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Old February 26, 2009, 12:02 AM   #51
Tennessee Gentleman
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Originally Posted by kirpi97
So I thank you kind sir. You are gentleman.
As are you sir. See you at the next thread!
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Old February 26, 2009, 06:51 PM   #52
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Glenn and TG, without going into a long dissertation I'll get right to the heart of my position. While our system of government with its Separtation of Powers does indeed combat and prevent tyranny as well as ensure that our rights remain intact, the inability of government to remove those rights without the overwhelming consent of the people ensures that our system of government with its Separation of Powers remains intact. I'll illustrate this with an example: Suppose the President wanted to use his position as Commander in Chief of the military to, against the will of the people, attempt to seize power from the other branches of the government by force and make himself a dictator. Obviously this would not work because it would be against the will of the people and the people would offer such strong resistance (including likely armed resistance) that such a scheme would be all but impossible (let's face it, neither the military nor police can control the people if the majority of them are armed and unwilling to comply). So, in order to make such a thing work, the President would first have strip the people of their rights (including RKBA) and thereby remove their ability to resist, but he cannot remove the people's rights against their will without first taking sole control of the government. So, the President cannot seize sole power without taking away the rights of the people first, and he cannot do that without sole power thusly making the attainment of sole governmental power by the President against the will of the people impossible. Therefore, both the Separation of Powers and our unalienable rights (including RKBA) prevent tyranny so long as the people have the will to be free from tyranny.
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Old February 26, 2009, 06:57 PM   #53
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Webley,
I have spoken to the other parts of your position before so I won't rehash that but I did want to speak to your scenario.

That is, any President who tried to use the military in an unlawful way. Speaking as a career military guy I can assure you that would never happen because of this oath:
Quote:
"I, _____ (SSAN), having been appointed an officer in the Army of the United States, as indicated above in the grade of _____ do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same;
That oath would stop any rogue President or any other politician from what your scenario suggests. And believe me we take these oaths VERY seriously!
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Old February 27, 2009, 09:50 AM   #54
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Tennessee Gentleman, if every soldier takes that oath so seriously, why did the army uphold Lincoln's declaration of martial law and suspension of Habeus Corpus during the Civil War? Why did the military carry out the interrment of Japanese Americans during WWII? As you've already pointed out, both of these acts were tyrannical and unconstitutional, yet the military carried them out anyway. While the oath is definately a good thing, at the end of the day it's only as good as the person taking it and thus is not enough to prevent tyranny in and of itself. Therefore, the responsibility for preventing one branch of the government from seizing power over the other two falls ultimately upon the people. The Bill of Rights ensures that the people are able to prevent such tyranny by ensuring that the balance of power stays intact and the balance of power ensures that the people cannot be stripped of their rights without their consent. Each institution ensures the survival of the other so long as it is the will of the people.
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Old February 27, 2009, 10:19 AM   #55
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That oath would stop any rogue President or any other politician from what your scenario suggests.
Aside from the plain fact that a fellow taking an oath stops nothing, the history of the armed services and the oath do not reasonably suggest that it makes the armed services a fourth branch of government and a check on their exercise of power. On the contrary, it indicates US military legal subservience to civilian authority more than LegalAid with rifles.

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Old February 27, 2009, 11:43 AM   #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Webleymkv
if every soldier takes that oath so seriously, why did the army uphold Lincoln's declaration of martial law and suspension of Habeus Corpus during the Civil War? Why did the military carry out the interrment of Japanese Americans during WWII? As you've already pointed out, both of these acts were tyrannical and unconstitutional, yet the military carried them out anyway.
And if an armed citizenry would prevent such tyrannical acts why didn't those armed citizen's resist? Of course, we both know the answers The suspension of Habeus Corpus was supported by the public because the country was involved in a civil war. Something that is not going to happen again. The Japanese Internment was actually upheld by the Supreme Court as constitutional in Korematsu but later rejected and overturned. Also, the Japanese Americans were released after WWII and later paid reparations.

However, in neither case was the military used to overthrow branches of government as your scenario implied and all three branches of our government were complicit in the outrages you mention.

Our government made a terrible mistake by interning those Japanese Americans but no armed citizenry either prevented it or righted it. I have not said our government is perfect (as none is) but my point is that the righting of the constitutional ship was done by our democratic institutions not an armed citizenry which had no role whatsoever in the affair.

However, my question still stands if you can find a part of our history since our government was formed where an armed citizenry either prevented or overturned governmental tyranny I would be interested to hear about it.

PS Once again please not the rural myth of The Battle of Athens TN:barf:
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Old February 27, 2009, 11:51 AM   #57
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The Japanese Internment was actually upheld by the Supreme Court as constitutional in Korematsu but later rejected and overturned.
Korematsu was charged with evading the exclusion order. His personal conviction was overturned decades later, but the Supreme Court decision upholding the exclusion order has not been overturned.

I confess a fondness for Jackson's dissent. It is to the point and modest.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jackson
My duties as a justice, as I see them, do not require me to make a military judgment as to whether General DeWitt's evacuation and detention program was a reasonable military necessity. I do not suggest that the courts should have attempted to interfere with the Army in carrying out its task. But I do not think they may be asked to execute a military expedient that has no place in law under the Constitution. I would reverse the judgment and discharge the prisoner.
http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/htm..._0214_ZD2.html

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Old February 28, 2009, 08:09 AM   #58
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And if an armed citizenry would prevent such tyrannical acts why didn't those armed citizen's resist? Of course, we both know the answers The suspension of Habeus Corpus was supported by the public because the country was involved in a civil war. Something that is not going to happen again. The Japanese Internment was actually upheld by the Supreme Court as constitutional in Korematsu but later rejected and overturned. Also, the Japanese Americans were released after WWII and later paid reparations.
TG, the armed citizens did not rise up and prevent such tyrannical acts because our other democratic institutions were still in place to do it. However, RKBA along with the other rights enumerated in the BOR ensured that the other democratic institutions stayed in place. You are missing my point: I never contended that an armed citizenry is the only safeguard against tryranny but that it's role in doing so is to ensure that the other democratic institutions do not break down and thusly be unable to prevent or combat it. Also, I've already stated that neither our democratic institutions nor the BOR will prevent tyranny if the people are unwilling to oppose it as was the case with both the suspension of Habeus Corpus and Japanese internment. My only point was that the military will not necessarily refuse to follow unconstitutional and/or tyrannical orders as they didn't refuse during both the Civil War and WWII. I ask if you can point out a single instance in our history in which the military refused to follow their order because that order was tyrannical and/or unconstitutional and not because the order were belayed by another branch of the government.

