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Fri Dec 21, 2012, 01:03 AM

The Real and Racist Origins of the Second Amendment

Why does the US Constitution guarantee a right “to keep and bear arms”? Why not the right to vote, the right to a quality education, health care, a clean environment or a job? What was so important in early America about the right of citizens to have guns? And is it even possible to have an honest discussion about gun control without acknowledging the racist origins of the Second Amendment?

The dominant trend among legal scholars, and on the current Supreme Court is that we are bound by the original intent of the Constitution's authors. Here's what the second amendment to the Constitution says: “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.” Clearly its authors aimed to guarantee the right to a gun for every free white man in their new country. What's no longer evident 230 years later, is why. The answer, advanced by historian Edmund Morgan in his classic work, American Slavery, American Freedom, the Ordeal of Colonial Virginia, sheds useful light on the historic and current politics and self-image of our nation.

Colonial America and the early US was a very unequal place. All the good, cleared, level agricultural land with easy access to transport was owned by a very few, very wealthy white men. Many poor whites were brought over as indentured servants, but having completed their periods of forced labor, allowing them to hang around the towns and cities landless and unemployed was dangerous to the social order. So they were given guns and credit, and sent inland to make their own fortunes, encroaching upon the orchards, farms and hunting grounds of Native Americans, who had little or no access to firearms. The law, of course did not penalize white men who robbed, raped or killed Indians. At regular intervals, colonial governors and local US officials would muster the free armed white men as militia, and dispatch them in murderous punitive raids to make the frontier safer for settlers and land speculators.

http://www.blackagendareport.com/content/american-history-black-history-and-right-bear-arms

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Arrow 62 replies Author Time Post
Reply The Real and Racist Origins of the Second Amendment (Original post)
HoosierRadical Dec 2012 OP
Lionessa Dec 2012 #1
iemitsu Dec 2012 #2
BainsBane Dec 2012 #7
Lionessa Dec 2012 #12
Spider Jerusalem Dec 2012 #21
iemitsu Dec 2012 #54
Recursion Dec 2012 #26
Lionessa Dec 2012 #14
tama Dec 2012 #33
Democracyinkind Dec 2012 #51
iemitsu Dec 2012 #55
Honeycombe8 Dec 2012 #60
Honeycombe8 Dec 2012 #59
CreekDog Dec 2012 #4
Lionessa Dec 2012 #13
BainsBane Dec 2012 #36
CreekDog Dec 2012 #47
iemitsu Dec 2012 #56
ecstatic Dec 2012 #62
treestar Dec 2012 #27
AnotherMcIntosh Dec 2012 #29
obamanut2012 Dec 2012 #32
AnotherMcIntosh Dec 2012 #38
obamanut2012 Dec 2012 #39
tama Dec 2012 #40
gollygee Dec 2012 #37
ismnotwasm Dec 2012 #41
friendly_iconoclast Dec 2012 #3
BainsBane Dec 2012 #8
friendly_iconoclast Dec 2012 #9
BainsBane Dec 2012 #11
friendly_iconoclast Dec 2012 #46
BainsBane Dec 2012 #50
friendly_iconoclast Dec 2012 #52
BainsBane Dec 2012 #53
CTyankee Dec 2012 #5
HoosierRadical Dec 2012 #10
BainsBane Dec 2012 #17
CTyankee Dec 2012 #20
BainsBane Dec 2012 #24
HoosierRadical Dec 2012 #25
BainsBane Dec 2012 #34
CTyankee Dec 2012 #19
BainsBane Dec 2012 #35
BainsBane Dec 2012 #6
bhikkhu Dec 2012 #31
BainsBane Dec 2012 #42
bhikkhu Dec 2012 #57
BainsBane Dec 2012 #58
villager Dec 2012 #15
hack89 Dec 2012 #22
villager Dec 2012 #43
hack89 Dec 2012 #44
villager Dec 2012 #48
hack89 Dec 2012 #49
tblue Dec 2012 #16
BainsBane Dec 2012 #18
jmg257 Dec 2012 #23
tama Dec 2012 #61
treestar Dec 2012 #28
jmg257 Dec 2012 #30
CTyankee Dec 2012 #45

Response to HoosierRadical (Original post)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 01:30 AM

1. Native Americans are caucasian, so the argument falls flat. Perhaps

 

a better word would be bigotry, but even at that I'd say it was wrong. The concept is right, we clearly wanted European immigrants to steal the land and resources, but that is entirely regardless of the color of the skin of the Native Americans. Had Native Americans been whiter than those early colonialists, we'd still have stolen, raped, and pillaged.

