“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.”
That statement has been at the root cause of a lot of bloodshed in America. For some, it is the most important constitutional law put into place and for many more, potentially the only tenant of the constitution that one could recite. When asked/pressured by people why the 2nd Amendment is so significant, they proudly recite the sentence and proclaim that we have the right to bear arms and freely form a militia, should the need to rebel against a tyrannous government should arise….
Only problem is, that’s not REALLY why they passed the second Amendment. The fact is, we don’t really know. The assumption and the common point made by the 2nd Amendment zealots is that the 2nd Amendment was put in place by our wise fore-fathers who had just split from an oppressive British government– the American “Militia” were the very founding fathers who created the Constitution, Bill of Rights and Amendments– they had the foresight to see that American’s needed to protect themselves from the evil perils of governments….
Which sounds great– only it’s not true at all. The 2nd Amendment was drafted on was adopted on December 15, 1791, led by James Madison of Virginia. I began to look into the second Amendment historical nature and I discovered some rather strange background to the Amendment. Madison ratified the Amendment– and here’s where my point begins…
Madison was elected by the people of Virginia– Virginia was the most caught up in the juxtaposition of the split of the nation into two distinct versions of America. The south had slavery, the north did not. Virginia would eventually side with confederacy, which, of course had slaves.
Heres the thing: The Second Amendment was issued to protect the wealthy landowners from the possibility that the slaves would be given freedom. It arose out of a paranoia that the United Colonies would apply pressure to make all men free and as such, slaves would revolt against their masters and without the right to bear arms, they would be unable to defend their land. This was before the civil war and just after the revolutionary war, so the amendment was sandwiched between two major wars, so people were obviously on edge and this amendment allowed people to form militias and arm freely– something that appeared to be pressured by the question of slavery.
Fear of a black planet. The revolutionary war ended on 9/3/1783. 8 years later there is talk of the need of a militia? More like plantation owners needing to form a “militia” to protect their land from free slaves.
So the next time someone tell you about their second amendment rights, perhaps you could educate them on the historical nature of their rights and see if it changes the discussion. Doubtful it will, but the racist undertones make for an interesting discussion.