Starting on January 24th, I’ll be teaching an online course, The Right to Bear Arms: A History. I’ll be doing it with a new startup named Chapter, which describes its system as “like a book club, but way more fun.” You don’t need any special apps to take the course. Chapter’s system works like any other website.
The course will last four weeks, and it will run the gamut, starting in the colonial era and ending in the present day. Because people are busy, everything will be “asynchronous” — that is, you’ll be able to take part whenever you’re free, rather than at times set by me. Here is an outline of the four weeks:
- Pre-Revolutionary America: We’ll explore how the right to keep and bear arms came over with the colonists from Britain, before making its way into the heart of American law.
- The Founding Era: Why was the Second Amendment added to the federal constitution, and what were the Founders’ intentions in including it? What did militias have to do with a right “of the people”?
- Post-Civil War: The Second Amendment took on a new meaning after the Civil War — especially during the era of Jim Crow. You’ll learn how the right to keep and bear arms was changed by the 14th Amendment, and the lengths many states went to in resisting this change.
- The Second Amendment today: The Second Amendment has taken center stage in the 21st century, after a long period in which it was largely ignored. We’ll discuss contemporary American jurisprudence, the Heller decision, and the political rebirth of this most fundamental right.
Each week, I’ll provide a reading list (which could be articles, reviews, videos, podcasts, or primary source documents), along with insights and tips on each one. There will be a community forum in which you can discuss each topic, as well as a rolling Q&A in which I’ll answer questions.
The course will start on January 24th, 2022. You can sign up here. Hope to see you there!