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Response to Lionessa (Reply #1)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 02:02 AM

2. Why do you say that Native Americans are Caucasian?

I'm a bit confused by this.

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Response to iemitsu (Reply #2)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 02:10 AM

7. She doesn't nt.

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Response to iemitsu (Reply #2)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 03:15 AM

12. The same way Latinos are caucasian.

 

Sorry you are confused, but caucasian covers a lot of folks.

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Response to Lionessa (Reply #12)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 09:29 AM

21. Latinos aren't Caucasian either.

Spaniards and Portuguese are Caucasian; Mexicans and Bolivians and Peruvians and Brazilians are not. They are mostly Amerindian, or mestizo (in the case of Mexicans and South Americans), or mixed-race European white, Amerindian and black (in the case of Brazilians).

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Response to Spider Jerusalem (Reply #21)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 05:33 PM

54. This is my understanding too.

Though I accept the notion that our perception of race is a human construct, as we are clearly all one species, if one is to make "racial" distinctions then Native American (indigenous) peoples are not Caucasian. Many would argue that they are closely related to Asians and that they likely came to America across the Bering Straits. It is true that in the Modern US and other parts of the Americas that most Native peoples are mixed with old world peoples, to one degree or another, but (in the US at least) that does not make them Caucasian.

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Response to Lionessa (Reply #12)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 11:03 AM

26. Hispanic persons may be of any race

Most hispanic persons in the US are caucasian or native american (which, at least to the US census, is a separate race from caucasian).

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Response to iemitsu (Reply #2)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 03:23 AM

14. Here: Oh, and it turns out I am wrong.

 

Latinos are causasian, Native Americans are considered mongolian according to this article. I swore when I researched this for high school Native Americans were considered caucasian, but that was many years ago, and perhaps I've misremembered.

The Major Divisions of the Human Race

Most anthropologists recognize 3 or 4 basic races of man in existence today. These races can be further subdivided into as many as 30 subgroups.

Ethnographic division into races from Meyers Konversationslexikon of 1885-90 is listing:

Caucasian races (Aryans, Hamites, Semites)
Mongolian races (northern Mongolian, Chinese and Indo-Chinese, Japanese and Korean, Tibetan, Malayan, Polynesian, Maori, Micronesian, Eskimo, American Indian),
Negroid races (African, Hottentots, Melanesians/Papua, “Negrito”, Australian Aborigine, Dravidians, Sinhalese)


http://blog.world-mysteries.com/science/how-many-major-races-are-there-in-the-world/

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Response to Lionessa (Reply #14)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 11:16 AM

33. Most anthropologists don't recognize biological human races as valid concept

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Race_(human_classification)#U.S._anthropology

Human races are purely cultural - racist - construct. In that sense European colonialists stealing from and slaving American, African etc. peoples and cultures were most definitely racists.

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Response to tama (Reply #33)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 04:00 PM

51. THIS - SUPPORTED BY SCIENCE, NOT POLITICAL CORRECTNESS

Sorry for shouting BUT THIS IS SO DAMN IMPORTANT!!!

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Response to Democracyinkind (Reply #51)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 05:38 PM

55. Its ok to shout when you need to be heard.

And this is the way I teach my high school students to understand race.

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Response to tama (Reply #33)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 08:18 PM

60. Anthropologists may not, but other scientists do.

The scientists in zoology and other areas have classified almost everything in the world according to genus, species, etc. It's a classification system, each subclass and sub-subclass having distinct characteristics. Race is a subclass for humans (humans being in the mammal group).

