Historical background: The Second Amendment

Following the American Revolution (1765-1783) and the United States becoming independent from British rule, there was a general climate of distrust of government power in the US.

During the drafting of the US Constitution, federalists believed the Constitution would be enough to guarantee the balance of powers between state and federal governments. However, anti-federalists argued for the need of an additional Bill of Rights. As a result, a compromise needed to be reached to preserve the Union.

One of the founding fathers of the US Constitution, James Madison, was particularly aware of a potential abuse of power and became concerned about how the federal government and the federal army could be kept in check so that they couldn’t abuse their power. He came to the conclusion that local state militias could pr...

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