Monday, July 22, 2013

The online supplement to the Denver University Law Review - DULR Online Articles - Ancient Hebrew Militia Law

The online supplement to the Denver University Law Review - DULR Online Articles - Ancient Hebrew Militia Law:

"The American Founders were assiduous students of history. While the well-educated among them read Roman and Greek history in the original languages, some history was well-known by almost everyone, namely the Bible. New Englanders intensely self-identified with ancient Israel—from the first days of settlement in early 17th century (Israel in the wilderness) to the days of the American Revolution, when New England’s “black regiment” of clergymen incited the Revolution as a religious duty, and described the thirteen American colonies as the modern version of the twelve confederate tribes of Israel.[1] Thus, ancient Hebrew militia law is part of the intellectual background of the American militia system, and of the Second Amendment. ..."

The militia  has been a part of the United States law since at least 1792, and before that was considered a duty of able-bodied men to defend their communities when needed.

The Militia Acts of 1792 defined a duty for all able-bodied men between the ages of 20 and 45 (later revised to 18 to 54) to provide themselves with a musket or rifle, powder, powder horn, 20 balls, flints, and other accoutrements for living on the field.  This was in lieu of a standing army of sufficient size to meet any threat, foreign or domestic.

The Militia Act of 1903 redefined the nature of the militia to encompass men between 18 and 45 organized into two categories:  The Reserve Militia, which consisted of all men between the ages defined, and the Organized Militia, which consisted of men who were part of a state militia.  These state militias were designated National Guard, and ultimately had to meet all US Army standards of training and physical fitness.  With various amendments over the years, women serving in the National Guard are considered part of the Organized Militia, and I rather suspect that that with the recent opening up of combat specialties, they may be considered part of the Reserve (or Unorganized) Militia.

The current state of the law, as I understand it, can be found in Title 10, Chapter 13, Section 311 of the United States Code.  The following section (312) lists exemptions to service in the Militia.

All this is of personal interest to me since my son is away for his two week annual training.  His MOS is 12-B (combat engineer) and he reports that the monthly and annual training is intense, geared toward ensuring combat readiness.

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