It is also tracked in medicine, where race figures much in certain illnesses and diseases. Some races are prone to getting certain diseases, while others are not.

It's a tool in science, but it ascribes no feelings toward races. That's not what science is about. It is the populations that have developed feelings about certain races, on race alone or because of those differences that make that race unique.Not that populations need a scientific classification of a race in order not to like a group that seems different from them, or maybe revere a group for that reason.

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Response to Lionessa (Reply #14)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 08:09 PM

59. Where do Indians (from India) fall? Mongolian? nt

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Response to Lionessa (Reply #1)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 02:04 AM

4. they were not seen that way in the 1700's, nice try though

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Response to CreekDog (Reply #4)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 03:17 AM

13. Their color was nonetheless entirely insignificant, we would've done the same to any color,

 

Last edited Sun Dec 23, 2012, 10:54 PM - Edit history (1)

we wanted it, we took it, it didn't matter the color of those there before us.

Therefore racism had nothing to do with it. It was entirely GREED, which btw we still have a real problem with.

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Response to Lionessa (Reply #13)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 11:28 AM

36. racism evolved as a justification

principally for slavery, while the discourse on Native Americans centered around the Noble Savage. Yes, it was all about land. Racism came later.

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Response to Lionessa (Reply #13)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 02:13 PM

47. so you're saying that there wasn't racism against Native Americans back then?

are you for real?

that's about the most ignorant thing i've read on DU today.

you're completely wrong, but stunningnly confident in your ignorance.

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Response to CreekDog (Reply #47)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 05:52 PM

56. I think the sense, back then, was more along class and culture lines than race lines.

The English used indentured labor as well as slave labor and both groups were treated the much the same, legally and socially. The Latin word servus means both servant and slave. European peasants, while not considered slaves, are referred to as servus in record books and were tied to the land by both tradition and law. They were not equal to aristocrats, clergy, merchants, or townsfolk.
The Irish were the model for the treatment of Native Americans in the saga of British Colonialism. They were called savages and treated brutally by the Brits before they came here.
It is also true that British colonials banned miscegenation, but it may be that this was out of economic interest (the need for unequal labor) rather than concern over race.

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Response to Lionessa (Reply #13)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 09:24 PM

62. Can you give an example of white populations who were wiped out and/or forced off their land

by "explorers" like Christopher Columbus? If not, how can you conclude that racism had nothing to do with it?

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Response to Lionessa (Reply #1)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 11:06 AM

27. Your point is correct

but Native Americans are Asians (Mongoloid race - a technical term I've heard on CI shows, so don't tell me I'm using a racist term)

They crossed the land bridge over the Bering Strait.

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Response to Lionessa (Reply #1)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 11:10 AM

29. When the native Americans started the Pequot War in 1637 by killing an Englishman who they thought

 

was Dutch (apparently all Europeans looked alike to them), the colonialists needed to protect themselves.

The use of firearms by the peaceful Pilgrims was the logical way to do this. Firearms have been lawfully used for self-defense in America ever since 1637.

Incidentally, the Pilgrims didn't steal land from anyone.

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Response to AnotherMcIntosh (Reply #29)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 11:13 AM

32. The Pilgrims were far from peaceful, and they did steal land

As well as caches of supplies.

Where are you getting your history?

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Response to obamanut2012 (Reply #32)


Response to AnotherMcIntosh (Reply #38)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 11:32 AM

39. whatever

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Response to AnotherMcIntosh (Reply #29)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 11:35 AM

40. From Wiki:

 

