The Second Amendment, Militias and Slavery

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by glocke12, Dec 23, 2012.

  1. glocke12 macrumors 6502a

    glocke12

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2008
    #1
    Local paper had this editorial...

    http://www.phillyburbs.com/blogs/ne...cle_1b67d4d0-197b-5469-b9ca-9e96e923c16a.html

    "Its words are simple and to the point: “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.”
    Under extreme political pressure, Madison wanted to assure the Southern states that Congress would not undermine their slave system by disarming their militias, which were then their principal instruments used to control slaves.
    The amendment was ratified in late-1791, four years after the Constitution was ratified and the same year the earthshaking slave revolt and revolution occurred in Haiti.
    That was no coincidence."

    This "theory" is new to me...the author even has posted in the comments section below the article that there is no direct supporting evidence for this, and that a few historians have taken selected bits and pieces of historical writings to come up with this.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. 184550 Guest

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    #2
    Sounds like ******** to me.

    This sounds like it's drawing off a more accepted component that the rights secured by the Second Amendment were designed to help protect against insurrection. However, insurrection has a more widely applied meaning than slave revolts.
     
  3. VulchR macrumors 68020

    VulchR

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2009
    Location:
    Scotland
  4. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2003
    Location:
    Penryn
    #4
    I would like to see some evidence to back it up, but it rings true. The revolts in Haiti terrified southerners, their biggest fear was being killed in their beds by a slave. Hmmm, I wonder if that is the basis for today's republican 'culture of fear'?

    That same year, 1791, saw Lord Simcoe, the guy in charge of Canada, enact the first laws in the British Empire to limit slavery. Slaves could be brought to Canada, but their offspring would be free. Simcoe's decision was truly a direct response to the slave revolts. So I've no doubt that Madison was pressured by the south to include that horribly tortured sentence to appease the southerners.
     
  5. Huntn macrumors G5

    Huntn

    Joined:
    May 5, 2008
    Location:
    The Misty Mountains
    #5
    It could be possible, but if true, it was to kill 2 birds with one stone- internal and external threats.
     
  6. Sydde macrumors 68020

    Sydde

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2009
    #6
    Two weaknesses in the theory. First, the bill of rights was presented as a package of twelve amendments which most states ratified in a lump, enough states excising two of them so that only ten gained ratification. The second amendment cannot be seen as ratified separately from the other 9.

    Only two states ratified the bill of rights in 1791, reaching the required number on 15 December, when Virginia approved it. The package came out of congress in 1789, well before the onset of the Haitian slave revolt, so drawing a direct connection is pretty dubious.

    (Note that the eleventh part of the original package attained ratification in 1991, having floated about for two centuries.)
     
  7. mrkramer macrumors 603

    mrkramer

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2006
    Location:
    Somewhere
    #7
    This is correct, the only possible way I could see a connection was if this is what motivated Virginia to ratify it, but that's stretching it a lot. I'm pretty sure it was put in there since they'd just overthrown the British government and they wanted to preserve the ability to do that again if necessary. However I would say that while it was a good idea then, 200 years of history have shown us that it's no longer necessary.
     
  8. thewitt macrumors 68020

    thewitt

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2011
    #8
    The second amendment is just as valid today as it was when it was written. Don't kid yourself.
     
  9. lord patton macrumors 65816

    lord patton

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2005
    Location:
    Chicago
    #9
    Further weakening its argument, the editorial is off by two years on the constitution's ratification.
     
  10. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2004
    #10
    The Second Amendment, Militias and Slavery

    Some reading for those interested. Thomm Hartmann writes:


    •••​

    •••​


    The closing summary


    •••​

    From this reading, The Second Amendment was therefore crafted to enforce tyranny, not protect against it. Makes you wonder about the deep roots of the ‘Obama’s coming for our guns’ paranoia and fear. And if militias were supposedly about repelling foreign powers, why no express provision for standing armies?