Quote:
However, in neither case was the military used to overthrow branches of government as your scenario implied and all three branches of our government were complicit in the outrages you mention.
The people, by and large, were also complicit in these outrages. Neither the right to arms nor checks and balances will prevent tyranny if the people are unwilling to oppose it.

Quote:
Our government made a terrible mistake by interning those Japanese Americans but no armed citizenry either prevented it or righted it. I have not said our government is perfect (as none is) but my point is that the righting of the constitutional ship was done by our democratic institutions not an armed citizenry which had no role whatsoever in the affair.
As I said before, our democratic institutions remained in place thusly negating the need for the armed citizenry to take action. The armed citizenry ensured that our democratic institutions remained in place to begin with.

Quote:
However, my question still stands if you can find a part of our history since our government was formed where an armed citizenry either prevented or overturned governmental tyranny I would be interested to hear about it.

PS Once again please not the rural myth of The Battle of Athens TN
I've already answered this question twice, you just continue to qualify it because you don't like my answers. No one branch of our government has ever attempted to seize power from the other two because they know it would be impossible to do because of the insurmountable resistance (including armed resistance) from the people. Thusly in order to do such a thing, that branch of the government would first have to remove the people's ability to resist by stripping away their rights. This cannot be done against the will of the people because our other democratic institutions prevent it. Thusly, the rights of the people, including the right to arms, ensures the survival of our democratic institutions so long as it is the will of the people while the democratic institutions ensure the rights of the people so long as the people have a will to maintain those rights. Therefore, the only way that our government can devolve into tyranny from within is if the people allow it to happen.
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Old February 28, 2009, 12:25 PM   #59
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Thank you for addressing TG's strawman argument.

Firearms in the hands of citizens were vital in the expansion of this country, AFTER it was established.
The presence of firearms also helped slow incursions from Mexico, attempting to claim Texas, and, I have little doubt have managed to make the Mexican government think twice about invading Kalifornia using force.
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Old February 28, 2009, 12:34 PM   #60
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Webleymkv
The armed citizenry ensured that our democratic institutions remained in place to begin with.
I see no evidence of that. You could also say that because the flag is blue, it prevents the government from becoming tyrannical. You can't can't show cause and effect or the deterence you claim. On the other hand I have shown historical instances of government abuse and the remedy or prevention was in every case done by our democratic institutions. You claim that tryanny is prevented by an armed citizenry and yet provide nothing more than "well it is harder to subdue an armed population". Maybe, but it is far more difficult to subdue a population that has governmental safeguards in place and whose populace obey the rule of law. However, armed citizenries HAVE been subdued and tryanny put into place.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Webleymkv
No one branch of our government has ever attempted to seize power from the other two because they know it would be impossible to do because of the insurmountable resistance (including armed resistance) from the people.
I am not sure they (potential tyrants) know any such thing regarding armed citizens. What I think they do know is they could never pull if off politically and the other branches would stop them and they would be out of office. Rather your quote here would stop such an act:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Webleymkv
this cannot be done against the will of the people because our other democratic institutions prevent it.
With this I agree.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Webleymkv
I ask if you can point out a single instance in our history in which the military refused to follow their order because that order was tyrannical and/or unconstitutional and not because the order were belayed by another branch of the government.
Not necessary for me to do. You made the claim in your scenario that the military would follow the orders of the President and overthrow the other two branches of government. I disputed that contention because of the oath of office we take and adhere to. Contrary to popular belief the military does not blindly and without thought follow orders from superiors and in fact we are taught NOT to follow illegal orders.
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Old February 28, 2009, 12:38 PM   #61
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Originally Posted by Socrates
Thank you for addressing TG's strawman argument.
Firearms in the hands of citizens were vital in the expansion of this country, AFTER it was established.
There is no strawman. I have asked for webley or you for that matter to give a historical example where an armed citizenry prevented or undid a tyrannical goverment action in this country since we were formed.

However, I think you have presented a strawman by talking about expansion of the country which has nothing to do with government or tyranny or the question posed.
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Old February 28, 2009, 07:16 PM   #62
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Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Webleymkv
The armed citizenry ensured that our democratic institutions remained in place to begin with.

I see no evidence of that. You could also say that because the flag is blue, it prevents the government from becoming tyrannical. You can't can't show cause and effect or the deterence you claim. On the other hand I have shown historical instances of government abuse and the remedy or prevention was in every case done by our democratic institutions. You claim that tryanny is prevented by an armed citizenry and yet provide nothing more than "well it is harder to subdue an armed population". Maybe, but it is far more difficult to subdue a population that has governmental safeguards in place and whose populace obey the rule of law. However, armed citizenries HAVE been subdued and tryanny put into place.
The Federalist Papers were written by Alexander Hamilton (the New York Delegate at the Constitutional Convention), James Madison (the Virginia Delegate who is often recognized as the "Father of the Constitution"), John Jay, and John Church Hamilton. On page 227, Alexander Hamilton states the following:

Quote:
If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no resource left but but in exertion of that original right of self defence, which is paramount to all positive forms of government...
Seems to me that Hamilton recognized the resistance of the people (including armed resistance) to be a legitimate means of combating tyranny.

On page 233, Hamilton states the following in his arguments attempting to allay fears that the government would use the military for tyrannical purposes:

Quote:
...but if circumstances should at any time oblige the government to form an army of any magnitude, that army can never be formidable to the liberties of the people, while there is a large body of citizens, little, if at all, inferior to them in discipline and use of arms who stand ready to defend their own rights, and those of their fellow citizens.
Sounds to me like Hamilton thought the military would be unable to dominate an armed and well disciplined citizenry. So it would appear to me that no one has tried to seize sole governmental power by force because an armed citizenry would make it extremely difficult if not impossible to do so.

