The Origin and Meaning of the Second Amendment  

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

James Madison is known both as the Father of the Constitution and the Father of the Bill of Rights. As such, he is as much the Father of his Country as Washington himself.

We have of late heard more from the Left, particularly from an old troll who returned to the RWRepublic recently to call the mere mention, albeit in a completely peaceful context, of someone taking up arms against his Lord and Savior, Barack Obambi a "threat". Never mind the fact that the entire purpose of the Second Amendment is to protect the people's right to take up arms against those who would oppress them. Their words amount to actual threats of actions reminiscient of Hitler's Gestapo. For exercising the God-given and Constitutionally protected right to free speech, the RWRepublic was ordered by this troll to "change your wording or get a visit from the FBI". This is precisely the tactic that was used in Nazi Germany. Once again, the Left has shown its hand. Their penchant for calling conservatives "Nazis" has been, as I documented seven years ago, mere projection.

This is precisely why the Second Amendment is part of the Constitution: to offer citizens a means of standing up to thugs who would infringe upon the other rights guaranteed by the same. Here is the proof:

Given Madison's influence on both the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, his words should stand as the highest level of proof of his intentions and of the Founders. The following quote is from Federalist 46, which was published on January 29, 1788. At the time, the Constitution had been submitted to the States (with no Bill of Rights), and was being considered for ratification:

The only refuge left for those who prophesy the downfall of the State governments is the visionary supposition that the federal government may previously accumulate a military force for the projects of ambition. The reasonings contained in these papers must have been employed to little purpose indeed, if it could be necessary now to disprove the reality of this danger. That the people and the States should, for a sufficient period of time, elect an uninterupted succession of men ready to betray both; that the traitors should, throughout this period, uniformly and systematically pursue some fixed plan for the extension of the military establishment; that the governments and the people of the States should silently and patiently behold the gathering storm, and continue to supply the materials, until it should be prepared to burst on their own heads, must appear to every one more like the incoherent dreams of a delirious jealousy, or the misjudged exaggerations of a counterfeit zeal, than like the sober apprehensions of genuine patriotism. Extravagant as the supposition is, let it however be made. Let a regular army, fully equal to the resources of the country, be formed; and let it be entirely at the devotion of the federal government; still it would not be going too far to say, that the State governments, with the people on their side, would be able to repel the danger. The highest number to which, according to the best computation, a standing army can be carried in any country, does not exceed one hundredth part of the whole number of souls; or one twenty-fifth part of the number able to bear arms. This proportion would not yield, in the United States, an army of more than twenty-five or thirty thousand men. To these would be opposed a militia amounting to near half a million of citizens with arms in their hands, officered by men chosen from among themselves, fighting for their common liberties, and united and conducted by governments possessing their affections and confidence. It may well be doubted, whether a militia thus circumstanced could ever be conquered by such a proportion of regular troops. Those who are best acquainted with the last successful resistance of this country against the British arms, will be most inclined to deny the possibility of it. Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached, and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of. Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms. And it is not certain, that with this aid alone they would not be able to shake off their yokes. But were the people to possess the additional advantages of local governments chosen by themselves, who could collect the national will and direct the national force, and of officers appointed out of the militia, by these governments, and attached both to them and to the militia, it may be affirmed with the greatest assurance, that the throne of every tyranny in Europe would be speedily overturned in spite of the legions which surround it. Let us not insult the free and gallant citizens of America with the suspicion, that they would be less able to defend the rights of which they would be in actual possession, than the debased subjects of arbitrary power would be to rescue theirs from the hands of their oppressors. Let us rather no longer insult them with the supposition that they can ever reduce themselves to the necessity of making the experiment, by a blind and tame submission to the long train of insidious measures which must precede and produce it.

The argument under the present head may be put into a very concise form, which appears altogether conclusive. Either the mode in which the federal government is to be constructed will render it sufficiently dependent on the people, or it will not. On the first supposition, it will be restrained by that dependence from forming schemes obnoxious to their constituents. On the other supposition, it will not possess the confidence of the people, and its schemes of usurpation will be easily defeated by the State governments, who will be supported by the people.

On summing up the considerations stated in this and the last paper, they seem to amount to the most convincing evidence, that the powers proposed to be lodged in the federal government are as little formidable to those reserved to the individual States, as they are indispensably necessary to accomplish the purposes of the Union; and that all those alarms which have been sounded, of a meditated and consequential annihilation of the State governments, must, on the most favorable interpretation, be ascribed to the chimerical fears of the authors of them.

- James Madison, Federalist 46

Madison clearly saw an armed populace protecting its own rights from government intrusion. Government is supposed to live in fear of the people. Government is supposed to feel threatened. Not only by the people themselves, but by militias that are supposed to exist in the States. It is the right of the people to "rescue [their rights and power] from the hands of their oppressors." This is the consideration that led Madison in his thinking when drafting the Bill of Rights

It is important to note that under the structure required by the Constitution, neither the President nor the federal government as a whole are very powerful. In any case of usurpation of authority or power, such usurpation would be "easily defeated by the State governments". Madison called the Anti-Federalist fear that the State governments would be annihilated by Washington "chimerical", but today it is a reality. The 16th and 17th Amendments were designed specifically for the purpose of increasing government power to keep the States and People at bay and to set the stage for further usurpations. Hindsight being 20/20, it's easy to see today how these power grabs were a huge mistake, but the only reason I can see that it could have been overlooked is sheer desperation coupled with excessive trust in the power grabber. Our desperate times today call for the sobriety that was lacking during the 20th Century Depression. Allowing government to intrude today in the way that was allowed nearly a hundred years ago would be freedom suicide.

It's bad enough that the God-given rights of Americans have been eroded to this point. To threaten the People for talking about exercising them is not only an insult, but a crime in itself.