John Stone, an English rogue, smuggler and privateer, and about seven of his crew were murdered by the Western tributary clients of the Pequot, the Niantic. According to the Pequots' later explanations, they did that in reprisal for the Dutch having murdered the principal Pequot sachem Tatobem, and were unaware of the fact that Stone was English and not Dutch. In the earlier incident, Tatobem had boarded a Dutch vessel to trade. Instead of conducting trade, the Dutch seized the sachem and appealed for a substantial amount of ransom for his safe return. The Pequot quickly sent bushels of wampum, but received only Tatobem's dead body in return.
Stone, the privateer, was from the West Indies. He had been banished from Boston for malfeasance (including drunkenness, adultery and piracy). Since he was known to have powerful connections in other colonies as well as London, he was expected to use them against the Boston colony. Setting sail from Boston, Stone abducted two Western Niantic men, forcing them to show him the way up the Connecticut River. Soon after, he and his crew were suddenly attacked and killed by a larger group of Western Niantic. While the initial reactions in Boston varied between indifference and outright joy at Stone's death, the colonial officials later decided to protest the killing. They did not accept the Pequots' excuses that they had been unaware of Stone's nationality. The Pequot sachem Sassacus sent some wampum to atone for the murders, but refused the colonists' demands that the Western Niantic warriors responsible for Stone's death be turned over to them for trial and punishment.


Mason attacked Misistuck by surprise. He estimated that "six or seven Hundred" Pequot were there when his forces assaulted the palisade. As some 150 warriors had accompanied Sassacus to Hartford, so the inhabitants remaining were largely Pequot women and children, and older men. Mason ordered that the enclosure be set on fire. Mason insisted that any Pequot attempting to escape the flames should be killed. Of the estimated 600 to 700 Pequot resident at Mystic that day, only seven survived to be taken prisoner, while another seven escaped to the woods. The Narragansett and Mohegan warriors with Mason and Underhill's colonial militia were horrified by the actions and "manner of the Englishmen's fight . . . because it is too furious, and slays too many men." The Narragansett left the warfare and returned home.


Colonists appropriated Pequot lands under claims of a "just war". They essentially declared the Pequot extinct by prohibiting speaking the name of the people.

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Response to Lionessa (Reply #1)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 11:31 AM

37. The 2nd Amendment was written in 1791

I think racism against Native Americans was well established by then, even if it was at first just "the people who have the land we want, no matter what color they are."

And there was certainly slavery in the US then.

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Response to Lionessa (Reply #1)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 11:39 AM

41. That is an odd argument.

In those days dark skinned people were considered morally inferior. The color of skin as well as the lack of Christianity gave Europeans carte blanche to do whatever they liked.

And they did.

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Response to friendly_iconoclast (Reply #3)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 02:12 AM

8. How can the 196os explain the late-colonial era and Early Republic?

It can't.

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Response to BainsBane (Reply #8)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 02:26 AM

9. The late-colonial and early Republic had their own racist gun control laws

As discussed in a Congress Of Racial Equality amicus brief, as discussed
here:

http://election.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=118x316358

http://www.potowmack.org/emercore.html

...Virginia law set Negroes apart from all other groups ... by denying them the important right and obligation to bear arms. Few restraints could indicate more clearly the denial to Negroes of membership in the White community. This first foreshadowing of the slave codes came in 1640, at just the time when other indications first appeared that Negroes were subject to special treatment.

W. Jordan, White over Black: American Attitudes Toward the Negro. 1550-1812 78 (1968).

In the later part of the 17th Century fear of slave uprisings in the South accelerated the passage of laws dealing with firearms possessions by blacks. In 1712, for instance, South Carolina passed “An act for the better ordering and governing of Negroes and Slaves” which included two articles particularly relating to firearms ownership and blacks. 7 Statutes at Large of South Carolina 3 53-54 (D.J. McCord ed. 1836-1873). Virginia passed a similar act entitled “An Act for Preventing Negroes Insurrections.” 2 the Statutes at Large; Being a Collection of All the Laws of Virginia, From the First Session of the Legislature, in the Year 1619, 481(W.W. Henning ed. 1823).

Thus, in many of the antebellum states, free and/or slave blacks were legally forbidden to possess arms. State legislation which prohibited the bearing of arms by blacks was held to be constitutional due to the lack of citizen status of the AfroAmerican slaves. State v. Newsom, 27 N.C. 250 (1844). Cooper v. Mayor of Savannah, 4 Ga. 68, 72 (1848). Legislators simply ignored the fact that the U.S. Constitution and most state constitutions referred to the right to keep and bear arms as a right of the "people" rather than of the "citizen". Stephen Halbrook, The

Jurisprudence of the Second and Fourteenth Amendments, 4 Geo. Mason U. L. Rev. 1, 15 (1981).

