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Old January 15th, 2013, 10:52 PM   #1

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2nd Amendment Question


I haven't studied the motives of specific founding fathers at the Constitution enough to weigh in here except to say that I believe this is certainly a valid question because I believe in the existance of the slave power in antebellum America. http://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=11888
With that said, what do you think? Does chattel slavery require a well regulated militia? I suspect it does. This article The Second Amendment was Ratified to Preserve Slavery suggests that this is the reason for the 2nd Amendment.

Convince me! Also, I think the real question here is does the Bill of Rights contain protections for America's peculiar institution?

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Old January 16th, 2013, 03:03 AM   #2
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I don't think the Second Amendment was put into the Constitution to preserve slavery. The right to arms ownership was considered a collective right of the people. Having fought a revolution the Framers belived that citizens had an obligation to defend the republic from enemies without and within. The Second Amendment would have been ratified with or without slavery.

While slavery is indirectly mention in several places in the Constitution, thanks to Gouverneur Morris who chaired the Committee of Style that wrote the final draft of the Constituion the word slavery was not used.

Other than the fact that the guarantees of the Bill of Rights were not extended to slaves, the only place that can be interpreted to contain protectons for slavery would be the Fourth Amendment's protection of property. I doubt the intnet of the Fouth Amendment was to preserve slavery. The idea of the protection of property goes back to England and by extension to the U.S.
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Old January 16th, 2013, 04:03 AM   #3

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... Does chattel slavery require a well regulated militia? I suspect it does.
Absolutely. There was a large degree of government overhead required to maintain the institution of slavery. This is why slavery couldn't exist in the national territories, which were under Federal control, without the active support of a Federal bureaucracy.

Last edited by Rongo; January 16th, 2013 at 04:16 AM.
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Old January 16th, 2013, 04:14 AM   #4

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Quote:
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This article The Second Amendment was Ratified to Preserve Slavery suggests that this is the reason for the 2nd Amendment
The text of the article contradicts its title. The article says that Madison thought the concerns of Patrick Henry and others about slavery were "paranoid", and that Madison had already written a version of the Second Amendment without any concern for the slavery issue:

Quote:
"The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; a well armed, and well regulated militia being the best security of a free country: but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms, shall be compelled to render military service in person."
However, the article does make the interesting point that Madison altered the wording to quell the fears of the "paranoid" crowd.

Madison himself was very clear about why he believed the Second Amendment was necessary, and it had nothing to do with slavery:

Quote:
"The highest number to which, according to the best computation, a standing army can be carried in any country, does not exceed one hundredth part of the whole number of souls; or one twenty-fifth part of the number able to bear arms. This proportion would not yield, in the United States, an army of more than twenty-five or thirty thousand men. To these would be opposed a militia amounting to near half a million of citizens with arms in their hands, officered by men chosen from among themselves, fighting for their common liberties, and united and conducted by governments possessing their affections and confidence. It may well be doubted, whether a militia thus circumstanced could ever be conquered by such a proportion of regular troops. Those who are best acquainted with the last successful resistance of this country against the British arms, will be most inclined to deny the possibility of it. Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached, and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of. Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms. And it is not certain, that with this aid alone they would not be able to shake off their yokes. But were the people to possess the additional advantages of local governments chosen by themselves, who could collect the national will and direct the national force, and of officers appointed out of the militia, by these governments, and attached both to them and to the militia, it may be affirmed with the greatest assurance, that the throne of every tyranny in Europe would be speedily overturned in spite of the legions which surround it. Let us not insult the free and gallant citizens of America with the suspicion, that they would be less able to defend the rights of which they would be in actual possession, than the debased subjects of arbitrary power would be to rescue theirs from the hands of their oppressors. Let us rather no longer insult them with the supposition that they can ever reduce themselves to the necessity of making the experiment, by a blind and tame submission to the long train of insidious measures which must precede and produce it." - James Madison, January 29, 1788

Source: The Federalist #46
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Old January 16th, 2013, 05:12 AM   #5

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Quote:
Originally Posted by venice517 View Post
I don't think the Second Amendment was put into the Constitution to preserve slavery. The right to arms ownership was considered a collective right of the people. Having fought a revolution the Framers belived that citizens had an obligation to defend the republic from enemies without and within. The Second Amendment would have been ratified with or without slavery....
Exactly. The FF's wanted a 'well regulated militia' because it was all they
knew at the time. The FFs were afraid of a large standing, idle army that
could be used by a military general to overthrow a government. It was
cheaper to use the idea of the people being able to grab their guns,
report for duty and repel the enemy, than to pay for a huge military.
The militia was supposed to either be able to put down an abusive government or an enemy.
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Old January 16th, 2013, 05:22 AM   #6

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Quote:
Originally Posted by tjadams View Post
Exactly. The FF's wanted a 'well regulated militia' because it was all they

knew at the time. The FFs were afraid of a large standing, idle army that
could be used by a military general to overthrow a government. It was
cheaper to use the idea of the people being able to grab their guns,
report for duty and repel the enemy, than to pay for a huge military.

The militia was supposed to either be able to put down an abusive government or an enemy.
I agree with your summary.

The inlfluence of the Coffee House Radicals, Trenchard and Gordon, played into that fear of Standing armies.
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Old January 16th, 2013, 05:58 AM   #7

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The second amendment was put in place to keep government in check. Having just lived through a tyranny, the framers were painfully aware that "rights" could be taken away at any moment unless the people had the means to defend them. There is a reason why Switzerland hasn't been invaded in centuries, and they decided to follow their model. The citizens must have equal firepower to the government. This is the reason why the US didn't turn to authoritarianism during the 1930s, even though we endured the same conditions as the Italians, Russians, and Spainiards. It is also the reason Japan would not invade the US during WW2, they knew they would be fighting two armies.

"Militia" included just about ever male over pubirty age at the time, we were much more self-sufficient then. It had nothing to do with slavery.
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Old January 16th, 2013, 07:23 AM   #8

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Irish Yankee View Post
..........................

citizens must have equal firepower to the government. This is the reason why the US didn't turn to authoritarianism during the 1930s, even though we endured the same conditions as the Italians, Russians, and Spainiards. ........................ .

Well for a start in the 21st century citizens don't have the same firepower as the government but also if it was if it was 'guns that stopped the USA turning to authoritarian government in the 1930's how do explain countries like Britain and Ireland?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Irish Yankee View Post
It is also the reason Japan would not invade the US during WW2, they knew they would be fighting two armies.

..............................................
I think that had more to do with logistics and geography than a fear of the average armed American citizen.
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Old January 16th, 2013, 07:47 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buflineks View Post
I agree with your summary.

The influence of the Coffee House Radicals, Trenchard and Gordon, played into that fear of Standing armies.
I agree with it as well. It's perhaps the best identification-definition for a layman, that does not necessarily confuse or compound the issue that's sometimes used in the actual identifiable purpose, of the militia. Which is to say, what is an 'organized versus unorganized' militia.

And equally important to that was the use and rationale of the use, of the militia, in either capacity, in the national force.
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Old January 16th, 2013, 08:03 AM   #10
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The question can be answered by the cronology of events.

The Constitution was approved in 1789; slavery didn't become a "hot button" issue until some years later in the next century.

No, there is no connection between the Second Amendment an slavery.

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