Profile picture
Josh Fruhlinger @jfruh
, 19 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
sorry for the hashtag thread, but something i've been thinking about a LOT lately is how REACTIVE the bill of rights was and how completely we've divorced it from its historical context
i think most people genuinely think of the bill of rights (and the constitutional generally) as something our infinitely wise founding fathers sat down and came up with derived from philosophical first principles
in fact the bill of rights is basically a list of things that the british government did in the colonies in the 1760s and '70s that the colonists (or the colonial political elites anyway) saw as illegitimate
the british shut down newspapers, broke up demonstrations, jailed people without trial, ignored habeaus corpus, tortured people
these were things that the colonists (and their intellectual compatriots in britain) assumed the government shouldn't, or even COULDN'T do, and they helped spark the revolution
a big part of the reason they weren't in the constitution in the first place is that the more philosophical minded thought these were "natural" rights and that writing them down would be restricting
other more practical ppl pointed out that we thought they were "natural" before 1776 too, and wanted them on legally binding paper
a couple very specific amendments really reflect the political atmosphere in the 1760s and '70s. one is the 3rd, forbidding quartering of troops in private homes
i don't know enough about 18th century europe to know if this was common practice there. but we do know that the british did in in the colonies and the colonists HATED it. probably it was common practice in occupied territories, a big reason to hate it
it was new in the 1760s b/c the british hadn't maintained big standing armies in its north american colonies before the french & indian war. which brings us to the other very specific amendment
the british colonies were a frontier society engaged in more or less continuous low-level guerilla warfare against the indiginous people that they had only incompletely displaced. in the south, that society also depended on large populations kept enslaved by force
w/out a standing army, these threats were met by militias made up of most of the adult men in any given community, organized by the local government but armed w/their own private weapons
but as the elites who ran local governments became more and more alienated from the british regime, the militias became a threat to central authority, so the british disarmed them, or at least attempted to
in essence, the british thought it was more important to protect their own authority than to allow individual communities to protect themselves from slave revolts and indian raids. (perhaps they assumed things would go back to normal once politics had calmed down)
that's what the second amendment is about. it says it right there in the first clause, "a well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state..."
(to the 18th century colonial elite, "savages" were a threat to freedom and liberty, just like an oppresive central government)
i don't think all the 2nd amendment folks are ignorant of this. a lot of them see your right to defend your suburban house from intruders as morally equivalent to defending your small frontier town from hostile native americans
to me though it's just shows the 2nd amendment is about as relevant as the 3rd. armies no longer billet in private homes because that's just not how you run armies anymore. and we don't need everyone to have a gun b/c that's not how we defend our communities agains threats
Missing some Tweet in this thread?
You can try to force a refresh.

Like this thread? Get email updates or save it to PDF!

Subscribe to Josh Fruhlinger
Profile picture

Get real-time email alerts when new unrolls are available from this author!

This content may be removed anytime!

Twitter may remove this content at anytime, convert it as a PDF, save and print for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video

1) Follow Thread Reader App on Twitter so you can easily mention us!

2) Go to a Twitter thread (series of Tweets by the same owner) and mention us with a keyword "unroll" @threadreaderapp unroll

You can practice here first or read more on our help page!

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just three indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member and get exclusive features!

Premium member ($3.00/month or $30.00/year)

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!