Preface: Presently there are at least two 2nd Amendment threads running, both of which are the rhetorical and philosophical equivalent of guerilla warfare, and, while I find the discourse interesting, frankly, I just don't have the patience (or the time; it's stupidly time-using to keep apace of "who's who," what "so and so" said and what I said in "thread 1" and "thread 2," etc.) for the repetitiveness, convenient "cream skimming" and organizational incoherence of that style/structure (or more aptly, structureless) of discussion. Thus I have created this thread to respond to several members remarks. The OP is part one of a multi-part essay. I've had to break the essay into multiple posts because of the forums character limits and because for some reason, I cannot add attachments to my posts. Thread Discussion Topic: Pragmatic, cultural and political etiologies of the Founders cognition on the 2nd Amendment and their allegorical germanity to present day originalist argument based on the right to bear arms as a check against tyranny in all its forms: tyrannical government excess, tyranny of the/a minority and tyranny of the majority. Main Post: Fairly often I see in the popular press, on Internet blogs, and forums gun rights advocates' vestigial originalist arguments that support of opposing various gun control measures on the grounds of something or other having to do with what the Founders intended. Sometimes the argument (more often a bald assertion, but I'm not going to dwell on that inadequacy at this point) the defense against tyranny. On other occasions, it's the individual rights assertion. To be sure, there's some measure of merit to both those arguments; however, on no occasion have I come by arguments that representationally faithfully consider both the Anglo-American historical contexts -- social/cultural, political, governmental, economic and, to a small extent, diplomatic -- inherent to the citizenry's access to firearms and the differences between those contexts and those today extant. It's repeatedly "this happened" and "that happened." Well, yes, those events happened, but in what context and is that context comparable in all or most material respects to today's? This essay presents those contexts as they apply to militias as a check against tyranny. It is not structured to be an argument, per se, but rather as a rubric. Foundation of the notion a citizen army: (Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England in Four Books. ) William Blackstone attributed the development to Alfred the Great, asserting: "It seems universally agreed by all historians, that King Alfred first settled a national militia in this kingdom, and by his prudent discipline made all the subjects of his dominion soldiers ...." More recent historical research suggests that the early militia, or Fyrd, can now be traced at least to A.D. 690; indeed, it is likely that "the obligation of Englishmen to serve in the Fyrd of people's army is older than our oldest records." By Medieval law, "every land holder was obligated to keep armour and weapons according to his rank and possessions; these he might neither sell, lend nor pledge, nor even alienate from his heirs." This concept differed radically from the Continental feudal system, which revolved around mounted, armed and armoured combatants and limited the right of armament; thus the duty of fighting in defense fell to a relatively small and wealthy class. The early feudal system obviated, then, all impersonal need for most citizens -- anyone not a member of the peerage -- to possess sophisticated weapons of the day. The feudal system was, however, highly decentralized, and it suffered from the consequences thereof -- raids, frequent changes in land control/ownership, profitability constriction, etc. On the other hand, not being a peer had its advantages, not the least of which being that when a phalanx of mounted soldiers thundered in one's direction, getting out of their way was generally enough to ensure one's survival for one's lord was their target. Moreover, as a commoner, though life wasn't exactly great, it wasn't likely to get materially worse or better regardless of who was the lord to whom one was beholden, and the conquering lord was, if he won the battle, equally in need of one's labors as was one's current lord of manor. It was an agrarian economy, and commoners were the folks who knew the tricks of the trade to working the land, making arms and armor, building structures, where to find game, etc. A couple hundred years after The Fall, however, things began to change. Two hundred or so years later, the changes become permanent. (Why'd it take "so long?" Mainly, literacy was low and communications were slow. "Figuring things out," politics, personality and prudence, of course, played a role too.) Note: I recommend reading this -- The Structure of Blackstone's Commentaries -- which is effectively annotations to Commentaries, before or concurrently with reading Commentaries; doing so makes Commentaries somewhat more accessible. (Yes, I know, many folks aren't accustomed to reading two documents in order to fully grasp the content of one of the two. Be that as it may, read the methodological approach to beginning on page 219 first and then return to the beginning if you are going to read "Structure.") One will find this section's content in Commentaries; however, I've attempted to provide other source that strike me as better suited to casual readers of history and political science/political philosophy, but don't let that dissuade you from reading Blackstone for I know of no better compendium that describes the legal and social culture of post-Roman England. King Alfred (871-899) declares all citizens the king's soldiers, thus solidifying the notion of citizens being obliged to defend their country, and concomitant with this obligation was the burden to produce one's own arms. Norman Conquest imports Continental feudalism with material revisions, effected by William the Conqueror, to mitigate a key flaw of feudalism whereby lords/vassals and knights, members of the peerage, owed the duty of military service not to the nation, polity/citizenry, national sovereign or government, but immediately and only to the individual who had granted them land in exchange for their service, thus homage. It was furthermore possible for one to owe service to multiple lords, two or more of whom were at odds with one another. William's solution was to have all swear fealty to him. Consideration of the structure of feudal homage established on the Continent the political tension that, in turn, effects checks and balances against the excesses of any given lord. Lord A couldn't very well wage too disruptive a war with Lord B if material quantities of both lords' vassals were dually beholden, to say nothing of there possibly being yet another lord to whom their vassals were also trothed. The result was thus similar to the domestic political infighting (interparty and intraparty) we observe today, albeit generally with less bloody outcomes. William's solution solved a variety of problems caused by feudalism's multiplicity of loyalties, but it expanded the opportunity for later leaders to "get too big for their britches" and become tyrants. Why'd William's vassals swear fealty to him? Well, because there's absolutely no reason to object to a dictator with whom one sees eye to eye. The man led his people in the conquest of an entire country, and as a Catholic, created a huge growth opportunity for Christianity. There was land aplenty, and that was just fine with everyone in the agrarian economy that resulted. Henry II added structure to the arms production requirement, defining the nature and extent of arms one was required to produce on one's own behalf. (Original text, ff you prefer, is here: Assize of Arms (Ass Arms) ) Edward I reaffirmed earlier assizes and added the requirement that "anyone else who can afford them shall keep bows and arrows."