Monday, January 28, 2013

Second Amendment History Online - Federal Farmer's Antifederalist Arms Mantra

It is Essential that the Whole Body of the People Always Possess Arms
[Federal Farmer wrote two pseudonymous series of Letters to the Republican, published as two books, the first appearing in November of 1787, the second in May of 1788, the letters being consecutively numbered throughout the series. They consist of detailed discussions of problems with the proposed U.S. Constitution, such as the need for a bill of rights, the dangers from the new government's military powers, and solutions to such problems. This particular arms mantra was linked to misuse of the proposed government's militia powers resulting in the people being unable to defend themselves against government raised forces. Mention of a select militia was a response to suggestions in support of government selected corps of militia that consisted of only a small part of the able-bodied free men. The first quote is from his earlier series in Letter III. The second from the end of Letter XVIII, the final one of the series. It is Federal Farmer's closing advice on a solution to guard liberty against the numerous problems he discussed throughout the entire series.]
"It is true, the yeomanry of the country possess the lands, the weight of property, possess arms, and are too strong a body of men to be openly offended - and, therefore, it is urged, they will take care of themselves, that men who shall govern will not dare pay any disrespect to their opinions. It is easily perceived, that if they have not their proper negative upon passing laws in congress, or on the passage of laws relative to taxes and armies, they may in twenty of thirty years be by means imperceptible to them, totally deprived of that boasted weight and strength: This may be done in a great measure by congress, if disposed to do it, by modelling the militia. Should one fifth, or one eight part of the men capable of bearing arms, be made a select militia, as has been proposed, and those the young and ardent part of the community, possessed of but little or no property, and all the others put upon a plan that will render them of no importance, the former will answer all the purposes of an army, while the latter will be defenceless." [The Origin of the Second Amendment, p. 91]

"to preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them" [The Origin of the Second Amendment, p.355]

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