CHAPTER 12

How Fears of Abolition Shaped the Second Amendment

Give me liberty or give me death.

-Patrick Henry

Article 1, Section 8, of the proposed Constitution had southern slave owners concerned about the future of their economy.

As discussed earlier, slavery can exist only in the context of a police state, and the enforcement of that police state was the explicit job of the militias.

If the antislavery folks in the North could figure out a way to disband those southern militias—or even just to move the militias out of the states—the police state of the South would collapse. And, similarly, if the North were to invite into military service the slaves of the South, then they could be emancipated, which would collapse the institution of slavery—and ...

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