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Eleanor Roosevelt on the Second Amendment & The Battle of Athens

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posted on Jan, 20 2013 @ 08:27 AM
In 1946 a corrupt government was overthrown in Athens,TN by a fed up citizenry. Corruption in the election process had made it impossible for the citizens votes to be counted. The corruption was finally met by brute force and rule of law was established once again. The entire nation took notice and citizens across the nation demanded an end to the corruption existing in their towns as well. The Battle of Athens still stands as notice to corrupt politicians that Americans have a breaking point that they dare not cross. The people will eventually say enough is enough and take action if the voting process is corrupted and thugery runs rampant.

"The advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation ... forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of." -- James Madison (1788)

McMinn A Warning — By Eleanor Roosevelt

New York, Monday — After any war, the use of force throughout the world is almost taken for granted. Men involved in the war have been trained to use force, and they have discovered that, when you want something, you can take it. The return to peacetime methods governed by law and persuasion is usually difficult.

We in the U.S.A., who have long boasted that, in our political life, freedom in the use of the secret ballot made it possible for us to register the will of the people without the use of force, have had a rude awakening as we read of conditions in McMinn County, Tennessee, which brought about the use of force in the recent primary. If a political machine does not allow the people free expression, then freedom-loving people lose their faith in the machinery under which their government functions.

In this particular case, a group of young veterans organized to oust the local machine and elect their own slate in the primary. We may deplore the use of force but we must also recognize the lesson which this incident points for us all. When the majority of the people know what they want, they will obtain it.

Any local, state or national government, or any political machine, in order to live, must give the people assurance that they can express their will freely and that their votes will be counted. The most powerful machine cannot exist without the support of the people. Political bosses and political machinery can be good, but the minute they cease to express the will of the people, their days are numbered.

This is a lesson which wise political leaders learn young, and you can be pretty sure that, when a boss stays in power, he gives the majority of the people what they think they want. If he is bad and indulges in practices which are dishonest, or if he acts for his own interests alone, the people are unwilling to condone these practices.

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.

The decisive action which has just occurred in our midst is a warning, and one which we cannot afford to overlook.

posted on Jan, 20 2013 @ 08:57 AM
Thank you for posting this.
I learned something new. I never heard about the event in McMinn or Mrs. Roosevelt's take on it.

posted on Jan, 20 2013 @ 09:14 AM
reply to post by butcherguy

It is sad that 95% of Americans never heard of this. I live in Athens and it is a source of pride here. The entire world should know this story. The people have much more power than they believe they do. There is a book about it which has much more detail.

posted on Jan, 20 2013 @ 09:28 AM
I think there was a movie made of this incident....a historically important action of protecting
the Republic from enemies both foreign AND domestic

The Battle of Athens Overview


Yes, there was a movie. Here's a clip (note: the movie is not completely historically accurate)

edit on 20-1-2013 by rival because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 20 2013 @ 09:34 AM
reply to post by rival

There was a movie about it in 1992, The accuracy of the movie is a point of contention here. It was however nominated for 2 Emmy's and got the basic point across.

An American Story (1992)

posted on Jan, 20 2013 @ 01:08 PM
This part of the eye witness account from a black woman, the link gives more of her story. A black man was shot in the back when he insisted on voting.

Eye-witness Beatrice Cleage

I will never forget the day this occurred. The G.I.s had returned to McMinn County and were faced with the same political machine they had left and were determined to do something about it to rid McMinn County of machine politics.

Paul Cantrell was sheriff at this time and he loved two things: money and power. He ruled McMinn County with an iron hand. He was tied to the “Crump Machine,” which was the political boss of the State of Tennessee during the 30′s and 40′s.

Cantrell used deputies who had served prison terms for gambling and bootlegging.

Election day (August 1, 1946) in Athens was a war of “ballots and bullets.” We lived only a few blocks from the jail, where the votes were counted. There were around nine thousand residents in Athens. Of these, seven hundred Negroes played a small part in the election, but they formed a balance of power. Most of the Negroes were Republican and received threats and repeated arrests from the Democrats. The election of the sheriff was very important in McMinn County. The Republicans tried to unseat the Democrats. The pressure of a world war and the return of veterans from World War II had great influence on the politics of the county.

Election day in Athens was like an armed camp. When voters came to the polls, the Cantrell Machine was staging demonstrations, strutting around with pistols and black jacks. Deputy Sheriff Pat Mansfield, used thugs from other states as deputies. The voting was heavy at the polls. The GI's were “poll watchers.”

posted on Jan, 26 2013 @ 08:07 AM
I really wish every American would read this shining example of freedom through the use of the Second Amendment. I believe most would rethink the thought of tinkering with our Constitution.

posted on Jan, 26 2013 @ 08:47 AM

Originally posted by jimmiec
Any local, state or national government, or any political machine, in order to live, must give the people assurance that they can express their will freely and that their votes will be counted. The most powerful machine cannot exist without the support of the people.

Now we know why the Liberal Left is anxious to have Open Borders, Expanded Entitlements (ie Food Stamps) and is even considering statehood for Puerto Rico ("support of the people")...and why it is important to keep up the image of the Democratic Process (political polls and fair elections).

Imagine the outcome at Athens tho if the National Guard was already there (in anticipation of the conflict) or if the local police had automatic weapons to hold off the veterans until the NG arrived OR the veterans did not have access to the guns stored at the armory. It could have been a totally different story. Altho in an equal fight (equal numbers and firepower) I would bet on the seasoned war veterans over the corrupt local police any time.
edit on 26-1-2013 by CosmicCitizen because: (no reason given)

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