Civil Rights and the Second Amendment
By The Common Room on May 29, 2014
Little known fact about the second amendment and the South- at least, I didn’t know this, and it’s quite interesting to me: By the 1850’s, the perceived threat that had prompted the inclusion of the Second Amendment in the Bill of Rights — the fear that the National Government would disarm the universal militia—had largely faded as a popular concern, but the right to keep and bear arms was highly valued for purposes of self-defense. Abolitionist authors wrote in support of the right. And when attempts were made to disarm “Free-Soilers” in “Bloody Kansas,” Senator Charles Sumner, who later played a leading role in the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment, proclaimed that “[n]ever was [the rifle] more needed in just self-defense than now in Kansas.” Indeed, the 1856 Republican Party Platform protested that in Kansas the constitutional rights of the people had been “fraudulently and violently taken from them” and the “right of the people to keep and bear arms”had been “infringed.”After the Civil War, many of the over 180,000 African Americans who served in the Union Army returned to the States of the old Confederacy, where systematic efforts were made to disarm them and other blacks. . . .
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