What The Founding Fathers Intended

From the Virginia Bill of Rights

Section 13. 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 governed by, the civil power.

Governments around the world have created endless mayhem and destruction with their irresponsibly managed armies.

The US founding fathers intended for individuals to be armed and to defend our borders and freedom. The federal government has overwhelmingly demonstrated that they are unwilling and incapable of defending either.

government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem

– Ronald Reagan  Inaugural address 1981

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17 Responses to What The Founding Fathers Intended

  1. Ragtag Media says:

    The request to protect the right to keep and bear arms was almost universal and requested in plain English. There’s no way to confuse the meanings of the requests. Let’s look at the texts of some of the actual requests and proposals.

    New Hampshire’s convention requested the following addition to the Constitution:

    “Congress shall never disarm any Citizen unless such as are or have been in Actual Rebellion.”

    They weren’t alone. Antifederalists in Pennsylvania’s wanted an amendment to, requesting the following be agreed upon:

    “That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and their own state, or the United States, or for the purpose of killing game; and no law shall be passed for disarming the people or any of them, unless for crimes committed, or real danger of public injury from individuals…”

    Three different states, New York, Rhode Island, and Virginia, each required similar proposals and their requests included these exact words: “That the people have a right to keep and bear arms”.

    That the founding fathers wanted the right to keep and bear arms protected was obvious. They believed that the militia was the only real defense against liberty. They didn’t trust standing armies or their government — they wanted a country that really was just “the people” with the power, in the end.
    http://www.capitalisminstitute.org/second-amendment/

  2. phodges says:

    The only time the word “security” is used in the constitution is in the second amendment. And I not sure that “safety” appears at all?

  3. Robert Kearns says:

    Thanks for bringing this up. It sure does alter the meaning of the way the Supreme Court has interpreted it. Funny how they preceded their statement like the 2nd Amendment does with “a well regulated militia” and how they should be “trained”. They didn’t call for a mob of angry unregulated protestors some with no training or very little. I bet they would be shocked to see today what tries to pass as well regulated militias. And what’s this about “standing armies”? They should be disbanded during times of peace?

    And thanks for the quote, Ronald. It sure was true when you sold arms to our enemies. government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem- Ronald Reagan Inaugural address 1981 Date: Sat, 2 Aug 2014 14:06:18 +0000 To: rob_ker1@msn.com

    • You live in a psychotic, paranoid world inside your own head. Imagining danger from people who are no threat, and ignoring the the huge threat all humans face from overbearing government.

    • Jason Calley says:

      Hey, Robert!

      Sorry if I sound a bit pedantic, but you ask a question so fundamental that I suspect there may be others who do not understand how the original military plan was set up. Below is my understanding of it, and if anyone can correct me on any errors, please do so.

      You ask: “And what’s this about “standing armies”? They should be disbanded during times of peace?”

      Yes, that was the plan — similar to Switzerland today.

      The US Navy was a different matter. You cannot just instantly build a Navy if you are attacked, so the Navy was a standing institution and also received different funding. The Army could only be funded in yearly increments, but the Navy could be funded two years ahead.

      Now, as for the Army, not having a standing army did not mean that there were no soldiers at all during peacetime. There was a contingent of officers and a small number of soldiers who were kept ready, but their main purpose was to form the core of an actual Army if needed. The officers were completely trained in military academies and were chosen in such a way that every state had officers present in the force. (You don’t want all your officers to be from just a few states; they might try to put their homes to rule over other states.) The main point was that there was no standing army, no force that was large enough or powerful enough to invade and subdue the militia of a state or several states.

      As for the militias, the “well regulated militia” so spoken of. Who was the militia? Just the regular men of an area with a small number of exceptions that varied somewhat over the states and the years. Ministers, priests, people with matters of conscience, could normally be exempted. People of bad health, excessive old age or youth were exempt. Yes — women, slaves and non-citizens were exempt — but generally speaking, most average men were included. There were two parts to the militia, the organized militia and the unorganized militia. The organized militia was composed of the men who owned weapons and agreed to meet together and train on a regular basis, all voluntary (although IIRC some areas had an extra tax for those men who refused to take part in the militia. I could be wrong on that…), usually once a month or maybe just a few times a year. Officers of the militia were chosen by vote of the militia members. The details varied, but usually the militia members would arm themselves; if they did not own their own weapons they would sometime have weapons bought for them by the city or state. State militias were answerable to the State governments, NOT the Federal government, not even the President. In time of war, the Federal government would request troops from the States and the States would notify the militia that they were being called to duty. Only when called to duty by the States and released during time of war into Federal control did the President become Commander in Chief of the militia.