Given Hamilton's statements on the issue, it would seem rather clear that the founders did indeed intend an armed citizenry to serve as a bulwark against tyranny, the lack of its use does not negate its purpose. If you would like to argue that the premises upon which the founders wrote the Constitution are incorrect, go right ahead. I will not debate that point because I am of firm belief that those brilliant men probably knew much more about structuring a government that ensures the freedom of the people than you or I will ever hope to.

Originally posted by Tennessee Gentleman
Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Webleymkv
No one branch of our government has ever attempted to seize power from the other two because they know it would be impossible to do because of the insurmountable resistance (including armed resistance) from the people.

I am not sure they (potential tyrants) know any such thing regarding armed citizens. What I think they do know is they could never pull if off politically and the other branches would stop them and they would be out of office.
How would the other branches of the government stop the potential tyrant if he already had control over a superior military force and posessed the will to use it against them. At that point, the legality of the issue would be of little consequence as the would-be-tyrant would obviously have little respect for the law or the Constitution as evidenced by his desire to attempt such a scheme in the first place. At that point, it would fall to the people to stop such an event. Hamilton seemed confident that armed and well disciplined citizens would be up to the task.

Originally posted by Tennessee Gentleman
Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Webleymkv
I ask if you can point out a single instance in our history in which the military refused to follow their order because that order was tyrannical and/or unconstitutional and not because the order were belayed by another branch of the government.

Not necessary for me to do. You made the claim in your scenario that the military would follow the orders of the President and overthrow the other two branches of government. I disputed that contention because of the oath of office we take and adhere to. Contrary to popular belief the military does not blindly and without thought follow orders from superiors and in fact we are taught NOT to follow illegal orders.
You claimed that the oath would prevent the military from supporting a rouge president from seizing sole governmental power. I pointed out, using your own examples, that this is a weak argument as the military can and has carried out illegal orders that would seem to be in conflict with the oath taken by its members. I asked that you support your claim, and, thus far, you have been either unable or unwilling to do so.

Originally posted by Tennessee Gentleman
Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Socrates
Thank you for addressing TG's strawman argument.
Firearms in the hands of citizens were vital in the expansion of this country, AFTER it was established.

There is no strawman. I have asked for webley or you for that matter to give a historical example where an armed citizenry prevented or undid a tyrannical goverment action in this country since we were formed.
The fact that no one branch of the government has ever attempted to seize power from the others can be attributed to one of three possible causes: All of our past and current leaders have had such a deep respect for the Constitution that they wouldn't attempt such a thing, None of our past or current leaders were intelligent enough to realize that they could do such a thing, or some insurmountable obstacle prevented the would-be-tyrants from carrying out their wishes. Given that we've had more that our fair share of dismal leader and that some of them have been quite intelligent, I think it's safe to say that the first two circumstances are not the reason for our contiued liberty. Therefore, I think we can all agree, some insurmountable obstacle prevented the would-be-tyrants from seizing power. While you contend that the legal structure of the government was that obstacle, I argue that historically law in and of itself cannot stop a tyrant from seizing power. Certainly the some of our leaders have posessed the means to ignore the law and seize power by force, yet none have attempted it. You state that the reason is that the military would not carry out such illegal orders, but history does not support that notion as the military has carried out illegal orders in the past. The reason, by process of elimination, must be that the people would not support such action and would be too strong to opress. I contend, and Hamilton seems to agree, that arms are part of what makes the people too strong to opress.
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Old February 28, 2009, 09:24 PM   #63
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FDR threatened the Supreme Court with a Constitutional amendment, expanding the court to a larger number, so he could get his socialist issues passed. The court ended up retiring, etc. but, it also didn't do any good for FDR's credibility. That is the closest I can think of, other then the Kali legislature, and government, suspending the US Constitution in this state...
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Old February 28, 2009, 11:53 PM   #64
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Quote:
Sounds to me like Hamilton thought the military would be unable to dominate an armed and well disciplined citizenry. So it would appear to me that no one has tried to seize sole governmental power by force because an armed citizenry would make it extremely difficult if not impossible to do so.
That's just silly. That's ideology, not rational argument.
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Old March 1, 2009, 12:23 AM   #65
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Webley,
Good discussion and I am a Hamilton fan. However, as I always say, history MUST be read in context.

