Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The 2nd Amendment Discuss with my former College Professor

Dear Jane:

Your posting caught my eye and my ear.  There was something in the subtitle that sounded funny: “The real reason for the Second Amendment's ratification was to preserve slave patrol militias in the South.”  I checked the background of both the author and the publication and found them to be left of Mother Jones - I also read most of the article and it sounded like a term paper from a wide-eyed high school sophomore. 

Changing just two words would bring this article back into a safer orbit: “(An additional) reason for the Second Amendment's ratification was to preserve slave patrol militias in the South.”

The occupation of the City of Boston by the British Regulars starting in 1773 was the real and earnest reason for the 2nd amendment.  The Bill of Rights including the 2nd Amendment was widely supported because of a general fear of centralized government, that is, anything that sounded like the rule of George III.

Indeed, the memory of that affront lent itself to the third amendment: “No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.”  The idea of being forced to give room and board to army soldiers when your daughter was done the hall was repugnant.

In addition, the author of your article, Thom Hartmann, notes that the word state was used over central government, this is also weak.  Listen to the beginning of the 2nd amendment: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State…”  Madison et al were writing about a free nation – nation and state are commonly interchanged in prose.  As Webster’s Dictionary puts it: state is “a politically organized body of people usually occupying a definite territory; especially: one that is sovereign.

Although I find the argument interesting for its nuanced interpretation of the background to the impetus of the 2nd amendment, it remains loopy to suggest that some type of cabal was in force to simply give guns to the white slave-owning Democrats.  Word Total: 351

Best, Geoff Fisher

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