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In the discussion thread: Countering the Heller dissent [View all]

Response to discntnt_irny_srcsm (Reply #20)

Tue Apr 28, 2015, 02:34 PM

21. George Washington, not so populist

d/i/s: (If you have some source that claims Washington meant 'A free people ought not be armed...', please add that link to the various sources of BS.)

GWashington, as an early american elitist, did not think all americans deserved any individual right to bear arms, outside of militia service as per the 2ndA militia centric view. He didn't even think much of militia, though post war he was conciliatory to a well regulated militia, thinking it would eventually be improved so as to be effective.

Re, GW's 'a free people ought not only to be armed' etc: That's from his first annual address to Congress on January 8, 1790. Reading through Washington's speech, it can clearly be seen that when Washington is talking about "a free people," he means the union as a whole should be well-prepared for any threat to the country. He wasn't talking about people being armed and ready to fight their own representatives. http://blogs.houstonpress.com/news/2012/04/george_washington_guns_quote.php?page=2

Washington was well known among the wealthy, political, and military elites for his charismatic and magnetic personality, however, he was so far removed from the ordinary citizens who made up the militia that it appears they thought him a tyrant. Washington continued for years to meet this same opposition, and sometimes open defiance of his leadership style

Washington did concede that he felt if the men had better officers – certainly this meant the British style officers he so admired – they would fight better. However, he could not bring himself to leave out his personal assessment and included one of his usual barbs, “although they are an exceeding dirty & nasty people

Still fewer, including Washington, acknowledged the fact the militia units were not armed with muskets which would accept a bayonet, the tool which was to ultimately drive the enemy from the field and thus guarantee victory.

GW quote: To place any dependence upon militia, is, assuredly, resting upon a broken staff. Men just dragged from the tender scenes of domestic life - unaccustomed to the din of arms - totally unacquainted with every kind of military skill, which being followed by a want of confidence in themselves when opposed to troops regularly trained, disciplined, and appointed, superior in knowledge, and superior in arms, makes them timid and ready to fly from their own shadows. Letter to the president of Congress, Heights of Harlem (24 September 1776)

In order to bring Washington’s prejudice against the militiamen based on their socioeconomic place in society, to light, a comparison of two other groups considered at the bottom rung of colonial society should be considered. Whether full or mixed-blood, Africans and Indians were looked down upon as something short of human beings. Blacks were regarded as property and typically discussed by Washington only in that setting. Oddly, he often relegated the militiamen to menial labor that he also used slave labor for, such as erecting or tearing down forts. http://www.distant-clansman.com/george-washington-militia-lower-class/

The discrimination Washington showed toward the militia appeared to be obvious to a great many of the men. They felt the sting of Washington’s tyrannical treatment and his loathing which seemed directed at them personally, and they left in such masses that it caused Washington to become ever more punitive. Washington reported that on any given night twenty or more men would desert,

The Whiskey Rebellion broke out in Western Pennsylvania, but was put down by New Jersey, Maryland, and Virginia militias. After this event, Washington saw the need for a standing army. http://www.ushistory.org/germantown/people/washington.htm

Shay’s and the Whiskey Rebellion. In both uprisings the rebels were the same revolutionary militiamen in armed protest of their economic status. Perhaps fed by economic depressions which directly lead to rebellions, Washington recognized that his job as president included improving the lot of the lower classes. In 1785 he addressed one aspect of their improvement, their education, but only to the extent they would be taught the skills which would keep them laboring in menial professions. They had their place in society and he had his. He was as content with the status quo as he had been in the 1750s.

{note jimmy did not write this! but endorses it, & brava on your mea culpa}: .. when you use bogus quotes, misrepresentations or information from disreputable sources, all you're doing is making your position look like one that is held by idiots and liars. "Research before repost" should be your motto. If it's important enough to put on your timeline, it's important enough to Google.

it would be counterintuitive – as well as anti-historical – to believe that Madison and Washington wanted to arm the population so the discontented could resist the constitutionally elected government. In reality, the Framers wanted to arm the people – at least the white males – so uprisings, whether economic clashes like Shays’ Rebellion, anti-tax protests like the Whiskey Rebellion, attacks by Native Americans or slave revolts, could be repulsed.
However, the Right has invested heavily during the last several decades in fabricating a different national narrative, one that ignores both logic and the historical record. In this right-wing fantasy, the Framers wanted everyone to have a gun so they could violently resist their own government. To that end, a few incendiary quotes are cherry-picked or taken out of context.

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discntnt_irny_srcsm Apr 2015 OP
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jimmy the one Apr 2015 #21
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