Following the French and Indian War, the threat of future attacks necessitated that nearly every American be armed.
It also resulted in the King leaving British troops on American soil.
The Royal Army soon turned into an oppressive occupying force, trampling colonists' rights.
In September of 1774, Dr. Joseph Warren wrote the Suffolk Resolves.
British statesman Edmund Burke cited them as a major development in colonial animosity, eventually leading to the Declaration of Independence.
The Suffolk Resolves stated:
"That it is an indispensable duty which we owe to God, our country, ourselves and posterity, by all lawful ways and means in our power to maintain, defend and preserve those civil and religious rights and liberties, for which many of our fathers fought, bled and died, and to hand them down entire to future generations ...
and that the inhabitants of those towns and districts ... do use their utmost diligence to acquaint themselves with the art of war as soon as possible, and do, for that purpose, appear under arms at least once every week."
On October 26, 1774, the Provincial Congress of Massachusetts reorganized their defenses with one-third of their regiments being "Minutemen," ready to fight at a minute's notice.
This followed the example of the earliest known militia in history - Ancient Israel, where every man was armed and always ready at a moment's notice to defend his wife and children, and his community.
When the Jews were rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, "the builders, every one had his sword girded by his side."
The common men who joined David in exile were armed, "archers using both the right and left to sling stones and shoot arrows" and "experts with the shield and spear."
E.C. Wines wrote in Commentaries on the Laws of the Ancient Hebrews, with an Introductory Essay on Civil Society & Government (NY: Geo. P. Putnam & Co., 1853):
These communities were orderly, coherent and effective social units ... All this was achieved without armies, without police power ... without any functioning central authority ...
This achievement may seem miraculous ...
Communities were governed from within by the inherited Law and the individual was governed from within by his own religio-legal conscience ...
This was not Rousseau's Social Contract; it was the Sinai Covenant which ... sprang from religious devotion ... It is conscience which makes citizens."
"New Englanders intensely self-identified with ancient Israel - from the first days of settlement in early 17th century (Israel in the wilderness) to the days of the American Revolution, when New England's 'black regiment' of clergymen incited the Revolution as a religious duty,
and described the thirteen American colonies as the modern version of the twelve confederate tribes of Israel ...
... Thus, ancient Hebrew militia law is part of the intellectual background of the American militia system, and of the Second Amendment ...
Every male 'from the age of twenty years up, all those in Israel who are able to bear arms' ... were obliged to fight, to go forth 'armed to battle.' Men who failed this duty 'sinned against the Lord.'
Although God may work miracles ... the righteous ... may never force God's hand by demanding a miracle-putting good people in danger and expecting God to protecting them ..."
"Israel's military system was 'based on the duty of every able-bodied male to bear arms and serve.'
... Israel relied on a militia, in which citizen soldiers would spend most of their time cultivating their farms, or engaged in other economic production, and would fight only for limited periods (ideally, after the harvest), and only when necessary ...
Similarly, during the American Revolution, most men served in their state militias, rather than the Continental Army.
Thus, they were most able to keep their farms in production, and other economic activity in progress.
This was an important reason why the United States was able to economically sustain a war that lasted eight years."
"A million British working men now have rifles in their bedrooms and don't in the least wish to give them up ...
Even as it stands, the Home Guard could only exist in a country where men feel themselves free.
The totalitarian states can do great things, but there is one thing they cannot do: they cannot give the factory-worker a rifle and tell him to take it home and keep it in his bedroom.
THAT RIFLE HANGING ON THE WALL OF THE WORKING-CLASS FLAT OR LABOURER'S COTTAGE, IS THE SYMBOL OF DEMOCRACY. IT IS OUR JOB TO SEE THAT IT STAYS THERE."
"Another purpose of the Hebrew militia system was the decentralization of power, for the preservation of liberty. The Etz Hayim, (a modern conservative Jewish version of the Pentateuch with commentary), explains
'Deuteronomy does not intend that the Israelites maintain a standing army ... Instead, they are to have a civilian army, or militia, mobilized at times of need ...
Reliance on a militia rather than a standing army for military needs is another example of Deuteronomy's dispersal of power among different officials ...'"
"In Battles of the Bible, Chaim Herzog (a former President of Israel) and Mordechai Gichon (a professor of military history at Tel Aviv University) summarized how the militia system preserved popular participation in the government:
'The people in arms formed the national assembly of initially sovereign peoples ... Ancient Jewish society ... never gave way to absolutism. The 'people' always remained ... a body with influence on the affairs of state.
This fact was instrumental not only in the preservation of the people in arms as the mainstay of the Israelite armed forces until the destruction of the First Temple (586 BC) ... but also in the apparent readiness of the Israelites to bear the constant burden of military preparedness' ...
If Western Civilization can be said to be founded on two pillars of 'Athens and Jerusalem,' the Jewish pillar matches the Greek pillar in recognizing the importance of an armed people in preserving liberty through service in a militia of all free and able-bodied men."
