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Old November 9, 2013, 11:13 PM   #1
RHLee
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A historical perspective on the Second Amendment

It never hurts to take a look at the mindset and historical background of our Founding Fathers when they included the Second Amendment in our Bill of Rights.

I think this article might be of interest to many in that regard:

http://www.whatwouldthomasjeffersondo.com/?p=63
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Old November 10, 2013, 08:33 AM   #2
Double Naught Spy
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It is a nice, romantic perspective, but hardly accurate. Things sounds good when you leave out the bad parts.
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Old November 10, 2013, 09:01 AM   #3
g.willikers
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Well....
If there are bad parts about remaining armed to reject tyranny, what are they?
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Old November 10, 2013, 11:59 AM   #4
Frank Ettin
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Thank you, but I prefer well documented historical analysis from established and known scholars over anonymous, unsupported, undocumented opinion. I don't consider that the latter gives me any historical background or insight into mindset worth paying attention to.

While we might like the sentiments expressed, without solid documentation the article is nothing but naked opinion and can not be read as telling us anything about the historical background and mindset of the Founding Fathers with regard to the Second Amendment or anything else.
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Old November 10, 2013, 01:18 PM   #5
Tom Servo
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There are problems with this from the very beginning:

Quote:
The Founding Fathers had just survived – somewhat miraculously! – nearly ten years of war against the oppressive, tyrannical government of Great Britain’s King George III. Firearms in the hands of American patriots had been essential in that struggle. Surely had private citizens in the British colonies not been allowed to own guns, the American Revolution would have never been born.
First off, the war was 8 years, not 10. Second, it wasn't a miracle. We had good strategy and foreign support. Third, anything claiming to be history doesn't need statements that begin with "surely" and provide no citation or proof.
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Old November 10, 2013, 04:16 PM   #6
g.willikers
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Miracles??
The escape of the Americans from Long Island, after the failed attempt on New York, was greatly helped by an unexpected turn of the weather.
The American attack on the Hessians in Trenton was assisted by another help from Mother Nature.
Clever use of suddenly favorable weather conditions or .......?
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Old November 10, 2013, 09:22 PM   #7
Double Naught Spy
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Quote:
Well....
If there are bad parts about remaining armed to reject tyranny, what are they?
Oh, you mean how the likes of Thomas Jefferson and many of the other white male landowning founding fathers used firearms as a means of controlling their slaves? That position of power made them tyrants as well. They just thought their form was proper and acceptable. How ironic, huh?

Guns were for rejecting tyranny and for enforcing it all at the same time.
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Old November 10, 2013, 10:56 PM   #8
Buzzcook
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Jefferson is, imho, a quote machine that is more often abused than any other founder.
http://www.monticello.org/site/resea...son-quotations

http://guides.lib.virginia.edu/TJ

You can find Jefferson saying things that support just about any position.

Jefferson was a politician and as such had to appeal to many different factions.

He was as guilty of partisanship as any pol in that what was wrong for the opposition was OK for Jefferson. Jefferson was against the power of centralized government till he got control of it.
The 1807 Embargo Act gave Jefferson huge amounts of power and he enforced it ruthlessly.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embargo_Act_of_1807

I can not recommend these books strongly enough.
http://www.amazon.com/Peoples-Histor.../dp/B000715OGW

I'm probably as guilty of quote mining the founders as anyone. It's just too tempting. In spite of that I oppose originalism, either understanding or intent, or whatever dress it wears.
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Old November 11, 2013, 07:29 PM   #9
RHLee
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First let me say that I am quite gratified that so many of you took the time to glance at the article, though apparently most weren't overly impressed.

I would like to make a few short comments in response.

@Double Naught - I was addressing why the right to keep and bear arms was in the constitution, not the relative merits of slavery. What other "bad parts" there are in remaining armed to fight tyranny I'm not sure you're talking about.

@Frank Ettin & Tom Servo - Sorry, didn't know that a citation of credentials was necessary in expressing an opinion which relies mostly on logic. I, as one of the co-authors, do have both a BA and MA in (jointly) Political Science (forcus: US Government) and History (focus: US History) and have taught at both the university and junior college level in California over my career, though I am not currently teaching.

The other co-author is a columnist for a conservative thinktank and political advocate conglomeration of three associated websites who's posted some 16 articles for his organization's sites over the past calendar quarter. He joined me in writing the article under my name because he's 'encouraged' to not write under his own name for other sources than his employer.

But enough of that.

The article wasn't arguing a case in court, it was pointing out some facts, most of which we believe to be self-evident and not in need of footnotes.

1 - Mr. Servo: "nearly 10 years" is what we said - isn't 8 years nearly 10?