Chief Justice Taney argued, in the infamous Dred Scott case, that the Constitution could not have intended that free blacks be citizens:

For if they were so received, and entitled to the privileges and immunities of citizens, it would exempt them from the operations of the special laws and from the police regulations which they considered to be necessary for their own safety. It would give to persons of the negro race, who were recognized as citizens in any one State of the Union, the right to enter every other State whenever they pleased, ... {A}nd it would give them the full liberty of speech in public and in private upon all subjects upon which its own citizens might speak; to hold public meetings upon political affairs, and to keep and carry arms wherever, they went.

Dred Scott v. Sanford, 60 U.S. (19 How.) 393, 4 16-17 (1856) (emphasis ‘added). In a later part of the opinion, Justice Taney enumerated the constitutional protections afforded to citizens by the Bill of Rights:

Nor can Congress deny to the people the right to keep and bear arms, nor the right to trial by jury, nor compel any one to be a witness against himself in a criminal proceeding.

Id. at 450. Clearly, the Court viewed the right to keep and bear arms as one of the fundamental individual rights guaranteed to American citizens by the Bill of Rights; which, blacks, who according to the Court were not American citizens, could not enjoy.

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Response to friendly_iconoclast (Reply #9)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 02:58 AM

11. Yes, that was in order to prop up slavery

So why do you claim Edmund Morgan's argument is wrong? You don't actually think The founders intended the Second Amendment to apply to blacks? None of the rest of the constitution did.

You've obviously put guns at the center of your understanding rather than thinking about the relationship between slavery and race. There were many ways in which whites maintained supremacy. And the very notion of privileging whiteness emerged in the context of the development of slavery over the 17th century. The law you site about guns was one of many steps in creating slavery in the colonies, and far from the most important. When the first Africans arrived in 1604, they were treated as indentured servants. Over the course of the century, as white servants increasingly demanded land, Virginians gradually created slavery as a racialized institution: they forbade miscegenation, forbid Africans from holding indenture contracts over whites, took away their property rights, and eventually made their servitude permanent. You can see Virginia laws gradually codify slavery, step by step, over the course of the 17th century.

Firearms were part of maintaining control over slaves, and naturally that wasn't going to work if they were armed.

Racial equality never existed as a concept in the 17th century, but race as a distinct marker of status didn't exist until the end of the 17th century. The notion of race as a biological category emerged in the 19th century. Equality itself was never at issue until the American Revolution and what historian Bernard Baylin called the "contagion of liberty" unleashed by the language of the declaration of independence.

You are taking 21st century concepts of racial equality and looking backward in an effort to buttress your love of guns, but in doing so you miss the key historical dynamics of the period.

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Response to BainsBane (Reply #11)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 02:04 PM

46. Racists did not want *any* rights to apply to blacks.

The Second Amendment was only a part of the 'forbidden fruit'

Read the quote from Taney again-the right to keep and bear arms was just a subset of ALL
the rights that were to apply to white males only (who were exclusively the 'citizens' in those days).

That mindset should have rendered moot by the passage of the 14th Amendment, but sadly
it was not. Florida Supreme Court Justice Buford's opinion in Watson v. Stone
was perhaps the most explicit:

...I know something of the history of this legislation. The original Act of 1893 was passed when there was a great influx of negro laborers in this State…. (T)he Act was passed for the purpose of disarming the negro laborers ... and to give the white citizens in sparsely settled areas a better feeling of security. The statute was never intended to be applied to the white population and in practice has never been so applied. {Watson v. Stone , 4 So.2d 700, 703 (Fla. 1941).}




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Response to friendly_iconoclast (Reply #46)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 03:55 PM

50. You do realize Dredd-Scott was about slavery?

It denied African-Americans all rights. It declared they were not citizens. I don't know why you think guns were the most important right. I can assure you Dredd Scott cared much more about freedom than owning a gun. Who knows if guns ever entered his mind.

