Tuesday, June 11, 2013

"They should also be made acquainted with their rights as citizens . . . such as the right to keep and bear arms"

   "5 Reading, writing, arithmetic, and geography, having been thus duly taught, every schoolboy should be intelligibly instructed in the rights and duties of an American citizen. To this end, his teacher should be familiar with the history of our country; and not only with the great principles which are peculiar to our national compact, but with those still greater and immutable principles on which all rational liberty is founded. He should be required to spread out before his school, at proper intervals, the story of the American revolution; the doings and associations of that eventful period; and the sacrifices and sufferings at the expense of which that most hazardous struggle was maintained. Every spot should be designated upon the map, and made familiar to the pupils' eyes, where the blood of our fathers flowed out like water. They should learn on what principles, by what concessions, and for what ends, our constitutions were established. They should also be made acquainted with their rights as citizens--that they may know them well and feel their value--whenever they shall come to that honourable and responsible station--such as the right to keep and bear arms; the right of exemption from searches and seizures by warrant; the right to be presented and indicted by a grand jury before being held to answer for any infamous offence; the right of being but once put in jeopardy of life or limb for the same offence; the right of trial by jury; the right respecting excessive bail, excessive fines, and cruel and unreasonable punishments; the right of conscience, of the press, and of speech; the right of assembling and petitioning government, with its wholesome limitations; and the right of the citizens of each state to all the privileges and immunities of the citizens of the several states.

   "The possession of these rights, and the intelligent consciousness that they are possessed, and are worth maintaining, should be recognized as vital principles in the education of every American lad. We are aware that very few of our common-school teachers are at all competent to give instruction of this kind; but public sentiment required it, provision would soon be made to qualify them; and there are, probably, few topics that would combine more interest and profit than these, if presented in the form of lectures or discussions, of five or ten minutes' duration, at every session of the school." [THE AMERICAN QUARTERLY REVIEW. SEPTEMBER AND DECEMBER, 1836. VOL. XX. PHILADELPHIA: PRINTED AND PUBLISHED BY ADAM WALDIE. 1836. Pg. 322-23]

No comments: