Whose right to bear arms did the Second Amendment protect? Today the Second Amendment has become one of the most controversial provisions of the American Bill of Rights, but what did the founding generation mean by it? Did they understand it to imply protection of an individual or a collective right to bear arms — and what were and are the ramifications of that difference? What ideological or social function did the militia serve in early America? These are just a few of the intriguing questions generated by the rich and controversial body of Second Amendment scholarship over the years. Exploring how late-eighteenth-century Americans understood the right to bear arms, the selections expose students to ongoing scholarly debates over this topic, providing insight into a number of the most important issues in early American historiography: the controversy over republicanism and liberalism, the tension between states' rights and individual rights, and the place of rights and revolution in the American constitutional experience.