Monday, June 23, 2014

Thom Hartmann — The Second Amendment was Ratified to Preserve Slavery

The real reason the Second Amendment was ratified, and why it says "State" instead of "Country" (the Framers knew the difference - see the 10th Amendment), was to preserve the slave patrol militias in the southern states, which was necessary to get Virginia's vote. Founders Patrick Henry, George Mason, and James Madison were totally clear on that . . . and we all should be too.
In the beginning, there were the militias. In the South, they were also called the "slave patrols," and they were regulated by the states.

In Georgia, for example, a generation before the American Revolution, laws were passed in 1755 and 1757 that required all plantation owners or their male white employees to be members of the Georgia Militia, and for those armed militia members to make monthly inspections of the quarters of all slaves in the state. The law defined which counties had which armed militias and even required armed militia members to keep a keen eye out for slaves who may be planning uprisings.…
The Smirking Chimp
The Second Amendment was Ratified to Preserve Slavery
Thom Hartmann

5 comments:

y said...

Matt Bruenig has another good one:

http://mattbruenig.com/2014/06/22/pick-up-basketball-and-grab-what-you-can/

Dan Lynch said...

The gist of Thom's claim is easily debunked.

Thom is taking a grain of truth -- that the Southern states wanted to have state-controlled militias to put down slave rebellions -- and twisting it to claim that the right to bear arms totally originated in the South. In fact, the Southern states were the first to pass gun control laws, aimed at dis-empowering blacks and indentured servants.

The individual right to keep arms in the English speaking world dates back to 1689 English Bill of Rights -- which, of course, had nothing to do with slavery.

Non-slave Pennsylvania was the first state to recognize the individual right to bear arms in its 1776 constitution. Non-slave Vermont followed in 1777. Thomas Paine, a fierce opponent of slavery, wrote favorably about the right to bear arms and the virtue of citizen militias long before the Bill of Rights came into being.

Since the right to bear arms was already well established in both English common law and New England state law prior to the Bill of Rights, Thom's claim holds no water.

A history of non-slave New England states recognizing the right to bear arms long before the National Bill of Rights: http://www.guncite.com/journals/halvt.html

I would call Thom's hack piece a fine example of "loser liberalism," except there's nothing liberal about it. Attacking individual rights is not liberal. It reeks of authoritarian elitism.

Tom Hickey said...

I think you are minimizing on the history here, Dan. The Second Amendment was about states' right at the time and not individual rights, which I do not believe was an issue then.

This was pretty common knowledge in US history before Thom repeated it. It was part of the North-South rivalry, and federalism-states rights debates that underlies US history and the antecedents were in colonial times. The South ran on a plantation economy and the North a manufacturing economy. Slavery was a huge contention from the get-go.

There were two contentious points involved. Fist, the colonists that declared independence were very aware of the role that standing armies played in Europe and wanted to make sure that their new country did not maintain a standing army but that it could defend itself by calling up soldiers, who presumably were already familiar with weapons and how to use them, since hunting was widespread.

When Hamilton convinced Washington to put down the Whiskey Rebellion (refusal to pay the federal whiskey tax), an force was raised that Washington himself led and the rebels backed down. (Mosler's example demonstrated in US history.)

The question was who was to control this force. Was it to be the feds only? The states' righters, who were chiefly from the South, demanded that the states be guaranteed the right to raise their own militias.

Did this have some germane to do with slavery? Given the prior history of the use of state militias, it seems difficult to deny.

Nebris said...

'Ever since slaves were imported to Jamestown in 1619, armed self defense was an authentic part of the African American experience. I don’t just mean well-known rebellions like Nat Turner’s, but ordinary day to day. Almost every household I ever visited in the south had a hidden shotgun or pistol under the bed. This contradicted MLK’s dominant peace-and-love message, his honestly-held outreach to whites, many of whom (like me) flocked to his Gandhian banner. Less publicly known is that wherever “Martin” traveled he was bodyguarded by men with guns. Indeed, his own Atlanta home was a discreet arsenal of weapons.'
http://www.alternet.org/civil-liberties/why-african-americans-have-long-tradition-armed-resistance

Chris said...

Says the guy with likely no black friends with the ironic last name.