In 1860, the United States of America was sliding into disunity. The previous year John Brown of Kansas briefly captured the Federal Arsenal at Harper’s Ferry. Brown and his small band of followers were stopped and captured by U.S. Marines led by Col. Robert E. Lee. On December 2, 1859, Brown was hung at Charles Town, Virginia but not before he made this ominous prediction, “I, John Brown, am now quite certain that the crimes of this guilty land will never be purged away but with blood. I had, as I now think, vainly flattered myself that without very much bloodshed it might be done.”
1860 was an election year in the United States. It was to be the most unusual election in American history. Many Americans sensed that it would be a watershed election that would change the course of American history. Four men ran for the office of the Presidency. The Democrats had split into a northern wing led by Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois and a southern wing led by the incumbent Vice President John Cabell Breckinridge.
John Bell of Tennessee, a slaveowner, ran under the banner of the Constitutional Union Party, which took a neutral stance on the issue of slavery. Finally, another politician from Illinois, Abraham Lincoln, a Springfield lawyer was the candidate of new Republican Party.
The issue of the day was over the spread of slavery into new states across the continent. The pro- and ant-slavery forces had struggled with this issue for decades, fashioning a number of compromises but never solving the problem. Then in 1857, the Supreme Court in its famous Dred Scott decision tried to put a stop to all of the wrangling. But it only increased the fever-pitch of emotions on both sides of the question.
The South saw the possible election of Abraham Lincoln as a harbinger of things to come. They expected that he would attempt to free the slaves and by doing so destroy their plantation-based economy. When he was elected, the various southern states began to secede from the Union.
On December 20, 1860, South Carolina left the United States. The secession document declares “that the Union now subsisting between South Carolina and other states under the name of the ‘United States of America’ is hereby dissolved.”
By early February, the seven seceded states, South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas formed a “permanent federal government” in Montgomery, Alabama. Four more states would join them within two months: Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee and North Carolina. On April 12, 1861, Confederate forces fire on Fort Sumter and the war that would last for four bloody years had begun.
You’re probably wondering what this history lesson means to modern Americans. Just this: Americans will fight for something that they believe in. If the American Civil War is any indication of the passions that can stir Americans then Barack Obama should some some fear and trepidation. Civil War can and has taken place here. It is not unthinkable.
Obama either doesn’t understand the American psyche or believes that he can disregard the wishes of many Americans. The eleven Confederate states were outnumbered by more than three to one. Yet, they splintered the United States Army and pushed the national government to the abyss of defeat.
Barack Obama acts like the Pharaoh in the Ten Commandments who says, “So let it is written, so let it be done.” He has repeatedly has violated the Constitution and federal laws with impunity. Now he has decided to contravene the Second Amendment of the Bill of Rights. After all, it seems that he managed to mangle the First Amendment’s Freedom of Religion clause with his contraception mandate.
Now he has decided that working with the Congress is such a slow and rancorous process, he will change the Constitution by the use of Executive Orders. His goal seems to be the disarmament of the American people. After all, even though he has framed the argument as the protection of innocents, he really understands that the Second Amendment was written to protect the citizenry from an overbearing government.
That’s right, the founders were suspicious of government. After all, their own British government had sent regiments of red-coated Regulars to the American colonies in a vain attempt to suppress the liberties of free citizens. Troops were quartered in American homes and camped on town greens. The only defense were the colonists themselves.
The right to bear arms is one of the oldest right in the English-speaking world. English and Welsh yeoman were required to practice their archery skills every Saturday on the village greens. At the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, English and Welsh longbowmen destroyed the flower of French chivalry, causing between 7,000 to 10,000 casualties against the loss of 112 men.
When the colonists came to these shores they knew that they would need to use their marksmanship skills to defend themselves and provide food for their families. America was founded by men and women who carried a long rifle in one hand and farmer’s tools in the other. From the very first colonist to step onto this soil to modern times, the right to bear arms is one of the central tenets of our Bill of Rights.
But Barack Obama sees the world through a different lens. He sees it through the eyes of his father, the Kenyan revolutionary. The imperative to disarm America will be one of the most important goals of his second term. Once he moves to disarm America and confiscate its weapons, he will find out that Americans will fight for their Constitutional rights with a fervor he did not anticipate.