The Bill of Rights: The Second Amendment Research Paper

Posted on April 19, 2013. Filed under: Founding Fathers, History, United States Constitution | Tags: , , , , |

I can’t believe this.

Portrait of Thomas Jefferson by Rembrandt Peal...

Portrait of Thomas Jefferson by Rembrandt Peale, 1805. Is he wearing a fur coat?

I’ve said many, many, many times that I do a lot of reading in the course of my research.

Right now I’m researching the history and roots of the Second Amendment, based on the debates and records of the Founding Fathers, resources from universities and the Library of Congress. No garbage from a book written in 2003 that has material from Thomas Jefferson that no one else has ever heard of. Only verifiable sources for me.

In addition, I am trying to provide links to the resources I have used so readers and researchers can find them as well.

I’ve been in note taking mode for a few weeks, which is why there have been some other amendments that have appeared on the list before this one.

So far, I am close to 5000 words in notes alone, and I feel I have barely started. I still have to turn those notes into a coherent article.

It is getting so large because I am trying to definitively answer these questions:

  • What exactly did the Founders mean?
  • Did the Founders mean that all individuals could keep and bear arms, or only militias?
  • Was the Second Amendment a compromise meant to allow the states to quell slave rebellions?
  • Was it meant to hold blacks in slavery?
  • Was it meant to allow people to hunt, or shoot for sport?
  • Was it meant to give the people a means of defense against a tyrannical government?

I am surprised at some of the answers that I’ve been coming up with.

I’m hoping that the answers won’t be too subjective. I don’t want people accusing me of “cherry picking” my Founding Fathers, and I don’t want to use spurious quotes (there’s a lot of them from Thomas Jefferson floating around, hence the picture of him).

I am working on it, but I have a feeling it is going to at least double, if not triple in size, so I may have to break it down into chapters and put it out in bite sized chunks.

It wouldn’t be so bad if I were a team of researchers, but I’m not. I’m just one person.

I’m sure I am going to be exhausted and need a break when I’m finally finished.

You can read the completed project by following this link.

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3 Responses to “The Bill of Rights: The Second Amendment Research Paper”

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I believe you are on the right track. And I really think you have planned this out. However, I just want to say that the study of history cannot be objective. However, it can be fair. Subjectivity is perhaps the only way to write good history, but only in a fair and emphatic manner. In this case I suggest reading

What do I mean?

Try to reconstruct and analyse what this amendment meant, and infuse your own ideology of what it meant, and even what it means today. I really suggest you read Eric Foner’s The Story of American Democracy. Although you might not agree with what he might say, look at the way he analyses history, people and events in order to create a wider narrative, in the broader context.

Do you want to write a great paper? Do not dwell in abstractions, but try to make people the centre of your focus and the ways he/she saw the events being unfolded.

Lastly, If you want an amazing source on the U.S during the Revolutionary era, try Eric Nellis’ The Long Road To change. It will help trust me.

Lastly, I would like to direct you to something that really helped get an A in fourth year undergrad history courses:

Brilliant blog, by the way.

I thank you for the compliment. I’ll give those resources a look over when I get a chance.

What I mean by being objective is to include those arguments and points of view that I may not agree with instead of ignoring them to prove my thesis. I started doing this because I was getting fed up with reading articles where people would quote on of the founders, but start inserting words that weren’t in the quote. It makes the reader think they were saying something that they didn’t, and I get frustrated with that.

Thanks for reading, and thanks for the suggestions. I will definitely give them a look. =)

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