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Old October 4, 2012, 08:34 AM   #96
Hugh Damright
Senior Member
Join Date: June 5, 2004
Posts: 611
Any idea of when and where British troops were stationed in Virginia before the war started? It doesn't really have any bearing on the 2nd amendment, which didn't happen for another eight years.
I don't know where troops were stationed ... I think they were throughout the States ... but the French/Indian War was over and most States no longer needed them. It appears to me to have a bearing on the Second Amendment, being part of the history of such declarations. The July, 1775 issue of Gentleman's Magazine reported:

"In Virginia at a meeting of the delegates of the colony, it has been unanimously resolved that a well-regulated militia, composed of gentlemen and yeomen is the natural strength and only security of a free government, and that the establishment of such a militia is at this time particularly necessary, and that a plan for arming, embodying and disciplining such a number of men as may be sufficient for that purpose should be immediately carried into execution."

In 1776 Virginia adopted a Declaration of Rights which included an Article declaring "That a well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defense of a free state; that standing armies, in time of peace, should be avoided as dangerous to liberty; and that, in all cases, the military should be under strict subordination to, and be governed by, the civil power."

In 1788 Virginia ratified the US Constitution, while requesting amendments and a bill of rights with an article which read "That the people have a right to keep and bear arms; that a well regulated Militia composed of the body of the people trained to arms is the proper, natural and safe defence of a free State. That standing armies in time of peace are dangerous to liberty, and therefore ought to be avoided, as far as the circumstances and protection of the Community will admit; and that in all cases the military should be under strict subordination to and governed by the Civil power."

And in 1791 the US Bill of Rights became effective, the Second Amendment declaring that "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."

We might also consider Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England (1765) explaining that "To prevent the executive power from being able to oppress, says baron Montesquieu, it is requisite that the armies with which it is entrusted should consist of the people, and have the same spirit with the people; as was the case at Rome, till Marius new-modelled the legions by enlisting the rabble of Italy, and laid the foundation of all the military tyranny that ensued. Nothing then, according to these principles, ought to be more guarded against in a free state, than making the military power, when such a one is necessary to be kept on foot, a body too distinct from the people."
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