Hamilton was arguing for a strong central government and the anti-federalists (who ultimately lost the argument) wanted a weak central government. Why? Because we had just thrown off a tryannical government and we were trying a new experiment the world had never seen. The sturm und drang of the Federalist/Anti-Federalist positions helped us craft a system of checks and balances that would make armed insurrection like we had inflicted upon King George unnecessary ever again. Rebellion was the only choice we had against the Crown because there was no other choice available save slavery to the King. At the time Hamilton was writing it was not certain how we would prevent a tryannical despot from taking over. Therefore, his reliance on the idea of an armed citizen militia. Superior in numbers if not in arms to any standing Army. That would change later on as the country grew up and the democratic institutions matured. I will show that later on.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Webleymkv
that army can never be formidable to the liberties of the people, while there is a large body of citizens, little, if at all, inferior to them in discipline and use of arms who stand ready to defend their own rights, and those of their fellow citizens.
I posted this in another thread about the decline of the militia:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tennessee Gentleman
Within two decades of the ratification of the Constitution, American political leaders had abandoned the original concept of the militia, and in the words of one historian, "The ideological assumptions of revolutionary republicanism would no longer play an important role in the debate over the republic's military requirements." THE MILITIA AND THE CONSTITUTION: A LEGAL HISTORY by William S. Fields & David T. Hardy Military Law Review 1992
The founding fathers feared a large standing army and the quote you give from Hamilton as he tried to convince the anti-federalists that a strong government would not become tyrannical was speaking to that fear. The militia and the idea of a group of citizens "little, if at all, inferior to them in discipline and use of arms" fell by the wayside because a) The American People didn't like compulsory service in the militia and b) the checks and balances in the system provided the necessary protections needed for preventing tyranny thus Jefferson who had once loathed the idea now as President asked for a "select militia" or standing army. The idea you support was dead 20 years after the COTUS was written.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Webleymkv
the lack of its use does not negate its purpose.
It renders it obsolete.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Webleymkv
You claimed that the oath would prevent the military from supporting a rouge president from seizing sole governmental power. I pointed out, using your own examples, that this is a weak argument as the military can and has carried out illegal orders that would seem to be in conflict with the oath taken by its members. I asked that you support your claim, and, thus far, you have been either unable or unwilling to do so.
I have supported the claim but you are spinning the argument. I said that a rouge president would not be able to overthrow the other branches of government using the military because of the oath the military had taken. I did not say that the military would fail to execute apparently lawful orders (even later found to be wrong) that all three branches of government supported and approved which they did in the examples I provided.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Webleymkv
How would the other branches of the government stop the potential tyrant if he already had control over a superior military force and posessed the will to use it against them.
Unless that military force was stronger than the US Military he couldn't do it. Since no President could obtain such control over the US Military, it would have to be one big force outside the government. Not likely to happen.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Webleymkv
The fact that no one branch of the government has ever attempted to seize power from the others can be attributed to one of three possible causes:
I submit a fourth. They could not seize power because constitutional separations of powers as well as the checks and balances of our COTUS prevented them from doing it as well as free elections and an independent judiciary.

Webley, I am still waiting for historical evidence that an armed citizenry has prevented or undid a tyrannical act by our government.
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Old March 1, 2009, 09:53 AM   #66
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Quote:
Webley, I am still waiting for historical evidence that an armed citizenry has prevented or undid a tyrannical act by our government.
Aside from the one already provided?

In order to illustrate the principle that an armed population is useful in peeling back a the grip of a government force, it should not be necessary to limit examples to the US. The soviet army certainly found its contact with afgans demotivating, and contra use of arms has returned Nicaragua to a multiparty state.

The idea is so well demonstrated that arguing against it indicates an agenda. Tennessse Gentleman, you've written often and over a long period that you fear arms in the hands of the population. You've even found a picture of a dozen or so fellows with guns to illustrate your fear.

Why is your fear an adequate basis for public policy, while the anxiety of others at being disarmed isn't?
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Old March 1, 2009, 12:56 PM   #67
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Originally posted by Tennessee Gentleman
Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Webleymkv
that army can never be formidable to the liberties of the people, while there is a large body of citizens, little, if at all, inferior to them in discipline and use of arms who stand ready to defend their own rights, and those of their fellow citizens.

I posted this in another thread about the decline of the militia:


Quote:
Originally Posted by Tennessee Gentleman
Within two decades of the ratification of the Constitution, American political leaders had abandoned the original concept of the militia, and in the words of one historian, "The ideological assumptions of revolutionary republicanism would no longer play an important role in the debate over the republic's military requirements." THE MILITIA AND THE CONSTITUTION: A LEGAL HISTORY by William S. Fields & David T. Hardy Military Law Review 1992

The founding fathers feared a large standing army and the quote you give from Hamilton as he tried to convince the anti-federalists that a strong government would not become tyrannical was speaking to that fear. The militia and the idea of a group of citizens "little, if at all, inferior to them in discipline and use of arms" fell by the wayside because a) The American People didn't like compulsory service in the militia and b) the checks and balances in the system provided the necessary protections needed for preventing tyranny thus Jefferson who had once loathed the idea now as President asked for a "select militia" or standing army. The idea you support was dead 20 years after the COTUS was written.
Hamilton's writings do not support that notion as he stated the following in The Federalist Papers:

Quote:
To oblige the great body of yeomanry, and of the other classes of the citizens, to be under arms for the purpose of goin through military exercizes and evolutions, as often as might be necessary, to acquire the degree of perfection which would entitle them to the character of a well regualted militia, would be a real greivance to the people, and a serious public inconveniance and loss. I would form an annual deduction from the productive labour of the country...
He also states with regards to mandatory militia service,

Quote:
To attempt such a thing which would abridge the mass of labour and industry to so considerable an extent, would be unwise; and the experiment, if made, could not succeed, because it would not long be endured.
and finally,

Quote:
Little more can reasonably be aimed at, with respect to the people, than to have them properly armed and equipped..
Sounds to me like the founders knew right from the beginning that Switzerland-style mandatory militia service would not work. Yet the Second Amendment was still included in the Constitution and Hamilton made the earlier comments that I posted in the very same document as his admission that mandatory militia service was not feasable.

Originally posted by Tennessee Gentleman
Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Webleymkv
the lack of its use does not negate its purpose.

It renders it obsolete.
So does the fact that I've never fired or even drawn my handgun in self-defense render my right to carry it obsolete? The argument that lack of use necessarily equates to obsolescence has far too many problems and exceptions to be valid.

Originally posted by Tennessee Gentleman
Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Webleymkv
You claimed that the oath would prevent the military from supporting a rouge president from seizing sole governmental power. I pointed out, using your own examples, that this is a weak argument as the military can and has carried out illegal orders that would seem to be in conflict with the oath taken by its members. I asked that you support your claim, and, thus far, you have been either unable or unwilling to do so.

I have supported the claim but you are spinning the argument. I said that a rouge president would not be able to overthrow the other branches of government using the military because of the oath the military had taken. I did not say that the military would fail to execute apparently lawful orders (even later found to be wrong) that all three branches of government supported and approved which they did in the examples I provided.
I am not spinning the argument, I simply pointed pointed out the fallacy of it. What is to prevent the military to percieve the orders of a rouge president as being lawful (even if they are later found to be wrong), such as being an emergency measure that is supposed to be rescinded later? Remember, hindsight is always 20/20. You still are unable to support your claim that the oath alone would prevent the military from carrying out illegal orders (it hasn't always done so in the past).