"Will not a well disciplined militia afford you ample security against foreign foes? We want (lack) not courage; it is discipline alone in which we are exceeded by the most formidable troops that ever trod the earth ...
A well-disciplined militia is a safe, an honorable guard to a community like this, whose inhabitants are by nature brave, and are laudably tenacious of that freedom in which they were born.
From a well-regulated militia we have nothing to fear; their interest is the same with that of the State.
When a country is invaded, the militia are ready to appear in its defense; they march into the field with that fortitude which a consciousness of the justice of their cause inspires ..."
Hancock revealed Americans:
"... fight for their houses, their lands, for their wives, their children ... for their liberty, and for themselves, and for their God ...
We have all one common cause ... the security of the liberties of America. And may the same kind Providence which has watched over this country from her infant state still enable us to defeat our enemies! ...
And let us play the man for our God, and for the cities of our God; while we are using the means in our power, let us humbly commit our righteous cause to the great Lord of the Universe, who loveth righteousness and hateth iniquity ... By a faithful and unwearied discharge of our duty to our country, let us joyfully leave our concerns in the hands of Him who raiseth up and pulleth down the empires and kingdoms of the world as He pleases; and with cheerful submission to his sovereign will, devoutly say ... 'We will rejoice in the Lord, we will joy in the God of our salvation.'"At New Hampshire's Ratifying Convention, Harvard President Samuel Langdon gave an address "The Republic of the Israelites an Example to the American States," stating:
"The Israelites may be considered as a pattern to the world in all ages."
In their ratifying statement, New Hampshire delegates reaffirmed: "Congress shall never disarm any Citizen."
"You ... are placed by Providence in the post of honor, because it is the post of danger ... The eyes not only of North America and the whole British Empire, but of all Europe, are upon you.
Let us be, therefore, altogether solicitous that no disorderly behavior, nothing unbecoming our character as Americans, as citizens and Christians, be justly chargeable to us."
"Resistance to tyranny becomes the Christian and social duty of each individual ... Continue steadfast, and with a proper sense of your dependence on God, nobly defend those rights which heaven gave, and no man ought to take from us."
"We most solemnly, before God and the world, declare, that, exerting the utmost energy of those powers, which our beneficent Creator hath graciously bestowed upon us, the arms we have been compelled by our enemies to assume, we will, in defiance of every hazard ... employ for the preservation of our liberties; being with one mind resolved to die freemen rather than to live slaves ...
With a humble confidence in the mercies of the Supreme and impartial God and Ruler of the Universe, we most devoutly implore His divine goodness to protect us happily through this great conflict."
"Under God, we are determined that wheresoever, whensoever, or howsoever we shall be called to make our exit, we will die free men."
"A man’s limbs (by which for the present we only understand those members which may be useful to him in fight, and the loss of which alone amounts to mayhem by the common law) are also the gift of the wise Creator, to enable him to protect himself from external injuries in a state of nature.
To these therefore he has a natural inherent right; and they cannot be wantonly destroyed or disabled without a manifest breach of civil liberty."
"We have appointed a Continental fast. Millions will be upon their knees at once before their great Creator, imploring His forgiveness and blessing; His smiles on American Council and arms."
"The colonists were therefore driven to the necessity of taking up arms, to repel force by force, and to defend themselves and their properties against lawless invasions and depredations."
"Whereas, the unwise and iniquitous system of administration obstinately persisted in by the British Parliament and Ministry against the good people of America hath at length driven the latter to take up arms as their last resource for the preservation of their rights and liberties which God and the Constitution gave them."
"Every man who enjoys the protection of society to be prepared ... to defend it ... The militia ... at all times ... shall be armed ... and in readiness for service.
That all such of the inhabitants of this State being of the people called Quakers as, from scruples of conscience, may be averse to the bearing of arms, be there from excused by the legislature; and do pay to the State such sums of money, in lieu of their personal service."
"All men, have an equal, natural and unalienable right to the free exercise of religion ... That the people have a right peaceably to assemble together ... That the people have a right to freedom of speech and of writing, and publishing their sentiments ...
That the people have a right to keep and bear arms."
"That the people have a right to bear arms, for the defense of themselves and the State."
"The foundation of everything is ... that the people will form an equal representative government ... that the people will be universally armed ...
A people that legislate for themselves ought to be in the habit of protecting themselves."
"Of the liberty of conscience in matters of religious faith, of speech and of the press; of the trial by jury of the vicinage (neighborhood) in civil and criminal cases; of the benefit of the writ of habeas corpus; of the right to keep and bear arms ...
If these rights are well defined, and secured against encroachments, it is impossible that government should ever degenerate into tyranny."
"... whenever two-thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or ... the Legislatures of two-thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments which, in either case ... when ratified by the Legislatures of three-fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three-fourths thereof."
"A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of THE PEOPLE to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."
"Well-regulated" means in "proper working order."
