About the Militia…

The opening clause of the Second Amendment misleads anti-gun… groups about the original intent of the Framers.  In many ways, the amendment is contradictory, first establishing a collective need only to qualify that necessity with individual protections of negative liberty.   Modern opponents of the Second Amendment refuse to separate the concept of an armed populace from compulsory military service.

If only there were some Constitutional reference we could consult….

Wait! 

There’s no song here

Definitely not included in the musical is Hamilton’s explanation of individual gun rights… in Federalist 29.  Hamilton leaves no doubt that people are entitled to their weapons because the alternative, compulsory military service,  would violate their individual liberties-

“as futile as it would be injurious, if it were capable of being carried into execution. A tolerable expertness in military movements is a business that requires time and practice. It is not a day, or even a week, that will suffice for the attainment of it.”

Listen to this rap

Hamilton links a powerful state, standing army, and overzealous politicians to tyranny… and armed citizens standing together as a defense against these abuses-

“If circumstances should at any time oblige the government to form an army of any magnitude that army can never be formidable to the liberties of the people while there is a large body of citizens, little, if at all, inferior to them in discipline and the use of arms, who stand ready to defend their own rights and those of their fellow-citizens. This appears to me the only substitute that can be devised for a standing army, and the best possible security against it, if it should exist.”

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Not Just Muskets and Militas

Plenty of pundits have been speaking for our Founders…. recently.  There is no greater speculative contest than the battle over original intent of the Founders.  The second amendment continues to be misconstrued, misapplied, and misunderstood.  No real progress can be made as long as the pundits control the debate while debasing the work of our Founders.  Look to their words….

“To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them.”  George Mason- 1788

“…while on the other hand arms, like laws, discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as property.  The same balance
would be preserved were all the world destitute of arms, for all would be alike; but since some will not, others dare not lay them aside …”   Thomas Paine

“Firearms stand next in importance to the constitution itself.  They are the American people’s liberty teeth and keystone under independence …the very atmosphere of firearms anywhere restrains evil interference — they  deserve a place of honor with all that’s good.”   George Washington

“Americans have the right and advantage of being armed, unlike the people of other countries, whose leaders are afraid to trust them with arms.”   James Madison

“The great object is that every man be armed. Everyone who is able might have a gun.”  Patrick Henry

“The Constitution shall never be construed to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms.”   Samuel Adams

“No freeman shall ever be debarred the use of arms.”   Thomas  Jefferson

Any questions?

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Facts in Five

Stephen Decatur edition…

  • British Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson declared Decatur’s mission to burn the USS Philadelphia in Tripoli harbor, “The most bold and daring act of the age…”
  • Decatur commanded some of America’s greatest warships including: USS United States, USS President, and USS Constitution
  • He was the youngest man to reach the rank of Captain in the history of the US Navy
  • Decatur dictated favorable treaties with all the Barbary states in 1815- including reimbursements for lost cargo during the War of 1812
  • When the Dey of Algiers demanded gunpowder as a gift during negotiations, Decatur resounded that, “you must expect to receive {cannon} balls with it!”
Most bold and daring

Most bold and daring

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Original Intent- Proper Perspective

Anti-gun fanatic, Piers Morgan, made the bold claim it was FACT… that the Second Amendment was written with only “muskets in mind, not high-powered handguns and assault rifles…”    He was simply echoing  long held beliefs of the American Left- that following the logic of Original Intent(as Conservatives do)  the Second Amendment is incompatible with modern weaponry and gun rights.  The Framers would never have supported “assault rifles” as a form of personal defense.

Original assault rifle circa 1791

Original assault rifle circa 1791

Original Intent has nothing to do with this juvenile line of reasoning…  Muskets, particularly with rifled barrels were cutting edge technology in the late 18th century.  The Second Amendment wasn’t written as a regressive ideal- they weren’t advocating the protection of swords, slingshots, or clubs.  Rifled muskets were the “assault weapons” of their day.  The Framers didn’t specify the firearm, knowing that technological advancement was inevitable.  The bearing of arms must be construed as to the weapons presently available.  Implying that the Framers would only consider one type of weapon, knowing it would be antiquated to future generations,  is an insult to the men who gave us the Bill of Rights.