Originally posted by Tennessee Gentleman
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Originally Posted by Webleymkv
How would the other branches of the government stop the potential tyrant if he already had control over a superior military force and posessed the will to use it against them.

Unless that military force was stronger than the US Military he couldn't do it. Since no President could obtain such control over the US Military, it would have to be one big force outside the government. Not likely to happen.
It is only impossible for a President to gain control over the military because of the people. There is not evidence that the other branches of the government, without the support of the people who are equipped to resist the tyrant, would be able to stop such an event. Also, because there is no current military force outside the U.S. that is strong enough to overthrow our government, such was not always the case and there is no guarantee that such will always be the case.

Originally posted by Tennessee Gentleman
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Originally Posted by Webleymkv
The fact that no one branch of the government has ever attempted to seize power from the others can be attributed to one of three possible causes:

I submit a fourth. They could not seize power because constitutional separations of powers as well as the checks and balances of our COTUS prevented them from doing it as well as free elections and an independent judiciary.
COTUS cannot prevent anything if the would-be tyrant has no respect for the law and the means to carry out his wishes in spite of COTUS. History supports this. The BOR's guarantee of certain rights (including RKBA) serves too ensure that no leader will have sufficient force to seize sole governmental power against the will of the people through use of the military. Those were Hamilton's thoughts on the matter and I agree with him.

Originally posted by Tennessee Gentleman
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Webley, I am still waiting for historical evidence that an armed citizenry has prevented or undid a tyrannical act by our government.
I've answered that question numerous times, you simply continue to modify and qualify it because you don't like my answers but are unable to refute them. This is a game that I refuse to play.

Originally posted by Kleinzeit
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Sounds to me like Hamilton thought the military would be unable to dominate an armed and well disciplined citizenry. So it would appear to me that no one has tried to seize sole governmental power by force because an armed citizenry would make it extremely difficult if not impossible to do so.

That's just silly. That's ideology, not rational argument.
Well it appears that at least one of the Delegates at the Constitutional Convention shared my silly, irrational ideology.
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Old March 1, 2009, 02:18 PM   #68
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Quote:
Sounds to me like Hamilton thought the military would be unable to dominate an armed and well disciplined citizenry. So it would appear to me that no one has tried to seize sole governmental power by force because an armed citizenry would make it extremely difficult if not impossible to do so.
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That's just silly. That's ideology, not rational argument.
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Well it appears that at least one of the Delegates at the Constitutional Convention shared my silly, irrational ideology.
What I meant was that no causality has been established between what Hamilton thought and what subsequently did or not did not happen. To suppose that causality nonetheless exists is ideological.
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Old March 1, 2009, 04:10 PM   #69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Webleymkv
Sounds to me like the founders knew right from the beginning that Switzerland-style mandatory militia service would not work. Yet the Second Amendment was still included in the Constitution and Hamilton made the earlier comments that I posted in the very same document as his admission that mandatory militia service was not feasable.
Really? Is that why in 1792 an Act of Congress was passed that said:

Quote:
That each and every free able-bodied white male citizen of the respective States, resident therein, who is or shall be of age of eighteen years, and under the age of forty-five years shall severally and respectively be enrolled in the militia,
Anyway, other than your affection for him, why should John Hamilton be the sole arbiter of our discussion? I bet John had no trouble with not allowing women to vote either. Doesn't make him right today.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Webleymkv
The argument that lack of use necessarily equates to obsolescence has far too many problems and exceptions to be valid.
I am not arguing that it is obsolete because it isn't used, I argue it is obsolete because it does not exist and has been replaced by other institutions. Like the US Navy replaced Privateers and Letters of Marque and Reprisal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Webleymkv
You still are unable to support your claim that the oath alone would prevent the military from carrying out illegal orders (it hasn't always done so in the past).
You are still spinning and must be dizzy by now. I have said that the Oath of Office all Military personnel take would prevent a rogue President form overthrowing the other two branches of government that you said could happen. A rogue President could not accomplish that feat as the military does not answer to the President alone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Webleymkv
COTUS cannot prevent anything if the would-be tyrant has no respect for the law and the means to carry out his wishes in spite of COTUS.
Again I say that unless the tyrant had a force outside and apart from the military (such as a private army) he could not have such means.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Webleymkv
I've answered that question numerous times, you simply continue to modify and qualify it because you don't like my answers but are unable to refute them. This is a game that I refuse to play.
Webley, lets be frank, you have not answered the question. The issue we are debating was whether an armed citizenry or democratic institutions protected us from tyranny. Admittedly I did not word the challenge carefully and the only example you gave was the Revolutionary War. Then I qualified the question and you have not answered to date.

Now, why is the Revolutionary War example no good to answer the question I posed? Look again at the question.
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whether an armed citizenry or democratic institutions protect us from tyranny.
Since during the reign of Britain over us as a colony there were no democratic institutions in place to protect or even acknowledge our rights as people the only option left to us was war. So, using the Revolutionary War as your example won't work because only half (armed citizenry) of the equation was in play. I concede that if there is no political way to gain freedom or prevent tyranny force of arms may be the only way (apologies to Gandhi) but that is not what we face in the question I posed.

On the other hand I have shown in each example of government abuse since our government was formed that in every case, the democratic institutions we have either prevented of reversed the abuse.