"We believe that the constitutional right to bear arms is primarily a collective one, intended mainly to protect the right of the states to maintain militias ... The ACLU therefore believes that the Second Amendment does not confer an unlimited right upon individuals to own guns."
"A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of (the people) 'THE STATE MILITIA' to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."
"On every question of construction, carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed."
"The term 'the people' is better understood as a rhetorical counterpoint 'to the government' ... that rights that were reserved to 'the people' were to protect all those subject to 'the government' ...
The Bill of Rights did not purport to 'create' rights. Rather, they designed the Bill of Rights to prohibit our government from infringing rights and liberties presumed to be pre-existing."
"'The people' protected by the Fourth Amendment, and by the First and Second Amendments, and to whom rights and powers are reserved in the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, refers to a class of persons who are part of a national community ...
The Fourth Amendment's drafting history shows that its purpose was to protect the people of the United States against arbitrary action by their own government."
"The right of citizens to bear arms is just one more guarantee against arbitrary government, one more safeguard against the tyranny which now appears remote in America, but which historically has proved to be always possible." (David T. Hardy, The Second Amendment as a Restraint on State and Federal Firearms Restrictions; Kates, ed., Restricting Handguns: The Liberal Skeptics Speak Out, 1979)
“A man’s rights rest in three boxes: The ballot box, the jury box and the cartridge box.”
"Let me tell you why I’m a defender of the Second Amendment. I was a little girl growing up in Birmingham, Alabama, in the late fifties, early sixties. There was no way that Bull Connor and the Birmingham Police were going to protect you.
And so when White Knight Riders would come through our neighborhood, my father and his friends would take their guns and they’d go to the head of the neighborhood, it’s a little cul-de-sac and they would fire in the air, if anybody came through. I don’t think they actually ever hit anybody. But they protected the neighborhood.
And I’m sure if Bull Connor had known where those guns were he would have rounded them up. And so, I don’t favor some things like gun registration."
"The Anti-federalists feared that the Federal Government would disarm the people in order to disable this citizens' militia, enabling a politicized standing army or a select militia to rule.
The response was to deny Congress power to abridge the ancient right of individuals to keep and bear arms, so that the ideal of a citizens' militia would be preserved. (Pp. 22-28) ...
The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home. (Pp. 2-53) ...
The operative clause's text and history demonstrate that it connotes an individual right to keep and bear arms. (Pp. 2-22)."
"The ultimate authority ... resides in the people alone ... The advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation ... forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition ...
In the several kingdoms of Europe ... the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms."
"And that the said Constitution be never construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the press, or the rights of conscience; or to prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms."
"What, sir, is the use of a militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty ...
Whenever Governments mean to invade the rights and liberties of the people, they always attempt to destroy the militia, in order to raise an army upon their ruins."
"Shakespeare starts by assuming that to make yourself powerless is to invite an attack. This does not mean that everyone will turn against you ... but in all probability someone will. If you throw away your weapons, some less scrupulous person will pick them up."
"Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the Act depriving a whole nation of arms as the blackest."
"America is the hope of every enslaved man, because it is the last bastion of freedom in the world. Only America has the power and spiritual resources to stand as a barrier between militant Communism and the people of the world.
It is the last 'dike' holding back the rampaging flood waters of militant Communism. If it crumples, there is no other dike, no other dam; no other line of defense to fall back upon ..."
"America is the last hope of millions of enslaved peoples. They look to it as their second fatherland. In it lies their hopes and prayers. I have seen fellow-prisoners in Communist prisons beaten, tortured, with 50 pounds of chains on their legs-praying for America ... that the dike will not crumple; that it will remain free."
American Minute is a registered trademark of William J. Federer. Permission granted to forward, reprint, or duplicate.
Image Credits: Public Domain; Henry Hudson Kitson: Minuteman wikidata:Q16509689 reasonator:Q16509689; Artist: Henry Hudson Kitson (1865–1947) Blue pencil.svg wikidata:Q1606892; Object type: sculpture Concord Minuteman, photograph of the statue representing Captain John Parker sculpted by Henry Hudson Kitson and erected in 1900. This statue in Lexington, Massachusetts is commonly called "The Lexington Minuteman." It is often confused with the Daniel Chester French statue The Minute Man in nearby Concord; Inventories of American Painting and Sculpture control number - 77000639; Date: 1900; Object location: 42° 27′ N, 71° 14′ W; Inventories of American Painting and Sculpture control number: 77000639; This is a retouched picture, which means that it has been digitally altered from its original version. Modifications: Cropped to subject, levels. The original can be viewed here: Minute Man Statue Lexington Massachusetts.jpg: Minute Man Statue Lexington Massachusetts.jpg. Modifications made by Hohum; The author died in 1947, so this work is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 75 years or fewer. This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published (or registered with the U.S. Copyright Office) before January 1, 1928. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Minute_Man_Statue_Lexington_Massachusetts_cropped.jpg
Brilliant analysis of the absurdity of the redefining and application of the ACLU terms of “the people.”