Fires one shot at a time

Fires one shot at a time

Automatic weapons have been outlawed in this country since 1934the eyebrows  of educated Americans should be raised as pundits blather about “automatic weapons” being bought, sold, and used in these mass shootings.

 

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Tough Loss

Why did the British lose the War of 1812… consensus history teaches that the Napoleonic wars kept mighty England from crushing the upstart Americans.  As expected, consensus historical lessons are wrapped too tightly, strangling the complexities from our past.  America won the war, but Britain lost it just as much.  We cannot pin this all on the French.

Right on the nose !

  • Poor strategy and execution– As in the Revolutionary War, Britain attempted a ‘divide and conquer’ strategy.  Simultaneous invasions would divide American forces and allow the British to defeat the disorganized American armies.  Unfortunately, the invasions were far from timely; poorly organized and executed, British forces were unable achieve any strategic success during the invasions of upstate New York and Maryland.  The third invasion at New Orleans ended in disaster.  The first graduates from the American military academy (like Winfield Scott)  were able to rally American forces, including the unreliable militiamen, to resist the uncoordinated assaults.
  • Political disunity– The government of Spencer Perceval had taken a stand against American attempts to trade with France their during the war.  Perceval’s ministers enacted the Orders in Council and did little as the tensions with America continued to rise.  Diplomats serving in Washington did a poor job communicating Britain’s positions on key issues.  Perceval’s assassination on May 11, 1812 brought to power Lord Liverpool, who sought to ease tensions with America.  The repeal of the Orders in Council just two days before America’s declaration of war was not accepted by all British ministers.  The disunity in  Liverpool’s government continued as the hostilities escalated.
  • Swatting flies– The British military machine was not built to fight an enemy like the United States.  The British army was recruited and trained to fight on the sweeping fields of Europe, not the wilds of North America; geography proved to be a keen enemy in both wars Britain fought in America.  The small, but powerful American fleet did not give the Royal Navy its Trafalgar of the west.  The power frigates of the US fleet held their own in ship to ship combat.  These small victories boosted American morale during the dark days of the conflict.  The British dependence on its Indian allies on the frontier proved as detrimental as in the Seven Years War.  The United States used its home field advantage to keep the British war machine from operating efficiently.

No contest, one on one.

But it is said that we are not prepared for war, and ought therefore not to declare it. This is an idle objection, which can have weight with the timid and pusillanimous only. The fact is otherwise. Our preparations are adequate to every essential object. Do we apprehend danger to ourselves? From what quarter will it assail us? From England, and by invasion? The idea is too absurd to merit a moment’s consideration. –Henry Clay, 1811

 

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Motive and Intent

Jefferson wrote to friend and newly-elected President James Madison… in 1809  “We should then have only to include the North(Canada) in our confederacy, which would be of course in the first war, and we should have such an empire for liberty as she has never surveyed since the creation…” 

An empire for liberty

An empire for liberty

As Madison prepared the country for war with Britain… the acquisition of Canada was not far from his mind.  Many felt it should have been seized during the Revolutionary War.  British possession of Canada guaranteed their continued proximity and potential interference.

The conquest of Canada

The conquest of Canada

Madison agreed with his friend and mentor… that a new war with Britain could settle old scores and solidify our control on North America.  Madison responded,   ” The conquest of Canada will do this…”

 

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Abusing History: Original Intent, the First Amendment, and Religious Freedom (Part I): A Critique of Vincent Phillip Muñoz’s “The Original Meaning of the Establishment Clause and the Impossibility of its Incorporation”

History Chick in AZ

In 1946 Everson v. Board of Education borrowed Thomas Jefferson’s simple phrase, “a wall of separation between Church and State,” (1) to describe the meaning of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. While the memorable metaphor caught the public’s imagination it also provoked the ire of those who sought a more prominent role for religion in public life. Unhappy with the implications of this separationist interpretation of the Establishment Clause (“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion”), conservatives mounted a campaign aimed at undoing Everson. While they have been largely unsuccessful in achieving that goal, they have had some success in chipping away at the wall of separation. The power of the Establishment Clause has been brushed aside in recent years to make way for an ever more expansive interpretation of the Free Exercise Clause by the conservative Roberts Court (see Trinity). A fatal blow…

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