Loaded: A Disarming History of the Second Amendment

Socialism 2018

July 05, 2018

Killing, looting burning villages and fields, raping, and terrorizing Indigenous communities were traditions in each of the colonies long before the Constitutional Convention. “Militias,” as in government-controlled units, were institutionalized by Article I, Section 8, Clause 15 of the U.S. Constitution, and were used to officially invade and occupy Native land. But the Second Amendment (like the other ten amendments) enshrined an individual right. The Second Amendment’s language specifically gave individuals and families the right to form volunteer militias to attack Indians and take their land. Later, as racial slavery was institutionalized in the late 17th century, slave patrols were drawn from these militias. Both expansion into Ohio Valley Indian territory and maintenance of chattel slavery were primary objectives of secession from Britain. The purpose of the book is toexplore those questions. Instead of dismissing the Second Amendment as antiquated and irrelevant, or as not actually meaning what it says, the book argues that understanding the purposeof the Second Amendment is key to understanding the gun culture, police culture, and militarism of the United States, and possibly the key to a new consciousness about the lingering effects of settler-colonialism and white nationalism. It explore various ways in which a dangerous gun culture has accelerated in the United States since the 1970s. Loaded is a history of the Second Amendment’s connection to that culture, and a reflection on how the violence it has spawned has deeply influenced the character of the United States.

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