    Full and much longer article here

    •••​
     
  11. GermanyChris macrumors 601

    GermanyChris

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2011
    Location:
    Here
    #11
    Constitution - Article 1 Section 8

    The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

    This is the root of the standing Army and Navy..

    The author interpretation is interesting and worth reading a little more on but it's hardly the only interpretation.

    What it doesn't explain is this "Makes you wonder about the deep roots of the ‘Obama’s coming for our guns’ paranoia and fear" The same people said the same things in '94 with the first AWB. It's not leader specific it's ideology specific.
     
  12. Peace macrumors Core

    Peace

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2005
    Location:
    Space--The ONLY Frontier
    #12
    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.

    I would like to know exactly WHO DOES THE REGULATING ?
     
  13. Andeavor macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2010
    #13
    Would that be the governor? To my understanding, each colonial state was ruled by a governor that ensured freedom and security for its citizens who acted as the state's own militia against the outside forces from the empires and later the opposing states during the civil war. Yes? No? Complete rubbish?
     
  14. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2004
    #14

    Well, let's hear otherwise, then. With the historical background.





    Would you please mind not shouting? And it's clear that you didn't read the post.



    I'll quote again:


    I have to go out for the rest of the day and evening, so I won't be returning to this thread for a while. It would be interesting to read if other states like Alabama and Mississippi, had similar arrangements, for instance... but the point still stands which no-one yet disputes, which is that the militias were there to enforce tyranny and slavery.
     
  15. Peace macrumors Core

    Peace

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2005
    Location:
    Space--The ONLY Frontier
    #15
    I meant to shout. Report me.

    There's already three discussions about the second amendment and I'm sick of it.

    Stop making threads when there are already current threads about guns and the second amendment .
     
  16. GermanyChris macrumors 601

    GermanyChris

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2011
    Location:
    Here
    #16
    in United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U.S. 542, 553 (1875), the Court stated that the Second Amendment “has no other effect than to restrict the powers of the national government,” and in Presser v. Illinois, 116 U.S. 252, 265 (1886), the Court reiterated that the Second Amendment “is a limitation only upon the power of Congress and the National government, and not upon that of the States.

    in District of Columbia v. Heller (PDF), the United States Supreme Court issued its first decision since 1939 interpreting the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution. The Court ruled that the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution confers an individual right to possess a firearm for traditionally lawful purposes such as self-defense. It also ruled that two District of Columbia provisions, one that banned handguns and one that required lawful firearms in the home to be disassembled or trigger-locked, violate this right.


    United States v. Miller, 307 U.S. 174 (1939) The Supreme Court read the Second Amendment in conjunction with the Militia Clause in Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution, and concluded that “[i]n the absence of any evidence tending to show that possession or use of a [sawed-off] shotgun . . . has some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia, we cannot say that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear such an instrument.” 307 U.S. at 178. The Court concluded that the district court erred in holding the National Firearms Act provisions unconstitutional.

    http://loc.gov/law/help/second-amendment.php

    The first problem is we've never had a cohesive national direction regarding firearms. My inclination is to go the with an 1875 version of the supreme court rulings because it's closer in time to the creation of the constitution, but my bias will always be for less gun control not more so I can't really be objective.

    Here is one by a UCLA Professor
    http://www2.law.ucla.edu/volokh/common.htm

    The overinclusiveness of the operative clause is likewise evident from the text. The operative clause says the right to keep and bear arms belongs to "the people." Given that "the right of the people" is likewise used to describe the right to petition the government, the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, and the rights to keep and bear arms recognized in various contemporaneous state constitutions -- all individual rights that belong to each person, not just to members of the militia -- "the people" seems to refer to people generally. 30 The justification clause, though, refers to the militia, which has always generally included pretty much all able-bodied men from age eighteen to forty-five 31 rather than all people. 32 People who aren't in the militia, such as men over forty-five, 33 or those few whose professions have generally exempted them from militia service -- such as ship pilots or post office employees 34 -- don't seem to further the purpose set forth in the justification clause, but their rights are still covered by the text of the operative clause.

