Recently, I’ve come across a wonderful website on Southern history and culture called the Abbeville Institute. I heartily recommend this site for its unique vision of America. It acts as a corrective both to the very anti-Southern history we were taught and to the Progressive vision of America in general. One of the best things this organization does is to undercut so many of the assumptions Progressive philosophy has caused us to believe.
The Abbeville Institute highlights that the South’s tradition is so much more than poor race relations and slavery. After all, the South gave us George Washington, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, George Mason, James Monroe, and so many other figures who shaped our nation. Without George Washington, the Revolutionary Army would have been ineffective and disbanded before Patriot victory. Many of the other Southern Founders were responsible for giving the Federal government a more federal character and less of one powerful central government–as men like Alexander Hamilton wished it to have. (I firmly believe that the Constitution benefited from both impulses, the central and the local, and we would live in a far different country without both political schools.) In many ways, much of the best in American heritage has its roots in the South.
A friend of mine requested this article, and I could not be more happy to write on this topic. In many ways, modern culture has rendered obsolete the concept that the militia consists of all male citizens between fifteen and fifty. The need to know how to fight has been relegated to soldiers and policemen–the professionals. However, back in the 18th century and prior, martial skill and some familiarity with weapons was a must for any man who did not wish to become a victim. A man needed to defend his community from all manners of foes, ranging from wild beasts to predatory government officials. While a man in the modern world will not likely have to deal with either of these extremes, it still behooves a man to condition himself through martial training.
The purpose of the Second Amendment has been forgotten by all except the most conservative. Target shooting, hunting, and even personal defense were not on the Founding Father’s minds when they drafted it. Instead, it was intended to enable the average citizen to resist a tyrannical government. Impossible for this to occur in modern-day America? Perhaps, they thought this impossible in Germany, China, Russia, and other places in the 20th century. With our own government taking to itself more and more powers and creating laws which flout Constitutional procedures, can we really be so sure that a tyrant shall not try to place his boot on the necks of freedom-loving Americans in the near future? Thus, one cannot encourage enough the study of that weapon of the free man–the rifle.