The Battle of Athens (sometimes called the McMinn County War) was a rebellion led by citizens in Athens and Etowah, Tennessee, United States,
against the local government in August 1946. The citizens, including some World War II veterans, accused the local officials of political corruption
and voter intimidation. The event is sometimes cited by firearms ownership advocates as an example of the value of the Second Amendment in combating
Background There had been long-standing concern in McMinn County about political corruption and possible election fraud. At citizen request,
the U.S. Department of Justice had investigated allegations of electoral fraud in 1940, 1942, and 1944, but had not taken action. The wealthy
Cantrell family (supporters of the Democrats' New Deal policies in the 1932 Presidential elections) essentially ruled the county. Paul Cantrell was
elected sheriff in the 1936, 1938, and 1940 elections, then was elected to the state senate in 1942 and 1944, while his former deputy, Pat Mansfield,
was elected sheriff. A state law enacted in 1941 had reduced local political opposition by reducing the number of voting precincts from 23 to 12
and reducing the number of justices of the peace from fourteen to seven (including four "Cantrell men"). The sheriff and his deputies operated a
fee system under which they received a cut of the money for every person they booked, incarcerated, and released; the more arrests, the more money
they made. Often, buses passing through the county were pulled over and the passengers were randomly ticketed for drunkenness, whether guilty or
i found out about this from a link i got sent over face book and found an older thread on this but as this was news to me and quite honestly one of
the better reasons for why we as Americans have the second amendment.
in the small town of Athens Georgia on august 1-2nd of 1946 facing rampant local corruption and an apathetic federal government not willing or caring
to fully investigate the matter, had allowed corrupt politicians to attempt to fix local elections,and by a policy of harassing and ticketing
returning gi's for just about anything they felt like doing.The people would not tolerate the illegal attempt to close the polls by Cantrell and
sheriff Paul Mansfield.
In doing this they alienated and offended the towns folk to the point that when the sheriffs office attempted to close the polls and in doing so shot
a local,at this point returning gi's gathered up weapons munitions and dynamite and besieged the sheriffs office and jail,the officers and deputy's
attempted to bring in the national guard but to no avail before they had arrived the towns folk after dynamiting the front door of the fortified
building had recaptured the ballot boxes so they could be counted fairly and publicly and thus brought down the tyrants that had plagued them for many
for their actions the leader of the gi's was even elected mayor i believe after this and no member was punished for their assault on the sheriff's
department. Furthermore none were even arrested.
i think Mrs Eleanor Roosevelt said it best in this article from 1946 when she said
When the people decide that conditions in their town, county, state or country must change, they will change them. If the leadership has been
wise, they will be able to do it peacefully through a secret ballot which is honestly counted, but if the leader has become inflated and too sure of
his own importance, he may bring about the kind of action which was taken in Tennessee. If we want to continue to be a mature people who, at home and
abroad, settle our difficulties peacefully and not through the use of force, then we will take to heart this lesson and we will jealously guard our
rights. What goes on before an election, the threats or persuasion by political leaders, may be bad but it cannot prevent the people from really
registering their will if they wish to.
on this day the people had to much and set the precedent when the level of corruption becomes to rife the American people can,will and have stood up
to defend the rights and customs that this country was founded upon,and being of moral and just cause in the face of tyranny we will be successful
as long as we make their crimes public for all the nation to see .
mods if in wrong place feel free to move and apologies if rehashing this thread from 2011 was a mistake i just felt this should be brought to public
papers.ssrn.com... pdf you can down-lode on the incident that is 48 pages and was pretty informative as
well,does any one rember being taught about this in school? any one else hearing about this for the first time?
www.constitution.org... and the time line of events below the quotes from Mrs Roosevelt from the timeline on above
Three-man Commission Elected 4:00 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 3 Three man commission chosen as governing body by mass meeting at Court House.