Do you realize it was also illegal to teach African-Americans to read, or to allow them to read, in the antebellum South? Read the Autobiography of Frederick Douglass. That will give you a sense of his priorities. There was a point in his life when he stood up to a white overseer, but he did so with his fists, not a gun.

Now you're jumping to the late-nineteenth century. That was a period in which miscegenation was illegal, voting rights non-existent, and lynchings rampant.
Obviously American society was profoundly racist. Why would guns have been excluded from the rest of Jim Crow?

Guns are clearly at the center of your thought process--as they are for many of us in this past week. But they have never before played the prominent role in American society that they do today. In focusing on on restrictions on guns, you are missing the big picture and cherry picking to support your pre-conceived views.

American has a tortured racist history, and at every point for which you site a gun law, there were a whole series of more onerous restrictions that either enslaved African Americans and deprived them of all rights, or treated them as second-class citizens and sought to reduce them to as close of a status of slavery as Southern whites could manage after 1865.

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Response to BainsBane (Reply #50)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 04:21 PM

52. "I don't know why you think guns were the most important right." I don't.

They are one among many, and they are all important to me. The fact that
they were held not to apply to persons of color is an indelible stain upon this nation's
history. I'd like to think that doesn't apply anymore, and *officially* it doesn't.

I have never denied the Second Amendment was applied in a racist fashion
in the past. That doesn't mean that it should not apply today. It is important-
but is equal in importance to all the rest

The fact that we now hold that all Constitutional rights apply to all (vide
the Fourteenth Amendment)- came about largely after slavery was eliminated
at gunpoint
. I would also point out that the freedom enshrined in the 14thA
came about largely through people who felt the Second Amendment damn well
did apply to African-Americans, hence my avatar. An enlarged version, for those
who might find it difficult to see:



Guns were the most visible and visceral symbol of citizenship in those days, and
that is no coincidence.

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Response to friendly_iconoclast (Reply #52)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 04:31 PM

53. In all the writings by slaves and freedmen

and the interviews with former slaves by the WPA, I don't recall a single mention of the Second Amendment. I'm not saying it doesn't exist, but it certainly wasn't prominent.

What was prominent was the idea that "all men are created equal and endowed by their creator with inalienable rights." Slaves and free blacks invoked that language repeatedly following the Declaration of Independence.

I actually don't think what you are saying conflicts at all with Edmund Morgan's argument. They are two sides of the same coin. On one hand, whites needed arms to control the slave population. On the other, they instituted a carefully constructed regime of legal oppression that deprived African Americans of all rights, including guns.
The difference is that your interest in guns prompts you to focus on that particular right more than any historian or, I suspect, anyone who lived in the nineteenth century.

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Response to HoosierRadical (Original post)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 02:05 AM

5. Please repost this for the Gungeon folks, they are out of the loop on this notion.

I'd be interested in hearing what they'd have to say...

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Response to CTyankee (Reply #5)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 02:50 AM

10. Who are the Gungeon folks?

I'm relatively new to DU, so please explain.

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Response to HoosierRadical (Reply #10)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 04:51 AM

17. For your own sanity, don't venture there

They are NRA hard-liners, many of more are more reactionary than many Republicans. They live in a form called RKBA, formerly called the gungeon. For the last week their gun porn has been all over General Discussion, but thankfully the threads were put back in that forum this morning. I have actually put the entire forum In my trash can so I don't encounter any of their posts. There are some reasonable people over there too, but there are a lot whose gun fetish is extreme to say the least.

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Response to BainsBane (Reply #17)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 09:23 AM

20. Perhaps some people haven't read this. I haven't. I would really like to hear the

pro gun response, but my guess is that I will hear deafening silence...

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Response to CTyankee (Reply #20)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 10:14 AM

24. post it over in RKBA

and see what they say, if that's what you want.

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Response to BainsBane (Reply #17)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 11:01 AM

25. Thanks for the heads up

they don't sound like the kind of people I wish to dialogue with.

