Citizen-Soldiers, Part II: Volunteer Militias and the National Guard
Even before the American Revolution was over, Americans idealized the militia as protectors of liberty and guardians of the citizens. But the militias never became a sustainable replacement to a standing army. As the country grew, the general militias proved too unwieldy and disorganized and state governments increasingly favored volunteer or select militias who advocated for federalization. This federalization campaign led to the development of the National Guard. Almost immediately, the favored status of the National Guard by state and federal governments diminished and eliminated the viability of using the general militia system. Ironically, several of the country’s Founders thought a select militia training system was unavoidable and desirable and the National Guard has proven to be an effective defensive and supportive force. However, the National Guard is far more federalized than the reforms proposed by George Washington and Henry Knox and directly challenges the balance of power between state and federal governments. How did the National Guard effectively replace the general militia? Why did state governments prefer a federalized force instead of maintaining their own? Read Full Article
Missed the past articles in this series? Click below to catch up!
Citizen-Soldiers, Part I: Creating a well-regulated Militia
In 1792, the first national legislation detailing the organization of the state militias, the Uniform Militia Act, was enacted after years of debate. Questions of local vs central authority, local need vs uniformity, required service vs substitution, and general militia vs select militia were just a few of the recurring issues. The history of the militias illustrates that they worked best locally but never attained their esteemed goal of making every citizen a soldier for their country in times of need. Read Full Article
Judicial Interpretation of the Second Amendment
Opinions by the United States Supreme Court, Federal Circuit Courts, and State Supreme Courts shows that judicial interpretation of the Second Amendment has supported all three dominant interpretations of this contentious right. This historical review of noteworthy cases illustrates that the Second Amendment was not always interpreted directly or clearly and justices and judges frequently responded to the influences of contemporaneous events and opinion in support of "reasonable regulation." Read Full Article