Volunteers by hundreds offer assistance in setting up government framework. Cleansing & Restoration 4:00 p.m. Friday to 5:00 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 3
Curious crowds mill streets as the new government cleans up "hot-spots." Beer sales banned. Town is orderly. Rumored Biggs-Mansfield Invasion Sets
GIs On Alert 9:00 p.m. Saturday Rumor and newspaper story from Knoxville sets off high strung nerves with the report that Biggs and Mansfield will
attempt to storm Athens. 1,500 Citizens Converge On Athens 9:00 pm Fifteen hundred citizens pour into Athens with firearms to back the new
government. Telephone calls from neighboring cities pledge aid if needed in defense of the town. GIs on Patrol 7:00 p.m. Saturday Aug. 3 to Sunrise
Sunday, Aug. 4 Athens is patrolled by GIs and citizens.
so it seems the corrupt politicians tried one more time to seize power only to be
stopped by 1500 armed citizens who patroled the city until governace could be restored
edit on 15-7-2012 by KilrathiLG because: (no reason
Excellent post! I had no knowledge that successful events like this have happened since the American Revolution. Thanks for sharing the link to the
older ATS post which occurred a year ago.
These people did it right... The corrupt local government made the first violent act against the town's folk, and in return, the town's folk
rightfully defended themselves entirely by targeting the source of the corruption. The best part of this entire story was that the town's folk
immediately held a fair election after the problem was fixed.
This is probably the best example of the Second Amendment being put to use the way it was intended to be.
yeah this was the first time i had ever heard of sheriffs taking hostages....and threatening to execute them
Last Warning! Deputies Threaten Hostages' Lives 2:00 am Deputies sent out last warning that they would kill three GI hostages within the jail
immediately if the firing did not end. GIs Replied With Ultimatum Of Their Own 2:20 am GIs issued an ultimatum to the deputies to come out with
hands upraised or the crowd would rush the jail. GIs Escalate The Fight With Use of Dynamite 2:59 am The ex-GIs went into action with demolition
charges — home made, but effective. After a fourth blast had rocked the jail one of the deputies leaned from the building and shouted "Stop that
blasting. We'll give up — we're dying in here. Firing continued a few moments then stopped.
to think that law enforcement would EVER under any circumstances take hostages absolutely disgusts me(not trying to cop bash but this blew my mind)
if any one could embed the youtube video properly id be very thankfull as bbc code baffles me
This is how democracy is supposed to work open honest and witnessed by the people to make sure that every vote counts and that no form of corruption
is present i almost wish our whole system was set up like these men did it.
openly and honestly for all the people to see.
G-I CLAIM ELECTION TO OFFICE — ISSUE STATEMENT This special announcement was hand to the Daily Post-Athenian and Radio Station WLAR at 3:02
A.M. by the Non-Partisan Candidates for immediate release shortly before the exodus of imprisoned officials in the county jail: "The G-I election
officials went to the polls unarmed to have a fair election, as Pat Mansfield promised. They were met with black-jacks and pistols. "Several G-I
officials were beaten and the ballot boxes were moved to the jail. The G-I supporters went to the jail to get these ballot boxes and were met by
gunfire. "The G-I candidates had promised that the votes would be counted as cast. They had no choice but to meet fire with fire. "In the
precincts where the G-I candidates were allowed watchers they led by three to one majorities. "THE G-Is ARE ELECTED AND WILL SERVE AS YOUR COUNTY
OFFICIALS BEGINNING SEPT. 1st, 1946." The G-I Candidates, thus claiming election to officer are: Knox Henry — Sheriff Frank Carmichael — Trustee
Bill Hamby — Circuit Court Clerk Charlie Pickle — Register of Deeds Campaign Mgr for the G-Is was Jim Buttram. George Woods returns to McMinn
County under protection by the GI-Citizens Government. Sheriff Mansfield Resigned
and another fun fact the weapons they got they got from the states armoury that was located in town and before sunriese when it was all over the guns
had been returned and cleaned with out any theft or wrong doing of any kind what so ever might just be the best example of the 2nd amendment in
Title needs changed, these towns were both in Tennessee, not Athens, Georgia. I read and re-read trying to figure out how the two towns were
connected, but the two towns were both in Mcminn County, Tennesseee.
Otherwise a GREAT story! And one that folks should keep in mind in these turbulent times.
Just one more thing that Tennesseans can point to with pride...There is a rich heritage in Tennessee of doing the right thing,when it is needed the
most...We are called Volunteers for that very reason !!
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