Friday, June 15, 2012

Those Damned Insurrectionists

Historian Walter Borneman has an article in today's Wall Street Journal on the War of 1812. Borneman is the author of "1812: The War That Forged a Nation". He is also the author of "The Admirals: Nimitz, Halsey, Leahy, and King" which I am in the process of reading.

Borneman's article discusses Congress' declaration of war on Great Britain and the political fallout from it. Generally, it split along party lines with the Federalists being opposed to war and the Jeffersonian Republicans in favor of it.
While the war issue in 1812 was not rigidly defined along party lines, Federalists generally opposed the war while Jeffersonian Republicans (forerunners of Andrew Jackson's Democrats) favored it. Two years later, the most antiwar of the Federalists went so far as to convene at Hartford, Conn., and debate constitutional amendments designed to weaken the central government. Some insist that they debated outright secession.
What amuses me about this is that Ladd Everitt of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (sic) considers himself one of the world's leading experts on James Madison and his political writings and thoughts. He is also of the firm belief that the Federalists never meant for the Second Amendment to protect an individual right to bear arms.

I wonder what Ladd would have to say about his collective right Federalists being, in his words, "insurrectionists". That, by the way, is the epithet that he and his boss Josh Horwitz throw at those of us who hold that the Second Amendment is both an individual right to keep and bear arms as well as a bulwark against a tyrannical government.


  1. I'm reading on and off Six Frigates: The Epic History of the Founding of the U.S. Navy. Its scope includes the high level politics, and it too mentions this depth of the Federalist's discontent.

  2. Tell Ladd to buzz off. Every last one of the founding fathers were "insurrectionists."

  3. @hga: That sounds like a book I'd like to read.

    @rkv: Of course they were insurrectionists! Without their insurrection, so to speak, we'd still be playing God Save the Queen as our national anthem.

  4. John Richardson: It's quite good; can get tedious at bits depending on your interests because it's very comprehensive, covering everything from what happened in the nation's capital to on the ships. How they were constructed and why they were so good, the back and forth of their fortunes as the party in power changed (Jefferson and company preferred to lay them up until needed as an economy measure, which didn't work very well, they also came up with some crazy concepts). The actions against the Barbary pirates, our strange relationship with the British (they were all for us wailing on the pirates but there was that whole poaching each other's seamen ... irritation), lots and lot of neat stuff. And all rather foundational for the country, which is after all a maritime empire.