Thursday, August 01, 2013

"Slaves and paupers do not fit in well with a populace armed and ready for defense."

...In the earlier days of this nation the border states were by no means secure from invasion. It was considered necessary to the public safety that all men should be prepared to protect themselves and their homes, and their right to bear arms was secured to them in the constitution. But all the ablebodied citizens of a state comprised its militia. Every man drilled. There were regular training days, which were also holidays for all the people. The right of the people to keep and bear arms was not to be infringed, and they were all on an equal footing. The militiamen were at the same time producers, tradesmen, citizens. There was never a thought that some would turn against the others or that any occasion could arise which should make foemen and defenders out of the same body.

   But as business grew and the system of privilege and monopoly thrived artificial inequalities, such as enormous aggregations of wealth, powerful corporations and consequent poverty, became factors in society. The rich found it would no longer do to trust to all the people for security. A nation of equally armed and drilled people is dangerous material out of which to make drudges and victims. Slaves and paupers do not fit in well with a populace armed and ready for defense. Enormous fortunes cannot be made without making slaves and paupers. So the argument was advanced that all the people could not give their time and attention to purposes of defense, and it was urged that a class be set apart and trained with that object, leaving the others free to pursue their callings undisturbed. The argument prevailed. The people's right to keep and bear arms was infringed. They have been disarmed and an armed class set over them....

[Little Falls Weekly Transcript, Little Falls, Morrison County, Minn., May 25, 1894. Pg. 2 - "The Modern Militia"]

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