      The times and justifications for the Federal government having access to and control of a large and powerful army were meant to be rare — very rare, during times of actual attack against the US. The Founders believed that if the President and the Congress had a standing Army big enough to control the States that they might eventually use it. The militia system was designed to stop that threat to the freedom of the various States.

      As for the unorganized militia — that was simply all the men suitable for military service who had not joined into the organized militia. Think of them as the savings account of soldiers, the emergency fund to be drawn upon if the organized militia was unable to complete their terms.

      Lastly, referencing the phrase “a well regulated militia” it has been explained too many times what the meaning of this is and why it does not preclude ordinary people from owning weapons. Note also that I say “weapons” and not “guns.” The fact is, the Federal government was never given authority to regulate weapons owned by ordinary people — and therefore, it very simply does not have that legal authority.

  4. _Jim says:

    From: The Federalist Papers, something else we have gotten away from, the appointment of senators by the states.

    Note: I am convinced we would NOT have a Harry Reid blocking legislation in the senate if we still had appointment of senators by the legislatures of each of the states.

    Only the first three paras excerpted:
    – – – – –
    || Federalist No. 62 ||
    The Senate
    For the Independent Journal.
    Author: Alexander Hamilton or James Madison

    To the People of the State of New York:

    HAVING examined the constitution of the House of Representatives, and answered such of the objections against it as seemed to merit notice, I enter next on the examination of the Senate.
    The heads into which this member of the government may be considered are: I. The qualification of senators; II. The appointment of them by the State legislatures; III. The equality of representation in the Senate; IV. The number of senators, and the term for which they are to be elected; V. The powers vested in the Senate.

    I. The qualifications proposed for senators, as distinguished from those of representatives, consist in a more advanced age and a longer period of citizenship. A senator must be thirty years of age at least; as a representative must be twenty-five. And the former must have been a citizen nine years; as seven years are required for the latter. The propriety of these distinctions is explained by the nature of the senatorial trust, which, requiring greater extent of information and stability of character, requires at the same time that the senator should have reached a period of life most likely to supply these advantages; and which, participating immediately in transactions with foreign nations, ought to be exercised by none who are not thoroughly weaned from the prepossessions and habits incident to foreign birth and education. The term of nine years appears to be a prudent mediocrity between a total exclusion of adopted citizens, whose merits and talents may claim a share in the public confidence, and an indiscriminate and hasty admission of them, which might create a channel for foreign influence on the national councils.

    II. It is equally unnecessary to dilate on the appointment of senators by the State legislatures. Among the various modes which might have been devised for constituting this branch of the government, that which has been proposed by the convention is probably the most congenial with the public opinion. It is recommended by the double advantage of favoring a select appointment, and of giving to the State governments such an agency in the formation of the federal government as must secure the authority of the former, and may form a convenient link between the two systems.

    – – – – –

    Bolding mine.

    Mark Levin in The Liberty Amemdments seeks to correct this and place back in the hands of the state legislators the selection of senators.

  5. Gamecock says:

    No training required to have guns:

    “The project of disciplining all the militia of the United States is as futile as it would be injurious, if it were capable of being carried into execution. A tolerable expertness in military movements is a business that requires time and practice. It is not a day, or even a week, that will suffice for the attainment of it. To oblige the great body of the yeomanry, and of the other classes of the citizens, to be under arms for the purpose of going through military exercises and evolutions, as often as might be necessary to acquire the degree of perfection which would entitle them to the character of a well-regulated militia, would be a real grievance to the people, and a serious public inconvenience and loss. It would form an annual deduction from the productive labor of the country, to an amount which, calculating upon the present numbers of the people, would not fall far short of the whole expense of the civil establishments of all the States. To attempt a thing which would abridge the mass of labor and industry to so considerable an extent, would be unwise: and the experiment, if made, could not succeed, because it would not long be endured. Little more can reasonably be aimed at, with respect to the people at large, than to have them properly armed and equipped; and in order to see that this be not neglected, it will be necessary to assemble them once or twice in the course of a year.”

    Alexander Hamilton, Federalist #29

    One could easily make the argument from the above that the government should provide you with a gun if you can’t afford one.

    Who/what is the militia? It’s all the people. “The great body of the yeomanry, and of the other classes of the citizens.

    Let me dissect the 2nd for those with reading comprehension challenges.

    “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.”

    The right of the people to keep and bear arms is known and assumed. This right will not be infringed. Why is this important? Because a well regulated militia is necessary to the security of a free state.

