Friday, May 28, 2021

For the Record: Gaetz's Rebellion


Scuffle outside the Springfield, Massachusetts courthouse, 1786; 19th-century wood engraving, Granger Academic.

And in the end Henry, the Charles Grassley or Susan Collins of his day, didn't vote for it anyway, though he did deign to serve as an elector in the first presidential election. And that is the short version of how we got the 2nd Amendment, and why it's ultimately pointless to argue over what its real purpose was. It's really the artifact of a messy political process that was focused on something entirely different, which was in fact creating a central government strong enough to put down an insurgency, whether of tax protestors or enslaved people, depending on what you happened to be afraid of at the moment (Henry was afraid of the slaves, Jefferson was afraid of the English, Hamilton was afraid of the French, and Washington was afraid of the veterans who had never gotten their pay). Also, in the long run, Henry was right: It took 75 years, but somebody finally did "look at that paper" and find that it permitted abolishing slavery. LOL. It's really a kind of stupid accident that never did much harm, until conservatives started taking it up as one of those fear weapons they use to get votes from relatively poor people.

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