Friday, May 3, 2013

A third of Americans believe armed revolution may be necessary

Sprit_of_'76.2A new poll released May 1 shows that nearly one third of Americans (29 percent) believe that armed revolution to protect civil liberties might be necessary within the next few years. The poll, by Fairleigh Dickinson University, found that almost half of Republicans (44 percent) believe that armed revolution may be necessary, only marginally higher than independents (27 percent). Only 18 percent of Democrats believe that armed revolution may be necessary.

The poll contrasts views on armed revolution with views on gun control. Fifty percent of the 863 registered voters polled believe that new gun control laws are needed while 39 percent disagree. Democrats favor new gun controls by 73 percent while 65 percent of Republicans are opposed.

Dan Cassino, a political science professor at Fairleigh Dickinson said, “The differences in views of gun legislation are really a function of differences in what people believe guns are for. If you truly believe an armed revolution is possible in the near future, you need weapons and you’re going to be wary about government efforts to take them away.”

An alternate explanation is that Americans view the right to keep and bear arms as an important civil liberty that is being threatened and that assaults on civil liberties make revolution more likely. The possibility of armed revolution may be a reaction to perceived attempts by the government to take away the guns owned by Americans. There are perceived threats to other rights as well. These include religious freedom , freedom of speech and government control of health care. The dramatic growth of government and increase in the federal debt have also led many to fear another financial crisis or the collapse of the federal government. President Obama’s disregard for the Constitution and rule of law in many instances from flouting bankruptcy law in the auto bailout to making unconstitutional recess appointments while Congress was not recessed have not eased conservative fears.

The results of the poll are even more surprising because of the lack of violence from conservative activists. In spite of fears from the administration and media, Tea Party meetings have produced few, if any, violent confrontations. Fears that prominent shootings, such as the one in which Gabrielle Giffords was wounded, were committed by right-wing extremists have proven unfounded.

It may be the first time that a poll has addressed the question of whether another armed American Revolution is likely, but with the surprising results in the Fairleigh Dickinson poll, the question will likely be revisited. It cannot be said with certainty, but it is extremely likely that the poll results would have been far different just a few short years ago.

Originally published on

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