Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Saul Cornell on HNN

There is a feature on Second Amendment scholar Saul Cornell, Ohio University, at History News Network, which profiles "Top Young Historians." (Middle-aged folks, at least to a point, get to be young again for HNN. So if youth is your goal, be a historian.) Cornell is the author of A Well Regulated Militia: The Founding Fathers and the Origins of Gun Control in America and The Other Founders: Anti-Federalism and the Dissenting Tradition in America, 1788-1828.
Cornell commented: "No matter what aspect of the gun issue you work on you inevitably run into people with pretty strong feelings. I think it is safe to say that if I had written a history of the 3rd Amendment, I would not get angry e-mails from people with names like “glockboy@gunnet.com” or have bloggers with names like, “geek with an uzi” denounce me as part of some insidious conspiracy."
And here's one of the blurbs about his 2nd Amendment book: "Cornell is, with Jack Rakove, one of the two leading interpreters of the Second Amendment. Historian Saul Cornell, who declares that the originalist argument for the individual rights approach is based on a false reading of the legislative history and legal context. Cornell therefore might simply accept Rakove's modest view of the positive role of the Amendment. However, Cornell also temptingly suggests that some "new paradigm" of Second Amendment scholarship may emerge, one that views the right to bear arms as neither collective nor individual but rather as a "civic right," in the nature of a civic republican right to be exercised by those "capable of exercising it in a virtuous manner." There is something ironic about a key part of Cornell's thesis. In his deft and lawyerly arguments for the originalist collective rights view, Cornell underscores the later eruption of individual rights rhetoric in nineteenth-century state constitutions in order to stress the absence of any such view in 1791 -- Stanford Law Professor Robert Weissberg, Edwin Huddleston Professor of Law in a recent review of the state of the scholarly debate on the Second Amendment

For the rest, click here.