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The Mythic Meanings of the Second Amendment – Taming Political Violence in a Constitutional Republic - Yale Scholarship Online
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The Mythic Meanings of the Second Amendment: Taming Political Violence in a Constitutional Republic

David C. Williams


The Second Amendment, which concerns the right of the people to keep and bear arms, has been the subject of great debate for decades. Does it protect an individual's right to arms or only the right of the states to maintain militias? This book offers a new reading of the Second Amendment: that it guarantees to individuals a right to arms only insofar as they are part of a united and consensual people, so that their uprising can be a unified revolution rather than a civil war. The author argues that the Second Amendment has been based on myths about America—the Framers' belief in American unity ... More

Keywords: Second Amendment, arms, militias, revolution, civil war, Framers, American unity, political violence, diversity, cultural ideal

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2003 Print ISBN-13: 9780300095623
Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013 DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300095623.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

David C. Williams, author