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This Chapter provides a sample of the arguments that various philosophers have offered for or against arms possession and about appropriate constraints on the use of arms Many of the readings in this Chapter are part of the intellectual background of the Second Amendment These include material from ancient Greece and Rome Part B the JudeoChristian tradition Part C and European political philosophy Part D Other material especially Part A on ancient China was unknown to the Americans who adopted the Second Amendment Yet the same questions that concerned Confucians and Taoists have been at issue throughout historybrbrOne key issue is personal ethics Is it moral to use force or deadly force in selfdefense Does the answer depend on whether the attacker is an individual criminal or a governmental tyrantbrbrThe other major question is the distribution of force Because arms greatly amplify the user's physical force should government have a monopoly on arms possession and use brbrOne theme of this Chapter is the benefits and dangers of militias versus standing armies Standing armies consist of fulltime soldiers usually but not always armed by the state In contrast a militia consists of soldiers who only serve for part of the year or in situations of necessity The rest of the time they maintain their civilian occupations as farmers merchants and so on Usually they supply their own arms A select militia is a hybrid in which militiamen are drawn from a small segment of the population and spend more perhaps all of their time soldiering and may depend on their militia pay for their livelihoods br

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self-defense, right to arms, Confucianism, Taoism, ancient Greece, ancient Rome, Judaism, Christianity, medieval thought, Bodin, Machiavelli

Antecedents of the Second Amendment