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Response to HoosierRadical (Reply #25)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 11:22 AM

34. some are fine

I don't want to sound overly prejudicial. But you have to be prepared for a very fierce pro gun membership if you go in there.

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Response to HoosierRadical (Reply #10)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 09:15 AM

19. Gun Control and RKBA under Justice and Public Safety.

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Response to CTyankee (Reply #19)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 11:26 AM

35. public safety

how ironic.

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Response to HoosierRadical (Original post)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 02:06 AM

6. Social control

Fascinating post. I've read Morgan but don't recall that part. Social control was essential in maintaining slavery everywhere in the Americas. In Brazil, the police emerged as a kind of overseer of the urban slave population and even took on responsibility for whipping slaves. Morgan's point makes a lot of sense to me.

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Response to BainsBane (Reply #6)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 11:11 AM

31. And, keep in mind, whites were far outnumbered in the south

as malaria and other introduced diseases tended to decimate everyone but the (ironically) genetically superior disease-resistant african immigrants. I think it was only in the middle of the 19th century that blacks became a minority in the south, due to european immigration and better disease controls.

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Response to bhikkhu (Reply #31)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 11:41 AM

42. hmm

late nineteenth century? Because much of the Southern angst over the Free Soil Movement's (Lincoln and the Republican Party) effort to stop the spread of slavery was their fear over a rapidly expanding slave population that might eventually overthrow them (like Haiti in 1791). The US was actually the only slave society with a self-reproducing enslaved population. All the other countries in the Americas depended on new captives from Africa to maintain their supply.

By the mid to late 18th century, blacks predominated in the Carolina low country, where slave owners tended to be absentee. How dominant the African and African-American population was depends on when and where you're talking about. Regions within the South varied. I'd have to check demographic estimates to know for sure. But certainly by the time of the Constitutional Convention, landed whites were far fewer in Southern states; hence the 3/5 clause.

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Response to BainsBane (Reply #42)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 07:46 PM

57. By mid 19th century, just before the civil war

you can look at US census data, though it tends just to specify slave/non-slave, rather than simple race numbers. http://www.census.gov/history/www/through_the_decades/overview/1860.html

If you look at it state by state, even in 1860 there were several where slaves were the majority. If you figure in a percentage of free slaves and uncounted, then the numbers would skew pretty easily toward the whole south being dominated by black populations. That only shifted in mid-century with large scale immigration from Europe.

The 3/5s clause was explained to me by a history teacher years ago as being necessary because there just weren't that many white people in the south. They probably didn't want to count slaves, but they had to for the sake of some numerical balance in congress.

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Response to bhikkhu (Reply #57)


Response to HoosierRadical (Original post)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 03:27 AM

15. Exactly. And the NRA cleverly got people parroting their devised "gun control is racist" line...

...which is hilarious, coming from such an essentially racist, rightwing organization like the NRA.

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Response to villager (Reply #15)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 09:29 AM

22. How would you describe the Mulford and Sullivan acts

as well as Southern Jim Crow gun control?

A lot of effort has gone into insuring only the "right" kind of people have guns.

The history of gun control is mostly benign but you can't completely ignore the racist parts of it.

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Response to hack89 (Reply #22)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 11:53 AM

43. Though gun apologists get to ignore the racist roots of gun proliferation? Or the actual politics

..of the NRA?

How would you "explain" those?

Oh right -- you don't.

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Response to villager (Reply #43)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 11:57 AM

44. Just how the hell is gun proliferation racist? nt

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Response to hack89 (Reply #44)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 02:41 PM

48. Look at who most of the victims of gun violence -- recurring massacres aside - tend to be

Particularly in cities.

All "collateral damage," as far as the NRA is concerned.

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Response to villager (Reply #48)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 03:18 PM

49. It is about 50 - 50

Considering that cities with high levels of gun violence also have the tightest gun control laws, I don't see your point.

Perhaps the fact that big cities is where you find lots of violent drug gangs is a more likely cause of all that violence.


http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2010/crime-in-the-u.s.-2010/tables/10shrtbl01.xls

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Response to HoosierRadical (Original post)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 03:34 AM

16. What about the 'well-regulated militia'?

It's in there for a reason, no?

