Sep 15, 2023
September 17 is Constitution Day, the anniversary of the date when the Constitutional Convention of 1787 adjourned with a new charter for the new American Republic.
In 2004, the U.S. Congress passed legislation requiring educational institutions who receive federal funding to provide their communities with information concerning the U.S. Constitution. For nearly two decades, as part of Seattle Pacific University’s commemoration, we have been fortunate to have Professor (now Emeritus Professor) of History Bill Woodward offer his expert analysis of one of our country’s most important documents.
This year's essay is titled “The Second Amendment, the NRA, and a One-Armed General.” In it, Professor Woodward builds on his 2019 essay, which showed how the “well-regulated militia” of the Second Amendment developed over the century following the writing of the Constitution. Now Professor Woodward focuses on Washington state’s own early-20th-century Adjutant General James Drain, an Olympian marksman and National Rifle Association officer. Drain was one of several individuals key to the development and passage of a Militia Act in 1903 that transformed the National Guard and, effectively, the application of the Second Amendment’s militia clause.