This is the main reason why there’s the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution of the United States …
While the first icy political blasts of the Cold War were being felt among the ruins of Europe in 1946, hot lead was flying a lot closer to home. The last certifiable armed engagement between citizens and their government on American soil, the gun battle that took place on the night of Aug. 1-2, 1946, and that came to be known as the Battle of Athens, was more than a shoot-out between factions in a small Southern town. It was a violent but decisive clash of two social and political cultures, between the past and the future of rural, state, and ultimately the federal government, and a reconfirmation of the deeply ingrained ideal that Americans can assert themselves against tyranny, even when it was taking place in their own backyard.
For a year, the young men of Athens and other towns in McMinn County—a hilly, verdant patch of southeastern Tennessee—had been returning from World War II. The war had taken most of them, farm boys for the most part, more than a few miles from home for the first time. But letters had kept them apprised of news from home. And increasingly, that news was not good.
E.H. “Boss” Crump was the epitome of the Southern political kingpin. Crump, the mayor of Memphis, was the boss of the Shelby County political machine, the seat of much of Tennessee’s wealth and patronage. It might have been at the other end of the state, but Crump’s operation had tendrils everywhere. He controlled regional governments through graft and patronage, rewarding cronies with political appointments, one of which was that of county sheriff, a post that earned low wages but raked in thousands of dollars protecting moonshiners’ stills, collecting polling taxes, skimming speed trap fines and other revenues, and running county jails like for-profit enterprises.
Sheriff Pat Mansfield was one of Crump’s beneficiaries, as firmly in Crump’s grasp as Tennessee state Sen. Paul Cantrell, Mansfield’s predecessor as sheriff from 1936 to 1942 and scion of a wealthy family that had long dominated McMinn County politics and commerce. In 1946 Cantrell once again sought the sheriff’s office. Given the McMinn County electoral process—which included ballot stuffing and the inclusion of deceased voters on the rolls—of the time it seemed like the race was in the bag.
But disgust with the status quo had been building for some time; the Justice Department in Washington had ignored complaints of election fraud from McMinn County voters in 1940, 1942, and 1944. And in 1946 the returning veterans of Athens, who had spent the previous four years fighting despotism in other parts of the world, decided it was time for a change.
With some townspeople calling for their blood, the GIs corralled the deputies for several hours for their own safety before turning them loose. GIs patrolled the city for several days after the battle to keep order.
The Battle of Athens drew commentary from around the country. The New York Times was critical of the GIs. But Eleanor Roosevelt, the president’s widow and a nationally syndicated columnist, saw it differently, commenting, “We in the U.S.A. . . . have had a rude awakening . . . 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 . . . We may deplore the use of force but we must also recognize the lesson which this incident points for us all.”
GI candidates carried five Tennessee counties precincts, and Knox Henry was elected sheriff of McMinn County. A new police force was formed; newly elected county officials accepted a $5,000 pay limit. Reform soon spread to counties statewide.
The reform movement’s momentum helped Rep. Estes Kefauver win one of Tennessee’s Senate seats in 1948. Kefauver, along with Albert Gore Sr.—who was elected to the Senate from Tennessee four years later—helped lead the moderate wing of the Southern Democrats and initiate huge changes in the social and political fabric of the South.
Libertarian and gun-advocacy groups have held the events in Athens, Tenn., in high esteem, a 20th-century enactment of the sentiment “Don’t Tread on Me.” But the lesson for any American is easily parsed: The right to self-governance emanates from the governed, not those who govern.
Further reading and viewing …
Check out this wicked “JEWS FOR THE PRESERVATION OF FIREARMS OWNERSHIP” disinformation site, obviously put up by Jews to make it look like the Jews who want to sovietize America are presently opposed to those opposed to the right US citizens have to carry guns for self defense. Just as there are Jews who put up scam “Jews against Zionism” Web sites to make gullible Gentiles think all Jews aren’t in it together in their plot to set up Jewish world government under the reign of Israel’s ‘Davidic’ antichrist from Jerusalem.
According to the scam Web site, “JEWS FOR THE PRESERVATION OF FIREARMS OWNERSHIP” was founded by Jews in 1989; and it was initially ostensibly “aimed at educating the Jewish community about the historical evils that Jews have suffered when they have been disarmed.” The site admin claims to “welcome people of all religious beliefs who share a common goal of opposing and reversing victim-disarmament policies while advancing liberty for all. The organization was the brainchild of Aaron Zelman (1946 – 2010), a leading national civil-rights activist.”
Here’s the duped Jew asset Alex ‘Jonestein’ entertaining the lying Jew deceiver Aaron Zelman on the right US citizens have to carry guns …
Also this article, for some background information on the Battle of Athens …
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 tyranny.
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 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 not.
