For decades, I assumed, like millions of others, that the second amendment to the constitution was inserted primarily to make self-defense possible against foreign incursion and domestic tyranny. That's not necessarily the case.
Here's a very thought provoking post from the Freethought blog Pharyngula:
Root of all evil?
While I’m criticizing the South, I should also damn the whole country. They Yankees also contributed to the history of slavery: that whole second amendment thing that troubles us so much now was a sop to slavery, enabling ‘militias’ that were intended to capture escaped slaves and suppress insurrections.
…most southern men between ages 18 and 45 – including physicians and ministers – had to serve on slave patrol in the militia at one time or another in their lives.So many of the high ideals of this country were poisoned by compromises to allow deep inequities. And the founding fathers were complicit.
And slave rebellions were keeping the slave patrols busy.
By the time the Constitution was ratified, hundreds of substantial slave uprisings had occurred across the South. Blacks outnumbered whites in large areas, and the state militias were used to both prevent and to put down slave uprisings. …slavery can only exist in the context of a police state, and the enforcement of that police state was the explicit job of the militias.