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Tradewinds July 2014 Web Final

July 2014

Joe Forbes can be

Joe Forbes can be conacted at 252-335-5568 Or at HISTORY OF THE RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS FOR SELF-DEFENSE Part 8 Next Month The fundamental right to self defense is ancient, and can be traced to the Bible e.g. Exodus 22:2-3. The individual right to possess arms to enforce that right existed prior to the English Bill of Rights of 1689, which re-affirmed the rights of protestants “to have arms for their defense (those rights having previously been stripped by King James.) In his Commentaries of the Law in England, the famous jurist Blackstone organized rights as either “absolute”, meaning belonging to the person, or “relative”, meaning belonging to those within the institution of society. Blackstone defined the right to bear arms for defense as “absolute”. Blackstone went on to declare that this right extended to “the natural right of resistance and self-preservation, when the sanctions of society and laws are found insufficient to restrain the violence of oppression”. Notice that Blackstone specifically refers to the “natural” right to resist oppression. As discussed above, English history to that point had been rife with armed conflict pitting one political faction against another. The political commentators of the day, like Harrington and Neville embraced the idea that arming the people was an antidote to tyranny. The Declaration of Independence itself recites that is not only the right, but the “duty” of the people to “throw off” an oppressive government. “MILITIA” Before delving into interpretation of the term “militia” and all of the inferences derived there from, it is necessary to understand how that term was used historically prior to its selection for use in the Second Amendment. England had a long history of having a citizen army. King Alfred established the institution during his reign from 871-901 A.D. King Henry II decreed the Assize of Arms in 1181 requiring each subject, according to his means, to acquire and maintain arms. Queen Elizabeth I was the first sovereign to require general musters of the citizen army in each county, and it was during her reign that the army began to be called the militia. Militias at the time of the revolution were organized on a state, regional, and even county level. Each presupposed that the individual members furnished their own arms. They had access to those arms because of their innate right to self defense. They may have been under local government control, but they depended on the individual right to bear arms. George Mason said “Who are the militia? They consist now of the whole people, except a few public officers.” In 1792 (a mere four years after ratification) Congress enacted “An act more effectually to provide for the National Defense by establishing an uniform militia throughout the United States” that required: Each and every free able-bodied white male citizen of the respective States, resident therein, who is or shall be of age of eighteen years, and under the age of forty-five years (except as herein after excepted) shall severally and respectively be enrolled in the militia… [and] every citizen so enrolled and notified, shall, within six months thereafter, provide himself with a good musket or firelock, a sufficient bayonet and belt, two spare flints, and a knapsack, a pouch with a box therein to contain not less than twenty-four cartridges, suited to the bore of his musket or firelock, each cartridge to contain a proper quantity of powder and ball: or with a good rifle, knapsack, shot-pouch and powder-horn, twenty balls suited to the bore of his rifle, and a quarter of a pound of powder; and shall appear, so armed, accoutered and provided, when called out to exercise, or into service, except, that when called out on company days to exercise only, he may appear without a knapsack. In all of these usages, the very definition of the word “militia” depends on the members supplying their own arms. Without an individual right to bear arms, there could be no militia. Modern interpretation of the Second Amendment on both sides of the issue tends to focus solely on the “well regulated” clause, and forget the undeniable truth that the militia concept was based on the individual right to arms. POLITICAL BACKDROP OF THE FRAMING OF THE CONSTITUTION Ultimately, the Articles of Confederation proved to be unwieldy if not downright ineffective. There were numerous failures in all areas of government: foreign trade, the monetary system, and the inability to protect shipping. But the failure of Congress under the Confederation to respond effectively to Shay’s Rebellion in 1786 led to a growing demand for a standing army to deal with such problems in the future. This “enforcement” power of the central government was at the heart of the debate over the drafting of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The men who met to form the new Constitution had good reason to fear the excesses of a strong central government and a standing army. There was no debate among them about those dangers, which history had repeated over and over. But they had to craft some form of both without leaving the rights of the people open to oppression. The Anti-Federalists feared not only interference from the central government in state affairs but an outright military takeover as well. The Federalists dismissed their fears as hysteria. (For an in-depth understanding of the arguments on both sides, read The Federalist Papers.)

EDENTON, N.C. -- Even in a town’s earliest days, there is a need for rules and justice. An archaeological investigation at the 1767 Chowan Courthouse Green July 28 to 31 will search for the town’s first courthouse, built in 1718. “We know there was a courthouse,” says Assistant State Archaeologist John Mintz. “We will try to determine the exact location.” Mintz will work with Shawn Patch from New South and Associates, to investigate the site. Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) will be used to determine the best place to undertake the archaeological excavation and how deep to explore. The GPR readings will determine where the work is done. After completing the excavation the Courthouse Green will be carefully restored to its original beauty. A generous donation from Piedmont Natural Gas to Chowan County makes this investigation possible. “Documents tell us that the 1718 courthouse was a wooden frame building, roofed with shingles and plastered inside, built at a cost of £287,” Site Manager Karen Ipock explains. She says there is a description of the building from visiting Virginia aristocrat William Byrd. “After a visit to Edenton in 1728, Byrd observed, ‘Justice herself is but indifferently Lodged, the courthouse having much the air of a Common Tobacco- House.’Work was done on the original courthouse into the 1750s, so it probably stood until the new courthouse was constructed and opened in 1767. Additional information will benefit the site, the Town of Edenton and Chowan County. “It would be nice to know more about how the original building functioned, the exact site and size, and about the foundation,” Ipock continues. “We know the Courthouse Green has always been a center of activity where the militia drilled, markets were set up on court days, and town gatherings were held, so we hope for evidence of these activities as well.” For more information, please contact Site Manager Karen Ipock at (252) 482-2637. Historic Edenton is within the Division of State Historic Sites in the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources. Nancy Nicholls Chowan County TDA PO Box 245 Edenton NC 27932 252-482-0300 800-775-0111