Actor says 2nd Amendment Created to Defend Against Slave Revolts

A meme is going around by a number of people claiming that the Second Amendment — “the right to bear arms” — was put in the Constitution to protect slavery. The following is from actor Danny Glover who spoke to a group of students at a Texas A&M University:

“‘I don’t know if you know the genesis of the right to bear arms,’ he said. ‘The Second Amendment comes from the right to protect themselves from slave revolts, and from uprisings by Native Americans.

“‘A revolt from people who were stolen from their land or revolt from people whose land was stolen from, that’s what the genesis of the second amendment is,’ he continued.

If this is true, then it’s obvious that gun ownership was for protection against what people believed was a threat. If there were fears of Indian uprisings and slave revolts, then you would think that Glover would be lobbying for the right of the people to keep and bear arms rather than for the government to restrict gun ownership. Blacks are as much victims of crimes as are whites. Why should they be left defenseless? It doesn’t matter what the perceived threat is.

That threat today consists of marauding thugs and a potentially power-grabbing and rights-denying federal government that one day might use unrestricted force to impose its agenda on the American people.

Unfortunately for Glover and other mythstorians, the history of the Second Amendment is not rooted in the slave trade. It’s rooted in the threat of political tyranny going back centuries.

“The right to have arms in English history is believed to have been regarded as a long-established natural right in English law, auxiliary to the natural and legally defensible rights to life.”

The 1689 English Bill of Rights included a provision that there would be “no royal interference in the freedom of the people to have arms for their own defence.” Under James II, Protestants were denied the right to bear arms. The 1689 Bill of Rights stated: “Subjects which are Protestants may have Arms for their Defence.”

Debates and laws over bearing arms have a long history in England for some of the same reasons we are debating the topic today. The great English jurist William Blackstone (1723–1780) wrote:

“In these several articles consist the rights, or, as they are frequently termed, the liberties of Englishmen. . . To preserve these from violation, it is necessary that the constitution of parliaments be supported in it’s full vigor; and limits certainly known, be set to the royal prerogative. And, lastly, to vindicate these rights, when actually violated or attacked, the subjects of England are entitled, in the first place, to the regular administration and free course of justice in the courts of law; next to the right of petitioning the king and parliament for redress of grievances; and lastly to the right of having and using arms for self-preservation and defence. And all these rights and liberties it is our birthright to enjoy entire; unless where the laws of our country have laid them under necessary restraints. Restraints in themselves so gentle and moderate, as will appear upon farther enquiry, that no man of sense or probity would wish to see them slackened.”

You can see echoes of our own Constitution in these words. For example, in addition to the right to bear arms, the First Amendment uses the phrase “redress of grievances.” These were viewed as “liberties of Englishmen” that were their “birthright to enjoy.”

Notice that nothing is said about slavery.

Danny Glover and other mythstorians on the Second Amendment should read Stephen P. Halbrook’s That Every Man Be Armed: The Evolution of a Constitutional Right:

“Halbrook traces the right to bear arms from ancient Greece and Rome to the English republicans, then to the American Revolution and Constitution, through the Reconstruction period extending the right to African Americans, and onward to today’s controversies.”

Also see Halbrook’s The Founders and the Second Amendment: The Origins of the Right to Bear Arms that’s “the first book-length account of the origins of the Second Amendment, based on the Founders’ own statements as found in newspapers” from 1768 to 1826.

It didn’t take me long to find these facts. They are available to anyone who wants to take the time to do the research. Glover knows that he’s appealing to low-information voters.



Gary is a graduate of Western Michigan University (1973) and earned his M.Div. at Reformed Theological Seminary in 1979. He is the author of countless essays, news articles, and more than 27 book titles.

Posted in Big Brother, Constitution, First Amendment, Gun Control, Law, Liberalism, Police State, Politics, Second Amendment
  • sockettuem

    Well, consider the source, it is Danny Glover, the same dimwit who thinks Hugo Chavez is a swell guy.

  • Jenny Brown

    First of all, who the hell would even listen to glover especially a REAL AMERICAN…glover is chavez’, (of venezueala), side kick. He has appeared with chavez several times…just like sean penn, they are two communist dictator loving azz hats! I own a gun and I have never owned a damn slave and never intend to. I swear the blacks just can’t get over themselves being black…they have to use the race card at the batting of their eyes….it is getting way too old…they need to get some new material. The black conservatives don’t seem to be threatened by whites or conservatives, but the democrat blacks seem to be…why is that? they are always playing the victim in every scenario. (I did not capitalize glover’s, chavez or penn’s names as they do not deserve any respect)!

  • david286

    He’s got it all back asswards….Throughout much of
    American history, gun control was openly stated as a method for keeping
    blacks and Hispanics “in their place,” and to quiet racial fears.

  • Not_in_Denial

    It’s totally pointless to steer the idiots like Glover toward those who did the scholarly research and wrote books summarizing their findings regarding topics not popular with the left. I’ve gotten into more discussions where the left wanted proof of some particular thing that I was claiming, but they refused to accept the results of my research and Would Not do any research of their own. Why, because they don’t want those pesky confusing facts to enter the discussion, they rely on their emotional responses every time!

  • mg67

    Communism has corrupted Hollywood for years. It’s more in your face today because the movement has grown stronger over the years. “O” talked of fighting communism in this country in his speech, it didn’t mean anything because he doesn’t care about the dead soldiers that fought for our freedom hundreds of years ago and today! Our only hope is the election in 2016 to rid this abomination. In the mien time we need to fight because there’s nothing we can do because we’re stuck with a communist president, the son of a drunk communist!

  • eyemall

    He needs to stick to trying to act and leave history to those who have some sense.

  • Donald

    What an A.. Danny Glover is! It contiunes to amaze me that the miracle water in Hollywood produces such Eienstiens! From Sean Penn to Brad Pitt! If society were to survive based on the passing of thier genes, earth would be void of humans.

  • Dale_G1

    How ironic that an actor that made most of his fame and fortune from a series of movies called “Lethal Weapon” should be such an advocate AGAINST the very thing the titles
    imply. This is why it’s only once in a blue moon we have actors who are intelligent enough
    to get into politics. The rest just keep on working in that “profession” where pretending to be
    someone else is what they do best and occasionally pretend to smarter than they really are
    in “real” life.

  • Lewis

    The 2nd amendment is there to protect we citizens against a tyranical goverment. That is it’s only purpose.

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