exclusive on the one hand, nor the states on the other. The rational explanation is, that Congress shall have exclusive power of arming them,., and that the state governments shall have exclusive power of appointing the officers,. Let me put it in another light. May we not discipline and arm them, as well as Congress, if the power be concurrent? So that our militia shall have two sets of arms, double sets of regimentals,.; and thus, at a very great cost, we shall be doubly armed.
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Patrick henry's "That every man be armed." (Dist. The debates in the several State conventions on the Adoption of the federal. Constitution (3 Elliot's Debates 384-7 virginia, saturday, house june 14, 1788. Ml, the context of "that every man be armed" was who would provide for the arming of the militia, the states or the federal government not a personal right. Chairman, in my judgment the friends of the opposition have to act cautiously. We must make a firm stand before we decide. I was heard to say, a few days ago, that the sword and purse were the two great instruments of government; and I professed great repugnance at parting with the purse, without any control, to the proposed system of government. And now, when we proceed in this formidable compact, and come to the national defence, the sword, i am persuaded we ought to be still more cautious and circumspect; for I feel still more reluctance to surrender this most valuable of rights. As my worthy friend said, there is a positive partition of power between the two governments.