Citizen Soldier! (by Act of Congress)

A Little History Lesson

As this country was being founded, there were those who wanted to deprive the citizenry of their guns. There were others who wanted only a Militia of the whole body of able-bodied men for defense of the country. The final consensus was that, in terms of control by the federal government, there would be a small standing army for national defense, an organized militia, and the remaining able-bodied men would comprise the unorganized militia. The statesmen and women who founded this country felt very strongly that the populace should be armed and ready to spring to the defense of their country against foreign invaders and, if necessary, their own tyrannical government. The founders own writings show that the situation to be feared most is tyranny from within. They realized that many people will vote for comfort rather than liberty, unless the choices are put very plainly.

On June 17, 1775 General Howe set out from Boston with 2,200 men to face 1,600 American Militiamen on Breeds Hill. By that afternoon, Howe had defeated the Americans and driven them from the field. The Americans had killed 226 British troops and wounded 828. British General Clinton wrote that another such victory "would have ruined us." The British had discovered that Americans with guns were dangerous!

In June of 1777, General John Burgoyne set out from Fort St. John's with 4,000 British, 3,000 Germans, 1,400 Indians and a mistress. His plan was to move south along Lake Champlain, destroying the Americans along the way. Burgoyne's forces routinely defeated the American forces along the way, until he was so depleted that he surrendered at Saratoga on October 17, 1777. Americans with guns were proving themselves even more dangerous.

During the latter half of the nineteenth century, the towns and villages in the West were generally safer than the cities in the East. This was so despite the fact that almost everybody in the West went armed at all times. It was common, even past the middle of the 1900's, for restaurants and cafes to have a rack just inside the door for customer's hats, coats and guns. Children were taught to handle guns safely and to respect the people around them, because they might get shot to rags if they got too far out of line. Bandits and desperadoes were dealt with harshly and usually hid out far from civilization because the average, domesticated town would and could rise up in arms against them. A large town could be controlled by a single Sheriff or Marshall and a deputy or two, not because these men were so good (many of them were), but because the towns-people would back them up with armed assistance.

Americans with guns are dangerous. They are also safe!

Last Update: 04/24/96
Web Author: ec roberts
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