In the August 1946 election, Paul Cantrell was once again a candidate for sheriff, while Pat Mansfield sought the state senate seat. After World War II ended, some 3,000 military veterans (constituting about 10 percent of the county population) had returned to McMinn County. Some of the returning veterans resolved to challenge Cantrell’s political control by fielding their own nonpartisan candidates and working for a fraud-free election. Veteran Bill White described the veterans’ motivation:
“There were several beer joints and honky-tonks around Athens; we were pretty wild; we started having trouble with the law enforcement at that time because they started making a habit of picking up GIs and fining them heavily for most anything—they were kind of making a racket out of it. After long hard years of service—most of us were hard-core veterans of World War II—we were used to drinking our liquor and our beer without being molested. When these things happened, the GIs got madder—the more GIs they arrested, the more they beat up, the madder we got …”
Combat veteran Knox Henry stood as candidate for sheriff in opposition to Cantrell. In advertisements and speeches the GI candidates promised an honest ballot count and reform of county government. At a rally, a GI speaker said,
“The principles that we fought for in this past war do not exist in McMinn County. We fought for democracy because we believe in democracy but not the form we live under in this county.”
The primary election was held on August 1. To intimidate voters, Mansfield brought in some 200 armed “deputies.” GI poll-watchers were beaten almost at once. At about 3 p.m., Tom Gillespie, an African-American voter, was told by a sheriff’s deputy that he could not vote. Despite being beaten, Gillespie persisted. The enraged deputy shot him. The gunshot drew a crowd. Rumors spread that Gillespie had been shot in the back. He later recovered.
Other deputies detained ex-GI poll-watchers in a polling place, as that made the ballot counting “public.” A crowd gathered. Sheriff Mansfield told his deputies to disperse the crowd. When the two ex-GIs smashed a big window and escaped, the crowd surged forward. The deputies, with guns drawn, formed a tight half-circle around the front of the polling place. One deputy, “his gun raised high…shouted: ‘If you sons of bitches cross this street I’ll kill you!’”
Mansfield took the ballot boxes to the jail for counting. The deputies seemed to fear immediate attack by the “people who had just liberated Europe and the South Pacific from two of the most powerful war machines in human history.”
Short of firearms and ammunition, the GIs scoured the county to find them. By borrowing keys to the National Guard and State Guard armories, they got three M1 rifles, five M1911 pistols and 24 M1917 rifles. The armories were nearly empty after the war’s end. By 8 p.m. a group of GIs and “local boys” headed for the jail but left the back door unguarded to give the jail’s defenders an easy way out.
Three GIs were fired on from the jail. Two were wounded while other GIs returned fire. Firing subsided after 30 minutes; ammunition ran low and night had fallen. Thick brick walls shielded those inside the jail. Absent radios, the GIs’ rifle fire was uncoordinated. “From the hillside fire rose and fell in disorganized cascades. More than anything else, people were simply shooting at the jail.”
Several who ventured into the street in front of the jail were wounded. One man inside the jail was badly hurt; he recovered. Most sheriff’s deputies wanted to hunker down and await rescue. Governor McCord mobilized the State Guard, perhaps to scare the GIs into withdrawing. The State Guard never went to Athens. McCord may have feared that Guard units filled with ex-GIs might not fire on other ex-GIs.
At about 2 a.m. on August 2, the GIs forced the issue. Men from Meigs County threw dynamite sticks and damaged the jail’s porch. The panicked deputies surrendered. GIs quickly secured the building. Paul Cantrell faded into the night, having almost been shot by a GI who knew him, but whose pistol had jammed. Mansfield’s deputies were kept overnight in jail for their own safety. Calm soon returned. The GIs posted guards. The rifles borrowed from the armory were cleaned and returned before sunup.
In five precincts free of vote fraud, the GI candidate for sheriff, Knox Henry, won 1,168 votes to Cantrell’s 789, while other GI candidates won by similar margins. On August 2, a town meeting set up a three-man governing committee. The regular police having fled, six men were chosen to police Etowah. In addition, “Individual citizens were called upon to form patrols or guard groups, often led by a GI… To their credit, however, there is not a single mention of an abuse of power on their behalf.” Once the GI candidates’ victory had been certified, they cleaned up county government, the jail was fixed, newly elected officials accepted a $5,000 pay limit and Mansfield supporters who resigned were replaced.
The general election on November 5 passed quietly. McMinn County residents, having restored the rule of law, returned to their daily lives. Pat Mansfield moved back to Georgia, and Paul Cantrell set up an auto dealership in Etowah. “Almost everyone who knew Cantrell in the years after the Battle’ agree that he was not bitter about what had happened.”
The 79th Congress had adjourned on August 2, 1946, when the Battle of Athens ended. However, Representative John Jennings Jr. from Tennessee decried McMinn County’s sorry situation under Cantrell and Mansfield and the Justice Department’s repeated failures to help the McMinn County residents. Jennings was delighted that “…at long last, decency and honesty, liberty and law have returned to the fine county of McMinn..”