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View Diary: Is the 2nd Amendment Really Intended as a Safeguard from Tyranny? (95 comments)

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    backell, Sharon Wraight


    This left only Virginia. The stakes were enormous. Not only was Virginia critical as a possible ninth state, but because it was the largest[73] and one of the most prosperous and respected states[74] -- the home of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison, among others -- it was by no means clear that the United States could succeed without it.[75] However, the prospect of Virginia's ratification was uncertain.[76] Madison would serve as the principal advocate for ratification, and no one understood the new Constitution better than Madison. Yet the opposition was equally formidable.


    The anti-Federalists were prepared to raise any argument that would win votes against ratification.[79] Their strongest ally was fear, and they raised a multitude of concerns about the potential calamities under the new Constitution.[80] Among these was one topic about which Virginia was already concerned and fearful -- the subject of slavery.[81]


    One of Virginia's main concerns was that the federal government would abolish or directly interfere with the slave system. During the Constitutional Convention, Pierce Butler of South Carolina declared: "The security the Southn. States want is that their negroes may not be taken from them which some gentlemen within or without doors, have a very good mind to do."[82] Most believed that question had been settled in Philadelphia. The Southern states had made it plain that they would not join the Union if emancipation was an open issue and insisted that the Constitution protect the slave system.[83]

    Though the Constitution did not do so expressly, it included a number of provisions directly related to slavery. Taken together, these provisions evidenced an agreement that neither Congress nor the Northern states[84] would attempt to interfere with slavery in the South. [85] Most believed this was sufficient. Charles [Page 328] Pinckney, one of South Carolina's delegates to the Constitutional Convention, went home and told the state house of representatives:

    We have a security that the general government can never emancipate them, for no such authority is granted and it is admitted, on all hands, that the general government has no powers but what are expressly granted by the Constitution, and that all rights not expressed were reserved by the several states.[86]
    Others wanted this principle expressly included in the Constitution and would soon seize upon the opportunity to include such a provision in a bill of rights. A little over a year later, for example, William L. Smith of South Carolina wrote a letter urging adoption of a proposed bill of rights because "if these amendts. are adopted, they will go a great way in preventing Congress from interfering with our negroes after 20 years

    Denial is a drug.

    by Pluto on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 02:24:33 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

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