I now state you cannot show that an armed citizenry has ever in the history of our republic prevented or reversed an abuse by the government. You may believe it (or want it) to be true as you claim John Hamilton did, but have nothing to support that belief. I have shown the efficacy of our democratic system to right those wrongs.
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Old March 1, 2009, 04:21 PM   #70
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What I meant was that no causality has been established between what Hamilton thought and what subsequently did or not did not happen. To suppose that causality nonetheless exists is ideological.
One typically has to posess at least a moderate level of intelligence in order to reach a position of considerable power within the federal government. Surely someone who is intelligent enough to reach a position within the government that gives them enough power to attempt to become a tyrant would also be smart enough to realize the the military force at his disposal is still insufficient to control the people against their will. Knowing this, why would he go to the trouble, and subject himself to the risk, of attempting such a scheme when it is doomed to failure? Throughout our history, the only times the U.S. Government has been able to carry out tyrannical acts have been when it had the support of the majority of the people. Also, historically, disarmament of their victims is often one of the first courses of action taken by tyrants. Hitler and Stalin, while evil and most likely insane, were not stupid. They both knew that they had to strip their people of their rights (including the right to arms) to ensure that their despotism could not be opposed, and thus the removal of the people's rights was one of the first courses of action taken by both tyrants.
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Old March 1, 2009, 05:10 PM   #71
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The fact that Hitler and Stalin believed it was necessary to disarm the populace doesn't prove that it was, any more than the fact that some people believed it is necessary to not disarm the populace proves that it is. It's quite possible that, if Hitler and Stalin had let the people keep their guns, it wouldn't have made any significant difference to their hold on power.
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Old March 1, 2009, 05:46 PM   #72
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Originally Posted by Kleinzeit
It's quite possible that, if Hitler and Stalin had let the people keep their guns, it wouldn't have made any significant difference to their hold on power.
Actually, that is not a bad point. The German and Russian citizens had already had virtually all their rights removed so that having guns was probably superflous. You would have a hard time convincing me that Jews having guns in Germany when Hitler took power would have stopped the holocaust.
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Old March 1, 2009, 06:55 PM   #73
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OK then.

After reviewing the OP of both the threads (see my closing remarks here), I've been able to determine that the militia discourse more accurately matches this thread than the other one.

The other thread will remain closed for going off topic.
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Old March 1, 2009, 07:45 PM   #74
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Originally posted by Tennessee Gentleman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Webleymkv
Sounds to me like the founders knew right from the beginning that Switzerland-style mandatory militia service would not work. Yet the Second Amendment was still included in the Constitution and Hamilton made the earlier comments that I posted in the very same document as his admission that mandatory militia service was not feasable.

Really? Is that why in 1792 an Act of Congress was passed that said:


Quote:
That each and every free able-bodied white male citizen of the respective States, resident therein, who is or shall be of age of eighteen years, and under the age of forty-five years shall severally and respectively be enrolled in the militia,

Anyway, other than your affection for him, why should John Hamilton be the sole arbiter of our discussion? I bet John had no trouble with not allowing women to vote either. Doesn't make him right today.
First of all, it is Alexander Hamilton I am quoting. The reason that I choose to quote Hamilton and not the other founders is that he seems to have the clearest explanations for the purpose of the issue at hand. If you know of others, I would be quite interested to read them (note, this is not a challenge to your argument but rather a request to satisfy my own thirst for knowledge on the subject).

Secondly, whether he is right today or not (that's a separate issue), he gives the most clearly stated purpose for 2A at the time it was written. If you wish to debate wheter or not that purpose is still valid, that's a separate issue which is composed mainly of opinion. Such a debate would likely generate more heat than light.

Thirdly, the only aspects of the Militia Acts of 1792 that have been abandoned are the semi-annual requirement to report for active milita duty and the requirement to provide one's own arms. However, it should be noted that two separate types of militia were commonly recognized: the Volunteer Militia and the Conscripted Militia. The Volunteer Militia took part in much more extensive training and drills than the Conscripted Militia were required to and the Volunteer Militia was not abandoned. The Volunteer and Conscripted Militia were defined by the Militia Act of 1903 as the Organized Militia (our present-day national guard) and the Unorganized Militia (all male citizens aged 18-45 who are not members of the National Guard or other branches of the Military).

It should be pointed out that even when the abandoned requirements of the Militia Act of 1792 were in effect, the Conscripted/Unorganized Militia was not subject to requirements nearly as demanding as that of the Volunteer/Organized Militia or our present National Guard.

Regardless of your obvious disdain for the abilites and/or usefulness of the Unorganized Militia, the fact remains that it does still exist as citizens who meet the criteria for membership in it are still subject to military conscription should the need arise. While the government has always been able to provide arms to the Unorganized Militia upon their conscription into the regular military, there is no guarantee that it will be able to do this in every possible crisis. Likewise, the right of the Unorganized Militia to own and become familiar with arms makes them both more effective and useful should they be needed.

Originally posted by Tennessee Gentleman
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Originally Posted by Webleymkv
The argument that lack of use necessarily equates to obsolescence has far too many problems and exceptions to be valid.

I am not arguing that it is obsolete because it isn't used, I argue it is obsolete because it does not exist and has been replaced by other institutions. Like the US Navy replaced Privateers and Letters of Marque and Reprisal.
They have not been replaced. Unlike the other institutions you point out, an armed citizenry is still in existance, it simply has not been necessary to use them.

Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Webleymkv
You still are unable to support your claim that the oath alone would prevent the military from carrying out illegal orders (it hasn't always done so in the past).

You are still spinning and must be dizzy by now. I have said that the Oath of Office all Military personnel take would prevent a rogue President form overthrowing the other two branches of government that you said could happen. A rogue President could not accomplish that feat as the military does not answer to the President alone.
You assume that every single soldier always has and always will take that oath seriously and there is not guarantee of that. The President also takes an oath to preserve and defend the Constitution, but there's no doubt that several of our Presidents have ignored it. What is to prevent a rogue president from convincing the military that his orders are legal, or from seducing them into ignoring the legality of his orders through promises of reward in his new regime. While I concede that such a situation is highly unlikely, improbability does not equate with impossibility. While I have great respect for our military personnel, at the end of the day they are still just people and are subject to the same weaknesses and temptations as the rest of us. I find it rather naive to assume that an oath, in and of itself, will prevent anything under every possible circumstnce as oaths are broken or misinterpreted all the time.

Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Webleymkv
COTUS cannot prevent anything if the would-be tyrant has no respect for the law and the means to carry out his wishes in spite of COTUS.

Again I say that unless the tyrant had a force outside and apart from the military (such as a private army) he could not have such means.
This argument is only valid if one assumes that the military cannot be convinced to follow illegal orders, a notion that I find illogical.

Quote:
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Originally Posted by Webleymkv
I've answered that question numerous times, you simply continue to modify and qualify it because you don't like my answers but are unable to refute them. This is a game that I refuse to play.