    I'm at work so I'm probably not going to go to much further but I don't really think the "militia" was to control peoples "Human Property" because it wasn't necessary. They were property meaning they were to be returned when found, and taking a slaves life was not a crime and more than talking the life of any other property.

    The second reason IMHO that it wouldn't have been for that explicit reason is too many of the founders were against slavery or believed it transitory, even though a majority owned them where government was not.

    http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/1269536/The-Founding-Fathers-and-Slavery

    Although many of the Founding Fathers acknowledged that slavery violated the core American Revolutionary ideal of liberty, their simultaneous commitment to private property rights, principles of limited government, and intersectional harmony prevented them from making a bold move against slavery. The considerable investment of Southern Founders in slave-based staple agriculture, combined with their deep-seated racial prejudice, posed additional obstacles to emancipation.

    Nevertheless, the Founders, with the exception of those from South Carolina and Georgia, exhibited considerable aversion to slavery during the era of the Articles of Confederation (1781–89) by prohibiting the importation of foreign slaves to individual states and lending their support to a proposal by Jefferson to ban slavery in the Northwest Territory. Such antislavery policies, however, only went so far. The prohibition of foreign slave imports, by limiting the foreign supply, conveniently served the interests of Virginia and Maryland slaveholders, who could then sell their own surplus slaves southward and westward at higher prices. Furthermore, the ban on slavery in the Northwest tacitly legitimated the expansion of slavery in the Southwest.
     
  17. 184550 Guest

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    #17
    I thought this thread sounded familiar.

    It's still an extremely flawed and distorted reading of selected bits of history.
     
  18. eric/ Guest

    eric/

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2011
    Location:
    Ohio, United States
    #18
    BUT WHO WAS PHONE?

    (sorry, had to :p)

    The problem here, I think, is that this is but one interpetation of many. This is by no means what the SCOTUS has interpeted.

    One thing I wonder though, is how do "slave patrols" contribute to the security of a free state?
     
  19. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2003
    Location:
    Penryn
    #19
    It's not about security, it's about paranoia.
     
  20. lannister80 macrumors 6502

    lannister80

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2009
    Location:
    Chicagoland
    #20
    Is that a serious question? Slave patrols keep down slave uprisings (of which there were many hundreds). Slave uprisings are kind of bad for State security, no?
     
  21. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

    Joined:
    May 7, 2004
    Location:
    Sod off
    #21
    Still, the issue of slavery played a huge role in the drafting and ratification of the constitution. This is relevant because constitutional "originalists" and people who lean towards originalism focus on the original intent of many sections of the constitution. But the wording and intent of many sections of the constitution were significantly influenced by the question of slavery.

    The key point I draw from this is the flawed nature of constitutional originalism, due to the fact that the "original intent" of many parts of the constitution are the result of debates on issues that have either since been legally resolved or radically re-framed.

    This is a 100% honest question, please don't read any sarcasm or accusations into it:

    If your bias will always be for less gun control, is your ideal situation no government regulation of firearms at all?

    There is really nothing in the constitution that specifically suggests any form of gun control whatsoever. If you look at the constitution only, there is no prohibition on civilians owning any sort of weapon or weapons system at all.
     
  22. eric/ Guest

    eric/

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2011
    Location:
    Ohio, United States
    #22
    Is that a serious question?

    So were slaves a threat to the state?
     
  23. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2003
    Location:
    Penryn
    #23
    A threat to the slaveholders' financial well-being.

    I'll say it again, the Founding Fathers doomed this country when they chose to allow slavery to continue. We'll never be rid of the stain of slavery and unfettered gun ownership.
     
  24. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

    Joined:
    May 7, 2004
    Location:
    Sod off
    #24
    I would put it this way - the framers of the constitution faced a serious divergence in opinion when it came to addressing slavery. Their compromise solution effectively "kicked the can down the road" and directly resulted in the Civil War. The 2nd Amendment's wording was also influenced by this debate.
     
  25. ugahairydawgs macrumors 68020

    ugahairydawgs

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2010
    #25
    The more things change.......
     

Share This Page