Well, this is another exception. That’s right this is original reporting and as with the last time, this is kind of a blockbuster. You see a few months ago I was walking in my neighborhood doing (I live in Northern Virginia) and I noticed something poking up out of the dirt. I got curious and so I dug it up a little more and saw it as some kind of wooden box. When I saw the date on it, 1789, I immediately called George Mason University’s History Department. I mean I was a History major, but it’s not like I was trained to recover artifacts, if it was indeed genuine. And needless to say I was pretty skeptical. I was able to obtain the help of Professor Cynthia A. Kierner, and frankly she did most of the work fully excavating it, and then cleaning it up and opening it. Inside was a series of pages that she immediately recognized as a pair of letters written the secret code that James Madison and Thomas Jefferson used when communicating with each other.
You see, you may not know this, but mail wasn’t very secure back then, so Jefferson and Madison (and others) used a code when communicating. That way if their correspondence was intercepted, they would still be the only ones who could read it. A little more analysis revealed that this was indeed correspondence between Jefferson and Madison, a pair of letters, discussing the proposed Bill of Rights. When she told me that, you could have knocked me over with a feather. I kept saying, “for real?” like a dork. But indeed, she even ran carbon dating and verified that it was written in the time period. It appeared to be genuine, which made my history geek heart go all a flutter.
And Dr. Kierner was kind enough to translate the code and found that the letters were previously unrecorded! No one had ever seen these before! So this was a real find, folks! And she was willing to let me break some of the most interesting news coming from this at my site. So as they say:
EXCLUSIVE: MUST CREDIT ALLERGIC TO BULL!
The first letter was dated February 5, 1789 and it was from Jefferson to Madison. It starts with the usual introduction and then gets to the meat of things:
It is good, James, that you have come around to my view that this new Constitution needs a Bill of Rights. And it should be a great improvement over the English Bill of Rights, because it will be part of the Constitution, and thus enjoy additional protection from the judicial department as such. I have also applied my mind to the task of writing a provision to protect the right to bear arms. This should probably be inserted into the original constitution itself, in the first article, in the ninth section, wherein explicit limitations on the powers of Congress are already contained.
I should break in here a moment and note that originally the plan was to actually insert these amendments into the constitution itself so that it would literally read differently than it did before. But somewhere along the way, they instead adopted the plan of tacking the new provisions on to the end. Some of the founders thought this would imply some kind of denigration of those amendments, an inferiority to the original Constitution, but I don’t think that fear has been borne out and it would have been too weird if suddenly the very text of the Constitution itself was officially changed, instead of added on to as is the practice. It would be anachronistic to say it would feel Orwellian, but that is definitely where my queasiness comes from.
Jefferson goes on:
I believe that this proposed language has the best chance of making it clear to future generations what this amendment means and why it is so important. I fear that our children or our grandchildren, not having felt the yolk of tyranny will not understand it as we do, and so I hope to impart our wisdom to them.
After all, this is what the Constitution is about. It is about passing on what we have learned to generations untold so they can better protect themselves from all dangers this nation might face.
And then the really cool part. Jefferson provided his proposed text. But let me save it for the end, and get to the second letter.
The second letter, dated March 27, was from Madison to Jefferson. After the usual greetings, asking how he was doing (and do I get the feeling he wants to ask about Sally Hemmings and it is just too awkward? An interesting hypothesis that I expect Dr. Kierner to explore), Madison responds to Jefferson’s draft. He wrote:
I think the first sentence is very good. But the second sentence... doesn’t this go without saying, Thomas? I mean if future generations do not understand it, then they are truly lost. It means that they have not only failed to read the Constitution, but the Declaration of Independence, too, or to understand even in a most elementary way how our nation came to be free and independent. If the people of the several states should ever be that lost, a few extra words in the Constitution isn’t going to do them that much good.
And really, Thomas, was that last word necessary? It is beneath the dignity of this document.
Still the first sentence is very good, and I will probably borrow significantly from it when I make the proposal this coming May before Congress.
Which I can imagine is leaving you with breathless anticipation. What did the first sentence say that he liked? What did the second sentence say that he decided to chuck?
Well, without any more ado and exclusive to this site, from the first letter, Jefferson’s original proposed draft of what became the Second Amendment, after the break:
A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. That means that just having finished throwing off British rule and being concerned that this new government might also become tyrannical, and believing also in the moral but not legal right of rebellion as explained in the Declaration of Independence, we aren’t giving up our guns, stupid.
Which is admittedly pretty stunning and...
No, not really. Yes, every bit of this post up until this paragraph has been a lie, a joke. The only truthful thing is there is apparently a GMU Professor Cynthia A. Kierner, but she has never had any communication with me. I figured that kind of detail would add verisimilitude as would the truthful detail that they communicated in code.
No, it’s all a joke, but like many of my jokes, there is a point to it, which is to hammer home just how obvious I think the meaning of the Second Amendment really is.
And yeah, if you are following me on twitter, you already saw a greatly shortened version of this joke.
My wife and I have lost our jobs due to the harassment of convicted terrorist Brett Kimberlin, including an attempt to get us killed and to frame me for a crime carrying a sentence of up to ten years. I know that claim sounds fantastic, but if you read starting here, you will see absolute proof of these claims using documentary and video evidence. If you would like to help in the fight to hold Mr. Kimberlin accountable, please hit the Blogger’s Defense Team button on the right. And thank you.
Follow me at Twitter @aaronworthing, mostly for snark and site updates. And you can purchase my book (or borrow it for free if you have Amazon Prime), Archangel: A Novel of Alternate, Recent History here. And you can read a little more about my novel, here.
I have accused some people, particularly Brett Kimberlin, of reprehensible conduct. In some cases, the conduct is even criminal. In all cases, the only justice I want is through the appropriate legal process—such as the criminal justice system. I do not want to see vigilante violence against any person or any threat of such violence. This kind of conduct is not only morally wrong, but it is counter-productive.
In the particular case of Brett Kimberlin, I do not want you to even contact him. Do not call him. Do not write him a letter. Do not write him an email. Do not text-message him. Do not engage in any kind of directed communication. I say this in part because under Maryland law, that can quickly become harassment and I don’t want that to happen to him.
And for that matter, don’t go on his property. Don’t sneak around and try to photograph him. Frankly try not to even be within his field of vision. Your behavior could quickly cross the line into harassment in that way too (not to mention trespass and other concerns).
And do not contact his organizations, either. And most of all, leave his family alone.
The only exception to all that is that if you are reporting on this, there is of course nothing wrong with contacting him for things like his official response to any stories you might report. And even then if he tells you to stop contacting him, obey that request. That this is a key element in making out a harassment claim under Maryland law—that a person asks you to stop and you refuse.
And let me say something else. In my heart of hearts, I don’t believe that any person supporting me has done any of the above. But if any of you have, stop it, and if you haven’t don’t start.
It is amazing that that stupid English GIT was arguing with an American on one of these cable networks that NOBODY watches and was adamant that the 2nd amendment couldn't possibly have been to protect Americans against the emergence of a tyrannical government.ReplyDelete
These idiots still want us to believe the 2nd amendment is about hunting or anything else but citizens protecting their freedoms from a tyrannical central government.
It is like the revolution never happened or something...