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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The Lonely Lives of Researchers

Posted on March 14, 2013. Filed under: Founding Fathers, History, United States Constitution | Tags: , |

Open admission time.

I am not a lawyer. I don’t understand legalese.

I’m not a scholar. I don’t pretend to be.

I am, however, a thoughtful person. I am an armchair historian, having an undeniable love, for what ever reason, of history, especially the history of warfare.

I know how to read, and how to understand what I read. I am capable of doing research if I am having trouble understanding what I am reading.

I do a lot of research for my job.

Why am I telling you this?

I’ve been working on a project about the US Constitution, to understand where it came from and what it means. I do it because I feel that we have strayed far away from what the Founding Fathers intended, and I get frustrated with so-called scholars and talking heads telling us what the Founders meant, or that we should ditch the whole thing because it’s a big steaming pile of crap.

I wanted to find out what our Founding Fathers really thought, in their own words, rather than the words of a scholar or a lawyer. The end result, so far, is that I am constantly having to add to them and revise them as I discover new information.

I know I keep pimping those pages. I am hopeful that people out there will find it useful, or even one stop shopping for those who are doing research of their own.

It’s almost like doing a genealogy project. The more I dig, the further back in history I am drawn. I mention George Mason and James Madison a lot in my posts, and the Constitution project is no different. These two men probably had more influence on our system of government than any other men. Having been subjects of the Crown, it is not surprising that they were heavily influenced by the English system of government. Minus the king part, of course.

As one studies the documents, one can see easily see the influences of the English Parliament, if one is familiar with their system.

As I started writing, I started by writing about the Constitution (1787) itself, but that led me back to the Articles of Confederation (1776), which led back to the Declaration of Independence (1776), which in turn led back to George Mason’s Virginia Declaration of Rights (1776).

This is where I made a shocking discovery, to me anyway. There may be people out there who were aware of these, but I wasn’t. I never learned about them in school.

Prior to the Virginia Declaration of Rights, there were the Articles of Association (1774), the first time the States formally banded together to protest actions by the government in Great Britain.

Then the trail turned to England itself. The Virginia Declaration of Rights was influenced by a document written nearly 100 years prior: The English Declaration of Rights (1689), also known as the English Bill of Rights. I knew about the English Bill of Rights, but was unaware of their influence on our Founding Fathers.

It would not surprise me now, if the trail leads even further back, or elsewhere.

For me, this is fascinating, to go back this far and see where it all came from. The Parliament of Great Britain can trace its roots all the way back to 1066 and William the Conqueror. It started as a small group of King’s counselors, but grew from there over the years.

I am merely an armchair historian. I know there are those out there who would look down on me with disdain, because I don’t hold degrees in the field, and don’t work for a university.

I’ve worked with enough people with Ph.Ds to know that the only thing that really means is that they were willing to take the time and expense to gain it. They really don’t know any more than the rest of us, and are just as full of shit as I am.

So I continue to write. It is a never ending process, but in the end, I hope that someone, somewhere, will find this as useful as I do.

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