Webley, lets be frank, you have not answered the question. The issue we are debating was whether an armed citizenry or democratic institutions protected us from tyranny. Admittedly I did not word the challenge carefully and the only example you gave was the Revolutionary War. Then I qualified the question and you have not answered to date.
In post #24, you said

Originally posted by Tennessee Gentleman
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Can you show any instance in history where an armed population keep a leader from doing something tryannical.
I replied with the following in post #27

Originally posted by Webleymkv
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As far as an instance of an armed population throwing off a tyrannical government, what do you call the American Revolution? An armed population rose up and threw off a tyrannical government. While the outcomes weren't as favorable as the American Revolution, the French Revolution and Bolshevik Revolutions are also examples of an armed population throwing off a tyrannical government (in those cases monarchies). The reasons that the French and Bolshevik revolutions did not have as favorable outcomes as our own is that nothing like the constitution was put in place afterwards to keep the new government from becoming tyrannical.
You apparently did not like that answer, as you felt a need to re-phrase the question in post #39

Originally posted by Tennessee Gentleman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Webleymkv
As far as an instance of an armed population throwing off a tyrannical government, what do you call the American Revolution?

I should have said after the Revolutionary War. Caught me there but still no good. Why? Because we in America had no part of that system in 1776. No representation, no free press, no right to trial by jury, no free speech. Revolution in that case, and in some other similar ones in history, was the only option because there were no other means of redress.
Not only did you try to qualify out my example of the Revolutionary War, you completely ignore my examples in foreign countries. Now, while the examples I quoted did eventually devolve back into tyranny, they were nonetheless examples of armed populations rising up and overthrowing tyrannical governments and the reasons they devolved back into tyranny were explained.

So, yes I did answer your question. I simply refused to participate in your attempt to qualify away the validity of my answer. However, I will address your question one final time. Many of the colonists did indeed enjoy the right to free speech, free press, and other right that we enjoy today under the governments of their individual colonies and some of those rights, though certainly not all, under British law. So long as the British government left those rights unmolested, it was not viewed as tyrannical over the colonies. It was only after these rights were taken away that the British government was viewed as tyrannical. When this happened, the colonists attemted to use the means afforded to them by British law to rectify the situation, but the British government refused to comply. Only after every other option had been exhausted (not because of a lack of options) did the colonies revolt. While it is true that the governmental system in effect them was not exactly the same as that we have today (very few national governments fuction in exactly the same manner), they are not so dissimilar as to make the comparison invalid. Honestly, a request for another people throwing off a tyrannical government that operated in exactly the same manner that our own does is a loaded question as there is no other government, nor has there ever been, that operates in the exact same manner as our own. However, comparison of events in two similar, though not identical, governments is still valid as the same events have occured in very similar fashions with governments whose operation, and even culture, is more dissimilar that our own and 1770's Great Britain.

Originally posted by Tennessee Gentleman
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Quote:
whether an armed citizenry or democratic institutions protect us from tyranny.

Since during the reign of Britain over us as a colony there were no democratic institutions in place to protect or even acknowledge our rights as people the only option left to us was war. So, using the Revolutionary War as your example won't work because only half (armed citizenry) of the equation was in play.
There was a democracy in England (Parliment) and that government infringed upon the rights of British citizens (the colonists) who attempted to use the legal means of redress available to them. It was only when these legal means, and thusly the democratic institutions of Great Britain, failed that there was no other option but armed rebellion.

Originally posted by Tennessee Gentleman
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I concede that if there is no political way to gain freedom or prevent tyranny force of arms may be the only way (apologies to Gandhi) but that is not what we face in the question I posed.
Then we are in agreement. The heart of my argument is that the Second Amendment is in place to combat tyranny through armed resistance if and only if our democratic institutions fail and thusly leave us no legal or political means to do so.

Originally posted by Tennessee Gentleman
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On the other hand I have shown in each example of government abuse since our government was formed that in every case, the democratic institutions we have either prevented of reversed the abuse.

I now state you cannot show that an armed citizenry has ever in the history of our republic prevented or reversed an abuse by the government. You may believe it (or want it) to be true as you claim John Hamilton did, but have nothing to support that belief. I have shown the efficacy of our democratic system to right those wrongs.
No, armed citizenry has not ever combated or prevented government tyranny since the Revolution because our other democratic institutions were still in effect. However, I still maintain that part of the founder's purpose for including the Second Amendment in the BOR is to ensure that the people have the means to combat tyranny through armed resistance should our other democratic institutions fail and no longer be able to. Now, if you choose to believe that these institutions could never fail or be removed without the consent of the people, that is your right. While I find that position naive, you are obviously entrenched in it and no argument I make will sway you from it. However, I think we can agree that such confidence, whether misplaced or not, was not present at the time the Constitution was drafted and that, at least at the time, the necessity of armed resistance to tyranny was still a very real possibility. Thusly, a guarantee of the right to arms was a guarantee of the ability to mount an armed resistance, at least at the time the Constitution was drafted. I maintain my position that while its necessity may be less likely, the concern is no less valid now than it was when the Constitution was drafted.

Originally posted by Kleinziet
Quote:
The fact that Hitler and Stalin believed it was necessary to disarm the populace doesn't prove that it was, any more than the fact that some people believed it is necessary to not disarm the populace proves that it is. It's quite possible that, if Hitler and Stalin had let the people keep their guns, it wouldn't have made any significant difference to their hold on power.
It does however show that both Hitler and Stalin feared the reaction of an armed population to their acts of tyranny. While fear of the people in and of itself may not prevent tyranny, it would seem to be useful in, if nothing else, making the tyrant more hesitant to commit his tyrannical acts. To borrow a line from one of my favorite films "People should not be afraid of their government, governments should be afraid of their people."
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Old March 1, 2009, 08:34 PM   #75
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Webleymkv
First of all, it is Alexander Hamilton I am quoting.
Well, who the hell was John? Oh, I think he was an old Army pal

Quote:
Originally Posted by Webleymkv
Regardless of your obvious disdain for the abilites and/or usefulness of the Unorganized Militia, the fact remains that it does still exist as citizens who meet the criteria for membership in it are still subject to military conscription should the need arise.
Not disdain, just a proper understanding of it.

