College of Political Knowledge
Subject: Early American History
First, I would like to apologize to my readers, this part of my series was suppose to be the opening to be followed by my first post here, Why The 2nd? Age and brain worms have made me a bit rattled brain (that is humor in case you missed it)……..My first post got a couple of people worried about my writing….let me say here that this is NOT a look at the 2nd amendment from an ideological or judicial perspective, but rather from historical events….I will leave the emotional ramblings to others…….
All the screaming has begun……the country seems to want some sort of commonsense approach to assault weapons and extended magazines…..and of course, we have NRA and related interests doing everything possible to prevent any such thing ever happening……I read as much of the debate as I can stomach and there are a few things I need to point out…….there are a couple of Jefferson quotes making all the rounds…..
The beauty of the second amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it.
When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.
The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.
Really telling quotes from one of our Founders…..the problem is after searching Jefferson’s papers, letters and other works…..he never said or wrote these thoughts……and there is part of the problem…….so much crap floating around and too many lies….can we really know the truth about the 2nd?
Since NONE of the original Founders remain…..all we can do is work with what they left us in the writings and such and make up our own minds as to the truth of the 2nd and why it was inserted into the Constitution.
During my years of attempting to finish my dissertation I did massive amounts of research….most of it about the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution…..trying to get a handle on what our Founders were thinking……..I realize most of thinking came from philosophers like Hume and Burke and Locke…even Rousseau to some……but how did these thoughts influence such things as the 2nd amendment?
My research back in those days I found what I believe was the earliest mention of guns in the constitution……….And that the said Constitution be never construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the press, or the rights of conscience; or to prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms. Samuel Adams, (February 6, 1788), reported in Charles Hale, Debates and Proceedings in the Convention of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (1856), p. 86. This language was proposed in the Massachusetts convention for ratification of the U.S. Constitution to be added to Article I of that document.
Some say that Madison was the father of the militia clause………but was he the originator of the 2nd amendment? Not in my mind….but that is yet to been seen…….
Samuel Adams? Now there is a fact I can believe. Why? Samuel Adams was about the only real radical that was in the whole process from the beginning.
In case your sole exposure to Samuel Adams is from a beer allow me to help you understand the man……..
He had been the first of American statesmen to come to the conclusion that independence was the only remedy for the troubles of the time; and since 1768 he had acted upon this conviction without publicly avowing it. The “Boston tea party” made war inevitable. In April, 1774, parliament retorted with the acts for closing the port of Boston and annulling the charter of Massachusetts. This alarmed all the colonies, and led to the first meeting of the continental congress. In this matter the other colonies invited Massachusetts to take the lead, and the work was managed by Mr. Adams with his accustomed shrewdness and daring. When the legislature met at Salem, 17 June, 1774, in conformity to the new acts of parliament, he locked the door, put the key into his pocket, and carried through the measures for assembling a congress at Philadelphia in September. A Tory member, feigning sudden illness, was allowed to go out, and ran straight to the governor with the news. The governor lost no time in drawing up the writ dissolving the legislature, but when his clerk reached the hall he found the door locked and could not serve the writ. When the business was accomplished the legislature adjourned sine die. It was the last Massachusetts legislature assembled in obedience to the sovereign authority of Great Britain. The acts of April were henceforth entirely disregarded in Massachusetts.
Unlike the two Virginians, Patrick Henry and Richard Lee, he did not actively oppose the new constitution of 1787. In the Massachusetts convention of 1788, for considering the federal constitution, he was by far the most influential member. For two weeks he sat in silence listening to the arguments of other members. Then he decided to support the constitution and urge its ratification unconditionally, but with a general understanding that Massachusetts would submit to the new congress sundry amendments equivalent in effect to a bill of rights. His decision carried the convention in favor of ratification by the narrow majority of 187 yeas to 108 nays. But for this ratification on the part of Massachusetts the constitution would not have been adopted, and of all the great services rendered by Samuel Adams to his country none was greater than this. The example of Massachusetts in proposing amendments was followed by other states, and it was thus that the first ten amendments, declared in force 15 Dec., 1791, originated. And it was in these amendments that the 2nd was first considered and after some debate was subsequently added to the Bill of Rights in 1791.
I am sure that this will not please many people….who desperately want it to be Thomas Jefferson’s idea……it was not……and contrary to popular belief…..Jefferson was not part of the Constitutional Convention as a member. Samuel Adams was a radical and a rebel and never considered anything but independence for the colonies….unlike many of his fellow founders that wanted, in the beginning, a reconciliation with England.
Samuel Adams may well be the father of the 2nd amendment….shattering oh so many dreams.