There was a great op on DU yesterday or the day before explaining the 2A, how it was intended to specify the 'right to bear arms' to protect the states from the federal government. Somebody, correct me if I'm wrong. But it summed up pretty much the way I interpret the 2A, and holds up to scrutiny. The Amendment absolutely does not say individuals have a right to bear arms. And 'we'll-regulated' and 'militia' were never meant to be throwaway lines. Any interpretation ignoring that part is just wrong.

That said, there is no doubt in my mind that the FFs never had any intention of allowing black people or Native people any such right whatsoever. But this was about armed militias, not race.

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Response to tblue (Reply #16)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 04:57 AM

18. Yes only SCOTUS ruled differently

In the Heller case a couple of years ago, They decided the 2A does protect an individual's right to bear arms and therefore struck down DC's gun ban. If some of the reactionary justices retire, we might see Heller revisited someday, but for now it is the law of the land. Guns can be regulated and controlled but not banned.

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Response to tblue (Reply #16)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 10:00 AM

23. The 2nd was/is not about the States. The Militias allow We the people to avoid

Last edited Fri Dec 21, 2012, 11:39 AM - Edit history (1)

dependence on that bane of liberty, a large standing army...because a large standing army is THE source of power of a tyrannical government.

Besides having the right to keep and bear arms (individually), it was imperative that the people themselves make up the Militias.
Who better ("necessary...".) to secure the liberties of the people then the people themselves? The Militias of the Several States, made from the body of the people, were entities that exisited long before the Constitution, and were codified under the Articles of Confederation. In the Constitution they were given very specific very important roles in securing our freedom.

The TRUE reason this right was secured specifically, is because the new Congress was given the powers formally left to the states - to, not only provide that the state Militias could be called up for federal use, but to dictate how those exisiting Militias were to be organized, trained and armed (i.e. the people would supply their own arms to avoid govt control). Why? So they would be most effective...our freedom depended on it!

Bottom line - the 2nd amendment is to ensure the government can not disarm the people. It secures the right of the people - individually and collectivelly - to bear arms. Certainly 'self-defence', 'protection from savages', and 'the taking of wild game' was a given, just as much as the common defence.

"well-regulated" is WHY the Congress was given the powers of organization and training...The Militias being well-trained, well armed and, due to conformity - well-functioning, would be assured (they weren't under the AoC) - it was now the law of the land.


This is the amendment as 1st proposed by Madison. It clearly shows the intent:

"The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; a well
armed and well regulated militia being the best security of a free country:
but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms shall be compelled to
render military service in person."


Of course the militia section of the 2nd has been obsoleted by the people due to our acceptance of large (HUGE) standing army, and the nationalizing of the militia via the National Guard. By 1900, the level of effectiveness of the Militias in fighting our wars of conquest left something to be desired.


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Response to tblue (Reply #16)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 09:13 PM

61. There may be many valid interpretations

 

that are not mutually exclusive. Jeffersonian interpretation is that citizen militia is much better for self defense than the horror of standing army which will morph into MIC and military imperialism and tyranny.

In other words, that interpretation of 2A would mean maintaining just National Guards and disbanding all of US army.

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Response to HoosierRadical (Original post)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 11:07 AM

28. I'm surprised it is not about slave rebellion

thought that may be at the link.

I'm convinced half the NRA or more today would be fine with a law that proclaimed only white people could have guns. That's the type of restriction they would go for.

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Response to treestar (Reply #28)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 11:11 AM

30. I imagine that would be covered under the militia clauses...

"To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions"

A primary reason why the right to arms was secured.

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Response to jmg257 (Reply #30)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 12:41 PM

45. I'm sure the founders knew pretty damn well that slaves could indeed rebel and

cause insurrections if they got a chance and who would blame them?

The closer inspection that Thomas Jefferson has been getting of late suggests that he sure as hell knew what he was doing was the exact opposite of what he was preaching about liberty and freedom.

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