2 - For a fledgling band of American Patriots to defeat one of the more powerful nations on earth was NOT somewhat miraculous? Does anyone dispute that Great Britain was one of the most powerful nations on earth in 1776? - Did I need footnotes to document that?

3 - Do any of you dispute that George III's government was oppressive and tyrannical? - Isn't that what the Declaration of Independence suggests? Did I need to footnote that?

4 - The article says that if private citizens had not been allowed to own firearms the American Revolution would not have been born? Does anyone think that if firearm ownership had been banned, the colonists would have risen up with bows & arrows and spears? I don't think such an idea needs a footnote, do you?

5 - I plead guilty! My statement that the new American leaders wanted to ensure that the right to bear arms was guaranteed for posterity to prevent tyranny should have been footnoted. For an introduction to the opinion please refer to the article by Professor Volokh of the Law School at UCLA at http://www2.law.ucla.edu/volokh/2amteach/SOURCES.HTM and scroll down to article II.

Briefly it documents that five states, Virginia, New York, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Rhode Island all made demands of the Constitutional Congress to include the right of the people to keep and bear arms in a Bill of Rights to be appended to the Constitution. All five also specifically stated that "the right of the people to keep and bear arms" is "essential to the natural defense of a free state". Note also that the 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution does specify "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."

6 - In the ensuing paragraphs the article mentions that for many years men had owned firearms for hunting, that hunting for game for the table was a part of life, and suggests that no one in 1789 would have put an Amendment into the Constitution to ensure that such a practice would continue. Is this not common sense?

We made the same point about owning firearms for self-defense. There was no ACLU, no Gun Control Posse that felt firearms were immoral or too dangerous. Is it not common sense to presume that no such right should be enshrined in the Constitution?

Lastly on these two points - do any of the demands from the aforementioned states or the text of the US 2nd Amendment mention preserving the right to keep and bear arms so that people could hunt for food or defend their homes? No, they do not. They all mention the security of a free state, or a similar phrase.

At any rate, all are of course most welcome to their opinions and no writer ever expects a global outpouring of positive response to anything that one puts forth.

Perhaps I have responded to some extent in a way that ameliorates the negative responses of some of you, while acknowledging that I could have been more specific in anticipating your concerns.

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Old November 11, 2013, 08:22 PM   #10
Frank Ettin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RHLee
...@Frank Ettin & Tom Servo - Sorry, didn't know that a citation of credentials was necessary in expressing an opinion which relies mostly on logic...
Sorry, logic relies on accurate data. Logic is a process for examining data and forming conclusions based on that examination of data. For those conclusions to be meaningful, both the data must be correct and complete and the process must be sound.

From Merriam-Webster Online:
Quote:
  1. Logic: 1. a (1) : a science that deals with the principles and criteria of validity of inference* and demonstration : the science of the formal principles of reasoning….

  2. Analysis: 1.: separation of a whole into its component parts…
    2…
    3...
    4 a : an examination of a complex, its elements, and their relations b : a statement of such an analysis...
    5 a : a method in philosophy of resolving complex expressions into simpler or more basic ones
    b : clarification of an expression by an elucidation of its use in discourse…
  3. Interpretation: 1: the act or the result of interpreting : explanation…
    2: a particular adaptation or version of a work, method, or style...
    3: a teaching technique that combines factual with stimulating explanatory information…
    _____


    *Inference: 1: the act or process of inferring (see infer): as
    a : the act of passing from one proposition, statement, or judgment considered as true to another whose truth is believed to follow from that of the former
    b : the act of passing from statistical sample data to generalizations (as of the value of population parameters) usually with calculated degrees of certainty
    2 : something that is inferred; especially : a conclusion or opinion that is formed because of known facts or evidence

    3 : the premises and conclusion of a process of inferring...
You failed to identify the data upon which you were basing your conclusionary statements. To claim the support of logic, you must show the data upon which your conclusions are based and establish the validity of that data.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RHLee
...I, as one of the co-authors, do have both a BA and MA in (jointly) Political Science (forcus: US Government) and History (focus: US History) and have taught at both the university and junior college level in California over my career,...
Then I would have expected considerably more rigor.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RHLee
...it was pointing out some facts, most of which we believe to be self-evident and not in need of footnotes...
Fact are not self evident. They may be generally accepted, but even then they can be wrong. It was once a generally accepted fact that a heavier metal ball would hit the ground before a lighter one when dropped from the same height. Galileo proved that fact was not true.

If you want to write an essay laying out your opinions, beliefs and value judgments, that's fine. That is an accepted literary form. But be clear to both yourself and your audience what you're doing. Don't bill such an essay as "a look at the mindset and historical background of our Founding Fathers", because it is not.
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