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Letter to the editor: The Second Amendment was written to protect slave owners

Letter to the editor: The Second Amendment was written to protect slave owners

The original intent of the Second Amendment was not freedom, but slavery; the opposite of what many gun advocates say it is. Many founders, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison, owned slaves. James Madison, the man who drafted the Second Amendment, actually, most of the Constitution, was born on a 4,000-acre Virginia plantation with over 100 slaves. When he became president, Madison brought some of his slaves with him to serve in the White House. Although Madison later developed theoretical reservations about slavery, he nevertheless owned slaves all of his life, and he could not escape the political pressure other slave owners put on him.

To get the Constitution ratified, Madison needed the support of southern slave-owning states, particularly his own Virginia, which became a pivotal vote for ratifying the Constitution. Enslaved blacks were the majority in eastern Virginia, and white slave owners lived in constant fear of a slave insurrection. While Madison was drafting the Constitution, the memory of a slave rebellion in Stono, South Carolina, in 1739, was still fresh on everyone’s minds. The rebellion started when some slaves stormed a store that sold guns, decapitated the shopkeepers, and seized guns and powder. Then, they rushed to the streets, cried, “Liberty!” calling for others to join them against their masters. The slave rebellion ended only after the local militia was called to arms, killing dozens in the ensuing battle. To get Virginia to ratify the Constitution, Madison had to address the fear of whites in Virginia.

Wade Sikorski

Baker

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