Tom did a nice post earlier about Larry Pratt’s, of the Gun Owners of America (GOA), remarks about resorting to the bullet box if a Democrat should win the Presidency. I don’t want to delve into the shifting understanding of the 2nd Amendment right now, but I do have a certain subject matter expert on the belief that violent rebellion and/or revolution is permitted under the US Constitution. Here with a rebuttal to Mr. Pratt is Balloon Juice special late night/early morning commenter President Abraham Lincoln:
It will then have been proved that, among free men, there can be no successful appeal from the ballot to the bullet; and that they who take such appeal are sure to lose their case, and pay the cost.
— Letter to James C. Conkling 1863
But you will break up the Union rather than submit to a denial of your Constitutional rights.
That has a somewhat reckless sound; but it would be palliated, if not fully justified, were we proposing, by the mere force of numbers, to deprive you of some right, plainly written down in the Constitution. But we are proposing no such thing.
Your purpose, then, plainly stated, is that you will destroy the Government, unless you be allowed to construe and enforce the Constitution as you please, on all points in dispute between you and us. You will rule or ruin in all events.
Under all these circumstances, do you really feel yourselves justified to break up this Government unless such a court decision as yours is, shall be at once submitted to as a conclusive and final rule of political action? But you will not abide the election of a Republican* president! In that supposed event, you say, you will destroy the Union; and then, you say, the great crime of having destroyed it will be upon us! That is cool. A highwayman holds a pistol to my ear, and mutters through his teeth, “Stand and deliver, or I shall kill you, and then you will be a murderer!”
To be sure, what the robber demanded of me – my money – was my own; and I had a clear right to keep it; but it was no more my own than my vote is my own; and the threat of death to me, to extort my money, and the threat of destruction to the Union, to extort my vote, can scarcely be distinguished in principle.
— Cooper Union Address, 1860
* In regards to Pratt’s remarks this would be Democratic if the speech was being given today, however, I didn’t want to edit/amend President Lincoln’s remarks.