I disagree with Hightower.

What you will find here is: a centrist's view of current events;
a collection of thoughts, arguments, and observations
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Friday, January 18, 2013

Purpose for the 2nd Amendment

I was fascinated by this article regarding the reason we had to have the 2nd amendment.  I do not know if it is accurate.  Any comments by the YA community would be welcome.   I know there are some that are more historically astute than I..in fact it would not be out of the question to assume that all members of the community are more historically astute than I.



  1. The Thesis is that in the drafting of the Bill of Rights Patrick Henry forced James Madison into designing the Second Amendment so that it would prevent the Federals from interfering with the State Militias while the Militias controlled the southern slaves. The maneuver centers on the difference in meaning between “state” and “country”. (I thought the 2 words were sometimes interchanged at that time and that state, as we use it, was only beginning then.)
    The power of Congress to control (Art I) and the President to command (Art II) the state militias can be found in the Constitution.
    From Article 1
    To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
    To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;
    From Article II
    The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States;
    Amendment 2
    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.
    The author, Thom Hartmann, believes that the sneaky Madison wanted the word “country” after the word free, which Hartmann believes would have allowed the federals to undermine slavery. He believes that Henry caught him and forced him to use the word State which makes all safe and sound for the slave owners. *******************************************************************************
    My Turn:
    A There is nothing in the second amendment that changes the powers from above Art. I and II.
    President Kennedy used the militia to force integration in Alabama in the sixties and nobody suggested that the second amendment could prevent it.

    B The author’s thesis is silly. I would say it is part of an attempt to bring the Second Amend. into disrepute on the grounds of its “bad purpose” which is irrelevant to the gun problem at hand. Suppose his stuff were true and we were to remove the militia part. What would the amendment look like then?

    Amendment 2 The right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

    Quite naked and an even more powerful force in defense of those Hartmann opposes.

    C Hartman ends with:
    “Little did Madison realize that one day in the future weapons-manufacturing corporations, newly defined as "persons" by a Supreme Court some have called dysfunctional, would use his slave patrol militia amendment to protect their "right" to manufacture and sell assault weapons used to murder schoolchildren.”
    A couple of minor points: It was some time ago that the courts began treating (for some purposes) corporations as persons. To say “a Supreme Court some have called …” is about as weak a criticism as you can make. “Some have called” could be two guys in a diner. This reinforces that Hartmann is just throwing epithets.

    D. Finally, Hartmann acts as if conflating country and state is of great significance and refers the reader to the 10th amendment to indicate that “the founders knew the difference”. I did not find it. However, I did find in the 11th amendment the expression: “Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State.”

  2. Thanks for your response Wayne. Very helpful.

  3. Actor Danny Glover made this statement to students at Texas A & M.

    “I don’t know if you know the genesis of the right to bear arms,” he said. “The Second Amendment comes from the right to protect themselves from slave revolts, and from uprisings by Native Americans.”

    Fact or fiction I think the narrative will sell.