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Full-Text Articles in United States History

How The British Gun Control Program Precipitated The American Revolution, David B. Kopel Jan 2012

How The British Gun Control Program Precipitated The American Revolution, David B. Kopel

David B Kopel

Abstract: This Article chronologically reviews the British gun control which precipitated the American Revolution: the 1774 import ban on firearms and gun powder; the 1774-75 confiscations of firearms and gun powder, from individuals and from local governments; and the use of violence to effectuate the confiscations. It was these events which changed a situation of rising political tension into a shooting war. Each of these British abuses provides insights into the scope of the modern Second Amendment.

From the events of 1774-75, we can discern that import restrictions or bans on firearms or ammunition are constitutionally suspect — at least if ...


The Right To Arms In The Living Constitution, David B. Kopel Jan 2010

The Right To Arms In The Living Constitution, David B. Kopel

David B Kopel

This Article presents a brief history of the Second Amendment as part of the living Constitution. From the Early Republic through the present, the American public has always understood the Second Amendment as guaranteeing a right to own firearms for self-defense. That view has been in accordance with élite legal opinion, except for a period in part of the twentieth century.

"Living constitutionalism" should be distinguished from "dead constitutionalism." Under the former, courts looks to objective referents of shared public understanding of constitutional values. Examples of objective referents include state constitutions, as well as federal or state laws to protect ...


The Catholic Second Amendment, David B. Kopel Jan 2006

The Catholic Second Amendment, David B. Kopel

David B Kopel

At the beginning of the second millennium, there was no separation of church and state, and kings ruled the church. Tyrannicide was considered sinful. By the end of the thirteenth century, however, everything had changed. The Little Renaissance that began in the eleventh century led to a revolution in political and moral philosophy, so that using force to overthrow a tyrannical government became a positive moral duty. The intellectual revolution was an essential step in the evolution of Western political philosophy that eventually led to the American Revolution.


The Scottish And English Religious Roots Of The American Right To Arms: Buchanan, Rutherford, Locke, Sidney, And The Duty To Overthrow Tyranny, David B. Kopel Jan 2005

The Scottish And English Religious Roots Of The American Right To Arms: Buchanan, Rutherford, Locke, Sidney, And The Duty To Overthrow Tyranny, David B. Kopel

David B Kopel

Many twenty-first century Americans believe that they have a God-given right to possess arms as a last resort against tyranny. One of the most important sources of that belief is the struggle for freedom of conscience in the United Kingdom during the reigns of Elizabeth I and the Stuarts. A moral right and duty to use force against tyranny was explicated by the Scottish Presbyterians George Buchanan and Samuel Rutherford. The free-thinking English Christians John Locke and Algernon Sidney broadened and deepened the ideas of Buchanan and Rutherford. The result was a sophisticated defense of religious freedom, which was to ...


The Religious Roots Of The American Revolution And The Right To Keep And Bear Arms, David B. Kopel Jan 2005

The Religious Roots Of The American Revolution And The Right To Keep And Bear Arms, David B. Kopel

David B Kopel

This article examines the religious background of the American Revolution. The article details how the particular religious beliefs of the American colonists developed so that the American people eventually came to believe that overthrowing King George and Parliament was a sacred obligation. The religious attitudes which impelled the Americans to armed revolution are an essential component of the American ideology of the right to keep and bear arms.


The Evolving Police Power: Some Observations For A New Century, David B. Kopel, Glenn Harlan Reynolds Jan 2000

The Evolving Police Power: Some Observations For A New Century, David B. Kopel, Glenn Harlan Reynolds

David B Kopel

A review of state and federal courts decisions on the scope of state police powers suggests that the shift from the more restrictive sic utere principle to the more open salus populi principle may be reversing, with courts -- at least in cases involving sex and marriage -- taking a much more skeptical view of government objectives and justifications.


Relativism, Reflective Equilibrium, And Justice, Justin Schwartz Jan 1997

Relativism, Reflective Equilibrium, And Justice, Justin Schwartz

Justin Schwartz

THIS PAPER IS THE CO-WINNER OF THE FRED BERGER PRIZE IN PHILOSOPHY OF LAW FOR THE 1999 AMERICAN PHILOSOPHICAL ASSOCIATION FOR THE BEST PUBLISHED PAPER IN THE PREVIOUS TWO YEARS.

The conflict between liberal legal theory and critical legal studies (CLS) is often framed as a matter of whether there is a theory of justice that the law should embody which all rational people could or must accept. In a divided society, the CLS critique of this view is overwhelming: there is no such justice that can command universal assent. But the liberal critique of CLS, that it degenerates into ...