  6. Adam Gallon says:

    Somebody point me towards this “Well regulated militia”.

    • _Jim says:

      as in ‘ they drill often’.

    • _Jim says:

      More formally, from Federalist No. 29

      “Concerning the Militia”, Thursday, January 10, 1788
      Author: Alexander Hamilton

      http://thomas.loc.gov/home/histdox/fed_29.html

      It begins thusly:
      – – – – – –
      THE power of regulating the militia, and of commanding its services in times of insurrection and invasion are natural incidents to the duties of superintending the common defense, and of watching over the internal peace of the Confederacy.

      It requires no skill in the science of war to discern that uniformity in the organization and discipline of the militia would be attended with the most beneficial effects, whenever they were called into service for the public defense. It would enable them to discharge the duties of the camp and of the field with mutual intelligence and concert an advantage of peculiar moment in the operations of an army; and it would fit them much sooner to acquire the degree of proficiency in military functions which would be essential to their usefulness. This desirable uniformity can only be accomplished by confiding the regulation of the militia to the direction of the national authority. It is, therefore, with the most evident propriety, that the plan of the convention proposes to empower the Union “to provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, RESERVING TO THE STATES RESPECTIVELY THE APPOINTMENT OF THE OFFICERS, AND THE AUTHORITY OF TRAINING THE MILITIA ACCORDING TO THE DISCIPLINE PRESCRIBED BY CONGRESS.”
      – – –

      and another excerpt:

      – – –
      “The project of disciplining all the militia of the United States is as futile as it would be injurious, if it were capable of being carried into execution. A tolerable expertness in military movements is a business that requires time and practice. It is not a day, or even a week, that will suffice for the attainment of it. To oblige the great body of the yeomanry, and of the other classes of the citizens, to be under arms for the purpose of going through military exercises and evolutions, as often as might be necessary to acquire the degree of perfection which would entitle them to the character of a well-regulated militia, would be a real grievance to the people, and a serious public inconvenience and loss. It would form an annual deduction from the productive labor of the country, to an amount which, calculating upon the present numbers of the people, would not fall far short of the whole expense of the civil establishments of all the States. To attempt a thing which would abridge the mass of labor and industry to so considerable an extent, would be unwise: and the experiment, if made, could not succeed, because it would not long be endured. Little more can reasonably be aimed at, with respect to the people at large, than to have them properly armed and equipped; and in order to see that this be not neglected, it will be necessary to assemble them once or twice in the course of a year.
      – – – – –

    • Billy Liar says:

      Switzerland.

  7. mjc says:

    From the “A dictionary of the English language : in which the words are deduced from their originals, explained in their different meanings and authorized by the names of the writers in whose works they are found (1766)”

    Regulate:
    1. To adjust by rule or method.
    2. To direct.

    Since those were the accepted definitions in 1766, I think they didn’t change much over the intervening years to when the 2nd was written. The second definition, ‘to direct’ is probably the more applicable one to the usage in the 2nd.

    • jerry says:

      wrong, it means well functioning, as in The equation of time … is the adjustment of the difference of time as shown by a well-regulated clock and a true sun dial

      • mjc says:

        Both ‘well functioning’ and directed fit…the modern notion of applied rules does not.

        And ‘well functioning’ didn’t become a ‘dictionary’ meaning until some time in the early 1800s (don’t have access to the pdfs of my old dictionaries right now to look…).

        But in any case, the expectation was that the militia, by being comprised of people who had their own firearms and knew how to use them was better than one that needed to be ‘trained up’. It could respond to threats much faster than a force of conscripts that had no training at all.

  8. jerry says:

    The following are taken from the Oxford English Dictionary, and bracket in time the writing of the 2nd amendment:

    1709: “If a liberal Education has formed in us well-regulated Appetites and worthy Inclinations.”

    1714: “The practice of all well-regulated courts of justice in the world.”

    1812: “The equation of time … is the adjustment of the difference of time as shown by a well-regulated clock and a true sun dial.”

    1848: “A remissness for which I am sure every well-regulated person will blame the Mayor.”

    1862: “It appeared to her well-regulated mind, like a clandestine proceeding.”

    1894: “The newspaper, a never wanting adjunct to every well-regulated American embryo city.”

    The phrase “well-regulated” was in common use long before 1789, and remained so for a century thereafter. It referred to the property of something being in proper working order. Something that was well-regulated was calibrated correctly, functioning as expected. Establishing government oversight of the people’s arms was not only not the intent in using the phrase in the 2nd amendment, it was precisely to render the government powerless to do so that the founders wrote it.

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