The history of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights is most interesting. This article is written to explain the purpose of the second amendment as intended by the people of 1791.
May 1787 found George Washington and a host of early American heroes gathered in Philadelphia to modify the Articles of Confederation. The Articles of Confederation joined the states together for their common defense, the security of their liberties, and their mutual and general welfare. Each state retained its sovereignty, freedom, and independence. The Articles were to be perpetual and could only be changed by the unanimous vote of all states. Soon, the men gathered at the Pennsylvania statehouse decided to draft an entirely new constitution that would establish a "more perfect union." This new Constitution was sent to the states to be ratified, and the American people were divided between the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists.
Patrick Henry is the most famous Anti-Federalist. Patrick Henry knew that the catchy phrase, "A more perfect union" meant a more powerful central government. Patrick Henry also knew the Articles of Confederation were to remain forever and only could be modified by the unanimous consent of the states. Patrick Henry said, "I smell a rat."
A key to understanding history is to realize the winners write the history books.
The people of 1787 still bore the wounds of their struggle with the strong central government of King George and greatly feared the creation of another strong central government.
The Constitution was soon accepted by Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia and Connecticut. But opposition mounted in the other states. The Anti-Federalists demanded protection of individual rights to be codified in the Constitution. With the promise of a Bill of Rights, most of the remaining states joined the Union.
On Dec. 15, 1791, the Bill of Rights was presented to the states for their approval. The Preamble of the Bill of Rights states that the purpose of the Bill of Rights is to restrict the power of the federal government and to protect the American people from the abuse of power by the federal government.
The Second Amendment guaranteed not only the individual's right to be well-armed, but was also the guarantee that individuals acting collectively could resist any oppressive federal government that might develop. Many feared a standing army under the control of a strong federal government.
The 28th and 46th Federalist papers are a must-read for all freedom-loving Americans. These letters assure the people of New York that our greatest protection from an overly powerful Federal Government is a well-armed citizenry.
Patrick Henry believed the greatest defense against an overreaching federal government was that every man must be armed. Those that tell us the Second Amendment is our guarantee to go duck-hunting are either liars, ignorant, or both.
The framers of the Constitution considered the Second Amendment as America's final defense against an overreaching federal government.