Interview with David E. Young, Author – Episode #062


NEW Book:

Synopsis of
The Founders’ View of the Right to Bear Arms:
A Definitive History of the Second Amendment

by David E. Young
December 7, 2007

The Founders’ View is a concise history of the Second Amendment that traces
its terms and phrases to their earliest AMERICAN roots and authors. It
presents only the most relevant people, comments, places, and events for a
clear understanding of the Second Amendment from the Founders’ own

The book begins with an examination of the American understanding of
“militia” and “well regulated militia” during the Colonial Era prior to
disagreements with Britain. The colonial militia usage is compared to
defensive measures in Pennsylvania because that colony never relied upon the
militia for defense as all the other colonies had by the 1750s. This
contrast along with later information emphasizes the almost universal
possession of arms by American families.


Next, the constitutional disagreements between Americans and the British
are examined. Violations of rights and the existing constitution as
understood by Americans were the most important events leading to resistance
by the colonists. The early origination in Massachusetts of three related
ideas is emphasized: 1) a well regualted militia of the free men as the
support of free government; 2) a standing army being destructive of liberty
and property; and 3) the civil constitution being dependent upon the
military obeying the civil power. These three concepts became slogans or
mottos of the Revolution as they spread across the colonies and were
incorporated in other contexts, most notably decarations of rights.

George Mason used the well regulated militia language early on in relation
to an all voluntary self-embodying militia association for defense against
government officials and troops. He later incorporates all three of the
above mentioned concepts into the first American Bill of Rights, that of
Virginia. All of the later states adopting bills of rights incorporated
Mason’s triad of related concepts, with some substituting the people’s right
to bear arms for the well regulated militia language. The clear historical
evidence that both forms related to an armed populace capable of defense
against unconstitutional acts of government executed by force is presensted
and documented.

The development of the proposed United States Constitution and rejection of
a bill of rights by the Federal Convention are next addressed. The
tremendous struggle to obtain a federal bill of rights based upon those of
the states during the Ratification Period is carefully examined. Opposing
arms related arguments relied upon by by the Federalists and the
Antifederalits are identified and their importance examined. George Mason’s
contributions to the bill of rights struggle are an essential part of the
development of the Second Amendment. It is he who wrote what became the
clear model for the United States Bill of Rights and the very first
two-clause predecessor of the Second Amendment. The clear evidence for this
and the fact that he based these directly on the state bills of rights is
presented and thoroughly documented.



David E. Young @ GRPC 2007

The details of the development of the ratifying convention predecessors of
the Second Amendment are closely examined, as well as the actions of James
Madison in taking them on to Congress after his election to that body. His
campaign promises are detailed and his actions carrying them out documented.
Congressional development of the Second Amendment’s language is examined
with emphasis on the clear understanding of those involved.

What results is incontrovertible evidence that both clauses of the Second
Amendment developed from language intended to protect an armed populace
against disarmament by government. The expansive and private rights nature
of the right to keep and bear arms is fully documented in The Founders’ View
of the Right to Bear Arms. The historical facts presented indicate that
American’s Second Amendment rights are more fundamental and much more
extensive than previously understood.

The Founders’ View contains two appendices. The first reprints Thomas
Jefferson’s authenticated Official Imprint of the Amendments proposed by
Congress and ratified by the states. The second appendix presents important
facts from a number of Colonial Era defensive laws indicating the general
outlines of who the militia were understood to be. This latter information
is essential because The Origin of the Second Amendment, which is the main
documentary source for The Founders’ View, covers mainly the Constitutional


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