sofa king (8,334 posts)
29. "The militia" might just be all citizens.
Depending on what era in which one looks, "the militia" bore a very, very strong resemblance to the levee en masse invoked by revolutionary France at about the same time. For the French, that meant everyone including women, children and old men, were conscripted to defend France for the duration of their emergency.
In 1792, Congress defined the militia as "each and every free able-bodied white male citizen of the respective States, resident therein, who is or shall be of age of eighteen years, and under the age of forty-five years." Service in the militia was directly tied to citizenship--at least for those who fell within the proper age, gender and status of servitude brackets.
Congress can and has changed the exact definition over time, but the bottom line is that the people are responsible for "the common defense," and you can bet your ass that the framers at the time considered the government they were creating as one of the entities from which the people needed to defend themselves.
I would argue that the last time the prospect of "the people" exercising their right to a common defense was the most important thing--perhaps the only thing--that prevented the Bush cabal from extending their stay in Washington indefinitely.
Think about what they did: they entered by virtual coup d'etat, broke every law and convention of decency they felt like breaking, ruled by fear under the veil of wartime secrecy--a war they created out of thin air, I might add--and then just walked away when the Constitution they trampled every fucking day told them it was time to go.
So why did they follow the Constitution on that day, the day they had to leave? I think it is because millions of undocumented firearms in the United States would have pointed squarely at them if they had dared to try to stay. It was a line that even they dared not cross.
So, there's that.