the quartet orchestrating the second american revolution 1783 1789.pdf

Finally under the rubric of his fourth proposed

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Finally, under the rubric of his fourth proposed amendment, Madison wrote the following words: “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.” This eventually, after some editing in the Senate, became the Second Amendment in the Bill of Rights, and its meaning has provoked more controversy in our own time than it did in 1789. 36 Madison was responding to recommended amendments from five states, calling for the prohibition of a permanent standing army on the grounds that it had historically proven to be an enduring threat to republican values. It is clear that Madison’s intention in drafting his proposed amendment was to assure those skeptical souls that the defense of the United States would depend on state militias rather than a professional, federal army. In Madison’s formulation, the right to bear arms was not inherent but derivative, depending on service in the militia. The recent Supreme Court decision ( Heller v. District of Columbia , 2008) that found the right to bear arms an inherent and nearly unlimited right is clearly at odds with Madison’s original intentions. 37 During the debates in the House, several delegates, mostly from southern states, accused Madison of cherry-picking from the recommended amendments of the state ratifying conventions so as to minimize rather than maximize the restraints on federal power. Aedanus Burke of South Carolina described Madison’s proposed amendments as “whip-syllabub,” a popular dessert of the day that was “frothy and full of wind, formed only to please the palate.” Burke, who was apparently enjoying a metaphoric epiphany, also characterized the proposed amendments as “a tub thrown out to the whale,” a tactic used by sailors trying to divert a whale from attacking their ship. 38 Thomas Tudor Tucker, also of South Carolina, wanted to know why Madison had failed to include the amendment, proposed by all the states that had recommended amendments, to regard all federal taxes as voluntary requirements in the initial solicitation. Most critics seemed to be saying that Madison’s proposed amendments did not accurately reflect the deepest concerns of their constituents about the enhanced powers of the federal government but instead were gestures of appeasement toward what were, in fact, the diminished powers of the states. And, in truth, that was precisely what Madison intended: namely, to make the fewest concessions possible to the opposition in order to ensure the greatest level of support for the new government. 39 The most basic of Madison’s intentions in drafting and defending the Bill of Rights, then, were neither
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constitutional nor philosophical, but political. He had no sense that he was writing what has now become enshrined as the semi-sacred creedal statement of America’s core political values. As he explained to Jefferson on several occasions, he really did not think the Constitution needed a bill of rights.
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  • Fall '16
  • Chemistry, pH, American Revolution, Second Continental Congress, American Revolution, Continental Army

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