The Body of the People: Regulation
Does the Second Amendment in the U.S. Bill of Rights protect a "right to insurrection" wherein armed protestors or regulators can check the government without dissolving it outright? An extended examination of events that influenced political and popular opinion before and after the American Revolution provides a better understanding of how the Founders and "the people" viewed actions against government from regulation to revolution to rebellion. This first article uses case studies from North Carolina and the New Hampshire Grants to examine the patterns and actions of popular dissent that were used by the people to regulate government before the American Revolution. Read Full Article
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Citizen-Soldiers, Part I: Creating a well-regulated Militia
In 1792, the first national legislation detailing the organization of the state militias, the Uniform Militia Act, was enacted after years of debate. Questions of local vs central authority, local need vs uniformity, required service vs substitution, and general militia vs select militia were just a few of the recurring issues. The history of the militias illustrates that they worked best locally but never attained their esteemed goal of making every citizen a soldier for their country in times of need. Read Full Article
Citizen-Soldiers, Part II: Volunteer Militias and the National Guard
Americans idealized the militia as protectors of liberty and guardians of the citizens during the revolution but as the country grew, the general militias proved too unwieldy and disorganized to maintain. The state governments increasingly favored volunteer or select militias who advocated for federalization which led to the development of the National Guard. Several of the country’s Founders thought a select militia training system was unavoidable but the National Guard is far more federalized than the reforms proposed by George Washington and Henry Knox and directly challenges the balance of power between state and federal governments. How did the National Guard effectively replace the general militia? Read Full Article