More on "well regulated"
Saul Cornell and I just exchanged emails, and with his permission I'll post the gist of it in hopes of some discussion (his comments in italics, suggested by a comment):
>How do you reconcile your recents claim about the meaning of well regulated
with the following evidence
>Hamilton's discussion in the Federalist:
>"If a well-regulated militia be the most natural defense of a free country,
it ought certainly to be under the regulation and at the disposal of that body which
is constituted the guardian of the national security"
Hamilton was a fascist! (grin).
substitute "well-disciplined" for "well-regulated," and the above sentence still makes sense.
I rather suspect that (1) if we'd asked Geo. Mason if his independent Fairfax
militia unit (whatever it was called, the voluntary unit that was formed) was well-regulated,
he's have insisted it was, and (2) if you'd then said, well, that proves
the entire of Virginia can have a well-regulation militia on a voluntary, independent
of government, basis, he'd have said, hell, no!
I think use of the term bridged the gap, in that most of the time well-regulated
and well-regulated by government were synonymous.
Perhaps the use at the time emphasized the objective, whereas in modern speech it
would tend to emphasize the means.
I find the militia idea rather interesting, and quite complex.
1. Militia is seen as absolutely essential to keeping us free.
2. But it must be compelled by the government, since if given a choice, individuals
would find better ways to spend their spare time. Not unusual -- same could be said
of jury duty, and for that matter paying taxes.
3. But the government must be compelled to compel individuals (as by constitutional
requirements), since if given a choice, the government would prefer a standing army
4. But let's no go too far about this! The government might even want a standing
army so badly that it will make the militia duty *too burdensome,* so that everyone
wants to abolish it and substitute an army (see Pat Henry in the VA convention).
By this point, things are getting rather complex in terms of logic.... we must have
a militia that is well regulated, but not *too* well regulated.
I should have counted:
5. Or the government might use conscientious objector exceptions to let a large
part of the population out of the duty and thereby get its standing army. And the
people might cooperate in this by nominal conversion to quakerism. (Elbridge Gerry
in the House).
>The use of the term in the Articles of Confederation
>"every State shall always keep up a well-regulated and disciplined militia"
>Or the discussion of well regulated liberty by John Zubly, a member of the
> "well regulated liberty of individuals is the natural offspring of laws,
which prudentially regulate the rights of whole communities.? By contrast he noted,
?all liberty which is not regulated by law, is a delusive phantom."
He stole that from John Ashcroft... Actually, the entire Classical Republican movement largely centered around ideas, not so much of liberty, as of personal and civic virtue, which government and society must impose upon the individual. Man individually is corruptible and selfish (cf. Calvin). Jeffersonian thought saw the individual as naturally virtuous, and if anything, corrupted by government. While I find the Jeffersonian view more appealing, raising kids has given me a certain sympathy for the Classical Republican view.
>I think the suggestion that well regulated has nothing to do with regulation
and legal control is hard to square with either the context or the evidence properly
weighted. The Regulators who took up arms in Shays' rebellion were pretty well
disciplined, they were certainly not well regulated!
I doubt the 18th century drew a rigid distinction between the two, in a militia context. With the exception of Independent Companies, which were not the militia in the sense of everyone, well-disciplined and organized would have implied trained and organized by the State. It does seem a valid point that in modern speech, well regulated would imply the means (lots of government control, in terms of constraining choices) whereas in 18th century speech it implies the end (people who are trained and organized).
A bit of a digression: I've spent a bit of time studying 18th-19th century drill, which would have formed the bulk of the training. It appears that thru the 7 Years War, the British had no uniform drill -- each regiment's colonel chose his own. This created problems, noted by Wolfe, when the line advanced. Instead of everyone moving at (I forget the spec now) say 55 steps per minute, 22 inches per step, some regiments moved faster or slower than others, and the line got ragged. Throughout the period, people made advances that were the equivalent of inventing a new weapons system. Frederick the Great discovered you could move units on a diagonal. After the rifled musket became practical, and troops could be hit at greater ranges, speeds of advance increased. Doubletime was invented, and then the run.