Here's a good quote about it.
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The term "unorganized" did not begin to emerge until the 1830s and 1840s, when a massive wave of opposition destroyed the compulsory militia system. Nobody wanted to serve in the militia. State governors and legislators wanted to be able to accommodate this desire, but they were bound by the 1792 Uniform Militia Act, which stated that every white male aged 18-45 would be in the militia.
However, the 1792 Uniform Militia Act explicitly allowed the states to determine who was exempt from militia service. So states divided their militias into two sections, the "organized" militia and the "unorganized" militia. In this way, the letter, though not the spirit, of the 1792 law could be complied with. However, only the "organized" militia would have responsibilities. These people would be volunteers, people who actually wanted to perform militia service; they gradually evolved into the National Guard. These people would have uniforms, guns, and would drill, review and encamp.

The other people were the people who did NOT want to be in the militia. Accordingly, members of the "unorganized" militia were NOT supposed to perform any duty or carry any weapons or have any responsibilities. All that would remain was the nominal authority of the state over them for military manpower purposes. This group of people had no militia responsibilities at all (in some areas they had to register, like for the draft today). In this way states could flaunt the spirit of the 1792 Uniform Militia Act, while nominally keeping to the letter of it.

The term "unorganized militia" was kept in use in subsequent decades as a statutory "reminder" that the state could still obligate its citizens to perform military duty, should it ever want them to. Eventually, U.S. law in the early twentieth century picked up this same usage for the same reason: by creating the "unorganized militia," the United States could guarantee usage of this manpower for military purposes, should the (remote) need ever arise.

But being in the "unorganized militia" conveys to you no rights, only the possibility of responsibilities. All it means is that you belong to that class of the militia which has no responsibilities. Being in the militia allows you to do not a single thing, because only the state and federal governments can create (working together) active militia systems. To date, their interest in doing so has largely concentrated on the National Guard.

Again, let me emphasize that there is not a single right guaranteed to you by virtue of your being in the unorganized militia.
So as you see, the unorganized militia really has no relation to the "Well-Regulated Militia" of the 2A. It is nothing more than a statutory construct.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Webleymkv
Unlike the other institutions you point out, an armed citizenry is still in existance, it simply has not been necessary to use them.
But the militia is not in existence.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Webleymkv
You apparently did not like that answer, as you felt a need to re-phrase the question in post #39
Yes I admitted earlier I did not frame the question well to the issue and based on that I rephrased it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Webleymkv
Not only did you try to qualify out my example of the Revolutionary War, you completely ignore my examples in foreign countries.
Because neither foreign countries nor the Revolutionary War were relevant to the rephrased question.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Webelymkv
Many of the colonists did indeed enjoy the right to free speech, free press, and other right that we enjoy today under the governments of their individual colonies and some of those rights, though certainly not all, under British law.
Not really. There were no safeguards in place as we later put in the Constitution and the Colonies had no representation in Parliament.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Webleymkv
No, armed citizenry has not ever combated or prevented government tyranny since the Revolution because our other democratic institutions were still in effect.
Whew! At last! I agree!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Webleymkv
Now, if you choose to believe that these institutions could never fail or be removed without the consent of the people, that is your right. While I find that position naive,you are obviously entrenched in it and no argument I make will sway you from it.
Here I think we have the heart of our disagreement. I am betting the COTUS will succeed and you are betting it will fail. So far after 200 plus years and through some trying times that bet is one I am winning. I think the majority of the American People are betting on the COTUS too. However, we could be naive as you suggest but as Glenn Meyer has stated before your bet ain't playing in Peoria. I would also say that if COUTUS completely fails, the armed citizenry will not accomplish much if anything to restore it (nor will they have prevented it) and as I have quoted the Russians before: The living will envy the dead.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Webleymkv
However, I think we can agree that such confidence, whether misplaced or not, was not present at the time the Constitution was drafted and that, at least at the time, the necessity of armed resistance to tyranny was still a very real possibility. Thusly, a guarantee of the right to arms was a guarantee of the ability to mount an armed resistance, at least at the time the Constitution was drafted.
Close but not quite. Since at that time the militia and the armed citizenry were virtually synonymous and the Founding Fathers feared a large Standing Army the 2A allowed the States to arm their militias so it can safely be generalized that most people thought that militias would not stand to be controlled by the federal government if that body were to begin acting oppressively.
Most historians agree that at least part of the meaning of the Second Amendment was that it specifically guarantees the the right of states to ensure the arming of their militias in the face of fears that the federal government might effectively deny to arms to a state controlled militia. However, those fears never came true. So, yes the Founding Fathers feared tyranny but it was through the militia that they sought protection.

The problem comes in when you try to relate that to today when we have no militia and we do have a large standing army. Let me throw another modernistic monkey wrench in your idea. I think a tyrant today wouldn'teven try to use the military to try and control us. Too messy and there are many other ways to do that without firing a shot. So, don't get too cousy with your AR-15 at home. Might not do you any good.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Webleymkv
While I have great respect for our military personnel, at the end of the day they are still just people and are subject to the same weaknesses and temptations as the rest of us. I find it rather naive to assume that an oath, in and of itself, will prevent anything as oaths are broken all the time.
I am assuming you have never served and the only difference that makes would be in your understanding of our culture and how we view integrity. No matter, the leaders who serve in the US Military are not idiots who can in large numbers be seduced by some charming President to overthrow the rest of the government. Quite frankly, as a career Army officer whenever I read about us violating our oaths wholesale it is somewhat offensive but I understand some may not understand. As far as the oath, in and of itself, doing something. I will tell you I was ready for 21 years to lay my life down for it and even more what it stood for. I safely feel that idea is represented by the vast majority of those I knew and served with. I did not take it lightly and so responded to your scenario in post #52 which I felt was too far-fetched to really be discussed.
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