A Well-Regulated Militia: The Founding Fathers and the Origins of Gun Control in America / Edition 1

A Well-Regulated Militia: The Founding Fathers and the Origins of Gun Control in America / Edition 1

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by Saul Cornell
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0195341031

ISBN-13: 9780195341034

Pub. Date: 08/04/2008

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

Americans are deeply divided over the Second Amendment. Some passionately assert that the Amendment protects an individual's right to own guns. Others, that it does no more than protect the right of states to maintain militias. Now, in the first and only comprehensive history of this bitter controversy, Saul Cornell proves conclusively that both sides are wrong.

Overview

Americans are deeply divided over the Second Amendment. Some passionately assert that the Amendment protects an individual's right to own guns. Others, that it does no more than protect the right of states to maintain militias. Now, in the first and only comprehensive history of this bitter controversy, Saul Cornell proves conclusively that both sides are wrong.
Cornell, a leading constitutional historian, shows that the Founders understood the right to bear arms as neither an individual nor a collective right, but as a civic right—an obligation citizens owed to the state to arm themselves so that they could participate in a well regulated militia. He shows how the modern "collective right" view of the Second Amendment, the one federal courts have accepted for over a hundred years, owes more to the Anti-Federalists than the Founders. Likewise, the modern "individual right" view emerged only in the nineteenth century. The modern debate, Cornell reveals, has its roots in the nineteenth century, during America's first and now largely forgotten gun violence crisis, when the earliest gun control laws were passed and the first cases on the right to bear arms came before the courts. Equally important, he describes how the gun control battle took on a new urgency during Reconstruction, when Republicans and Democrats clashed over the meaning of the right to bear arms and its connection to the Fourteenth Amendment. When the Democrats defeated the Republicans, it elevated the "collective rights" theory to preeminence and set the terms for constitutional debate over this issue for the next century.
A Well Regulated Militia not only restores the lost meaning of the original Second Amendment, but it provides a clear historical road map that charts how we have arrived at our current impasse over guns. For anyone interested in understanding the great American gun debate, this is a must read.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195341034
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
08/04/2008
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
494,047
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.80(d)

Table of Contents


Preface     ix
Introduction     1
English Tyranny versus American Liberty: Bearing Arms in Revolutionary America     9
A Well-Regulated Militia: The Origins of the Second Amendment     39
"The True Palladium of Liberty:" Federalists, Jeffersonians, and the Second Amendment     73
Militias, Mobs, and Murder: Testing the Limits of the Right to Bear Arms     109
Rights, Regulations, Revolution: The Antebellum Debate over Guns     137
Individual or Collective Right: The Fourteenth Amendment and the Origins of the Modern Gun Debate     167
Conclusion: A New Paradigm for the Second Amendment     211
Notes     219
Index     262

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