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The Founders' Second Amendment: Origins of the Right to Bear Arms

The Founders' Second Amendment: Origins of the Right to Bear Arms

by Stephen P. Halbrook
The Founders' Second Amendment: Origins of the Right to Bear Arms

The Founders' Second Amendment: Origins of the Right to Bear Arms

by Stephen P. Halbrook

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Stephen P. Halbrook's The Founders' Second Amendment is the first book-length account of the origins of the Second Amendment, based on the Founders' own statements as found in newspapers, correspondence, debates, and resolutions. Mr. Halbrook investigates the period from 1768 to 1826, from the last years of British rule and the American Revolution through to the adoption of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and the passing of the Founders' generation. His book offers the most comprehensive analysis of the arguments behind the drafting and adoption of the Second Amendment, and the intentions of the men who created it.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781538129678
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 01/15/2019
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: eBook
Pages: 456
Sales rank: 895,586
File size: 730 KB

About the Author

Stephen P. Halbrook is Research Fellow at The Independent Institute and received his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center and a Ph.D. in social philosophy from Florida State University. His other books include That Every Man Be Armed: The Evolution of a Constitutional Right; Freedmen, the Fourteenth Amendment, and the Right to Bear Arms; Firearms Law Deskbook; and A Right to Bear Arms.

Table of Contents

Preface ix

Introduction 1

Disarming the Colonists

1 "The Inhabitants to Be Disarmed" 9

2 From the Tea Party to the Powder Alarm 29

3 The Arms Embargo and Search and Seizure at the Neck 58

4 A Shot Heard 'Round the World and "a Cruel Act of Perfidy" 75

Of Revolution and Rights

5 "Times That Try Men's Souls" 111

6 "That the People Have a Right" 126

7 "A Musket to Defend These Rights" 148

The Constitution and Compromise

8 A Constitution with No Bill of Rights? 171

9 The "Dissent of the Minority" 191

10 Virginia Tips the Scales 216

11 "A Majority That Is Irresistible" 234

"To Keep and Bear Their Private Arms"

12 Mr. Madison's Amendments 251

13 The Bill of Rights in the States 279

14 The Great Militia Debate 299

15 Old Founders Never Die, They Just Fade Away 310


16 What Does the Second Amendment Say? 323

Notes 339

Index 393

A Note on the Author 427

What People are Saying About This

Glenn Harlan Reynolds

Stephen Halbrook's The Founders' Second Amendment is crisply written, rich with history, and sure to be valuable to anyone interested in understanding the original meaning of the Second Amendment's right to bear arms.

Nelson Lund

Like much of Halbrook's other excellent work, The Founders' Second Amendment is both well-written and full of fascinating details. It will serve as an important resource for professional scholars and interested laypersons. One especially useful aspect of Halbrook's work is that the author so consistently lets a huge variety of original sources speak for themselves.

William W. Van Alstyne

The subject of The Founders' Second Amendment is currently 'front-and-center' as a 'hot' and major controversy. Well researched and well presented, Halbrook's book has brought forward a substantial amount of new research, not redundant of what others have provided, and this book will find a solid place among leading works on the subject.

Joyce L. Malcolm

I enthusiastically recommend Stephen Halbrook's book, The Founder's Second Amendment. This is an original and valuable approach, focusing on the place of individual ownership of firearms during the time of the American Revolution and the drafting and ratification of the Constitution and Bill of Rights. It will add appreciably to the scholarship on the origins and meaning of the Second Amendment.

Donald W. Livingston

The Founder's Second Amendment is an impressive achievement. Halbrook shows conclusively to any honest mind, both in respect to historical evidence and analytical jurisprudence, that the Framers intended the Second Amendment not as the reserved right of a State government to organize a militia, but of the people as individuals to keep and to bear arms. In this meticulously researched and exhaustive study, Halbrook has produced what promises to be the standard work for years to come on the original intent of the Second Amendment. It will be an invaluable resource for scholars of the Constitution.

Don B. Kates

Historian and philosopher Stephen Halbrook is the single most prolific researcher on the Second Amendment, having contributed literally dozens of scholarly articles on various aspects of the subject. The Founders' Second Amendment masterfully both extends and summarizes his (and others') research. It is the last word—the single most comprehensive work on the thinking of the Founding Fathers' era about the constitutional right of citizens to be armed.

Forrest McDonald

Stephen Halbrook's The Founders' Second Amendment is first-rate work, utterly convincing. This is a solid and important work.

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