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The Militia and the Right to Arms

How the Second Amendment Fell Silent, Constitutional Conflicts
Narrated by: Bob Barton
Length: 10 hrs and 23 mins
3 out of 5 stars (5 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In The Militia and the Right to Arms, or, How the Second Amendment Fell Silent, Uviller and Merkel show how postratification history has sapped the Second Amendment of its meaning. Starting with a detailed examination of the political principles of the founders, the authors build the case that the amendment's second clause (declaring the right to bear arms) depends entirely on the premise set out in the amendment's first clause (stating that a well-regulated militia is necessary to the security of a free state). The authors demonstrate that the militia envisioned by the framers of the Bill of Rights in 1789 has long since disappeared from the American scene, leaving no lineal descendants. The constitutional right to bear arms, Uviller and Merkel conclude, has evaporated along with the universal militia of the eighteenth century.

Using records from the founding era, Uviller and Merkel explain that the Second Amendment was motivated by a deep fear of standing armies. To guard against the debilitating effects of militarism, and against the ultimate danger of a would-be Caesar at the head of a great professional army, the founders sought to guarantee the existence of well-trained, self-armed, locally commanded citizen militia, in which service was compulsory. By its very existence, this militia would obviate the need for a large and dangerous regular army. But as Uviller and Merkel describe the gradual rise of the United States Army and the National Guard over the last two hundred years, they highlight the nation's abandonment of the militia ideal so dear to the framers. The authors discuss issues of constitutional interpretation in light of radically changed social circumstances and contrast their position with the arguments of a diverse group of constitutional scholars including Sanford Levinson, Carl Bogus, William Van Alstyne, and Akhil Reed Amar.

©2002 Duke University Press (P)2014 Redwood Audiobooks

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Great background

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

With all of the people either trashing the 2nd amendment, or supporting it, what is very obvious is that neither side really knows much about the topic. This book, while a little clumsy, offered a great background to the topic. Again, not meant to be pro or against the argument, the book simply lays out the facts, which are then open to interpretation.

4 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Danander11
  • 11-01-18

A 10 hour too long justification against the 2A

I started off hoping for something better than this..

The authors started out by stating that they would deliver an "un-biased" look at militias and the 2nd amendment. Within ten minutes however, that was out the door. They stated that the 2A no longer was relevant to individual rights, (or anything else), nor applicable because the 2A was only there as a mechanism of the Militia.. Then went on to describe repeatedly, often, that militias were no longer relevant because the states had ceded authority back to the federal govt. by agreeing to have a National Guard. Therefore, No militia requirement needs no personal arms requirement. And that is the entirety of this book.. The only reason that I did not return it is so that I might leave this review and warn others away from it..

There is, in fairness, a bit of history of militias, but there is far more that is wrong.. admitted paraphrasing of the 2A, a fair bit of 'reading the minds' of the framers to place things into a context that supported their claim of no personal rights, and more.

A terrible justification for a denial of the "slumbering' 2A.

If you are stupid and cannot gather your own reasons and info for your dislike of the 2A to debate anyone, then this book is for you. You'll still lose your arguments, but you might feel better about yourself.