College of Political Knowledge
Subject: Early American History
This is my final paper (for now) on the 2nd amendment to the US Constitution….I have looked at historical events that lead to the inclusion of the 2nd into the Constitution……we have the first person to mention the guns, the events that lead to the inclusion and a look into the use of the word, ‘militia’ in the writing of the document…….and finally my conclusions on this part of the Constitution…….
Hopefully, my readers will remind themselves that my research was along historical lines, not from an ideological or judicial perspective……so there will be NO emotional ramblings, just historical facts and events……and I pray that the reader will read this for the historical content and not as a diatribe condemning or condoning………
Let’s look at the republican (small “r”) thinking of the day…….as it pertains to guns……”standing armies are dangerous and should be avoided.” As the Constitution is being written the ideas put forth in 1787 were…….1) separation of powers, 2) authority of Congress to declare war, 3) guarantee the legality of slavery, 4) creation of electoral college, 5) provision for impeachment, 6) presidential state of the union message, 7) provision for ratifying the Constitution, 8) federalism, 9) bicameral legislature, 10) enumeration of powers of Congress, 11) finally, the 3/5ths compromise……and when it was ratified there is NO inclusion of an arms provision….that would come later, 1791 to be exact…….
At the time of the ratification of the Constitution there was NO American standing army to speak of, however each state had its armed factions that we call militias…..back in the days between the 7 years war and the revolution states had border skirmishes with neighbor states and even skirmishes within the borders of a single state had its share of in fighting…Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island quickly come to mind……..in other words arms were necessary to protect ones self from ones neighbor.
The only mention of ‘arms’ in the constitution is the 2nd amendment……I believe that the key words in that amendment is “a well regulated militia”…………because of the always present conflicts between states and groups and the lack of a standing army…..it was necessary to keep a militia on stand by to help quell any and all uprisings…..I continue to believe that it was not included because the founders were concerned that government might intrude on the people but rather to keep the people from intruding on government.
The two leading thinkers of the constitutional era were Jefferson and Hamilton……different sides of the same coin, if you will……..as far as the document goes….Hamilton favored an interpretive approach to the constitution and then there is Jefferson who believe in a strict interpretation of the document…..
If the constitutional convention had taken more time to write and ratify I believe that it would have been substantially different in its make up……..with more time from inception to ratification the constitution would have had a different feel about it…….why do I say that? Look at some of the items NOT included in the final draft……1) 2 term limit for prez, 2) universal manhood suffrage, 3) presidential cabinet, 4) direct election of senators, 5) political parties……..most of these became part of the laws of the country and if there had been more time in the drafting of the document they might have been included………… since there are NO founders left alive we are left with what others tell us the content of the constitution means…….and few of these analysis are from a historical perspective but rather from an emotional, ideological and judicial point of view……..the 2nd is here to stay…..and NO amount of scrutiny will change that and NO amount of debate will ever venture beyond the emotional or the ideological…….personally, it is something that the founders NEVER intended…..