Mistake Or Malfeasance? Doesn’t Matter; This Textbook Gets The 2nd Amendment Dead Wrong


It could be the innocent product of overzealous editing, or it could be intentional. Either way, a high school textbook supplement has a lot of parents upset for what it’s telling students about the meaning of the 2nd Amendment.

The Denton, Texas, Unified School District adopted the book, United States History: Preparing for the Advanced Placement Examination, as a supplement to a larger course of study for students aiming to ace the AP U.S. History test to jump-start their college careers.

School officials in Texas say it’s meant to serve as a supplemental guide to assist more thorough study of the Constitution, but the book has drawn anger from some parents who believe it’s a subversive effort to rewrite what the Constitutional framers originally wrote.

The Constitution:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.

And now the book:

Second Amendment: The people have a right to keep and bear arms in a state militia.

The paperback version sells for about $37 on Amazon. Until word of the Bill of Rights butchering began circulating among conservative Internet sites this week, it had received almost universal praise from student reviewers throughout the country who’d used it to anticipate the questions they’d face on the AP U.S. History exam.

But the book’s user rating, which appears to have hovered around four stars (out of five), has taken a dive down to two stars just in the past week, after all the publicity began driving angry Constitutionalists to the site.

For some perspective, though, here’s the (hastily written?) opinion of one review from back in 2010, offered by a customer who identifies as an AP teacher (“DBQ” stands for “Document-Based Question”):

The book leaves out a subtantial maount of essential information, and is downright deceptively bias in many areas of national politics. (note the background and inclination of the authors on the inside flap). As the book is highly slanted politically throughout and SELECTIVELY avoids facts that are essential to FULLY answering the DBQs, I would not at all recommend this book to any student who is preparing dilligently for the exam. The political cartoons in this book were especially repulsive in their political slant as well as deceptions for the student. Unless most of the AP readers are teachers/profs. from Boulder Colorado, or Santa Cruz California, the student will fail to be able to provide a well rounded and informed answer on his DBQs which will result in a lowered overall score. This brief readers digest (TIME/NEWSWEEK) version of history should only be used along with another tome that covers both partisan sides of the American political and social spectrum over the past 300 years. Caveat emptor with this one folks!

Youth-slant political website PolicyMic makes the case — perhaps inadvertently — for the argument that the book simply isn’t written by people who understand any portion of the Bill of Rights. PolicyMic’s Saad Asad writes:

Students are taught the complete version in classes, and the supplemental textbook is only used as a quick guide to prepare before the AP exam. As someone who once took these classes, I can attest to the inaccuracy of many of these supplemental textbooks, which are only meant to be review guides.

Although the Second Amendment summary is receiving a lot of criticism, the authors also erroneously summarized the Third Amendment by stating: “The people cannot be required to quarter (house) soldiers during peacetime.” This skims over the clause that explicitly forbids quartering during times of war. In fact, the history of the Third Amendment is explicitly rooted in protesting the British quartering of soldiers in wartime. It would be silly to assume there is some ideological bias behind this summary of quartering.

Whether intentional or just dumb, it’s time for this mangled reimagining of the 2nd Amendment, along with the rest of the Bill of Rights, to end. There’s already enough agenda-driven misinformation being foisted on young people, as ever-zealous progressives carry on their tireless campaign to obscure the plain language of our Constitution.

Personal Liberty

Ben Bullard

Reconciling the concept of individual sovereignty with conscientious participation in the modern American political process is a continuing preoccupation for staff writer Ben Bullard. A former community newspaper writer, Bullard has closely observed the manner in which well-meaning small-town politicians and policy makers often accept, unthinkingly, their increasingly marginal role in shaping the quality of their own lives, as well as those of the people whom they serve. He argues that American public policy is plagued by inscrutable and corrupt motives on a national scale, a fundamental problem which individuals, families and communities must strive to solve. This, he argues, can be achieved only as Americans rediscover the principal role each citizen plays in enriching the welfare of our Republic.

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  • Harold Olsen

    This doesn’t surprise me. A few years ago, someone, and I believe it was either the Democrats or the ACLU, possibly both, were distributing an altered version of the US Constitution..The REAL Constitution does not contain the words “separation of church and state.” This altered version did. They put it in the first amendment, changing the words “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,…” to “There shall be a separation of church and state and the government shall determine when and where the exercise of religion can take place,…” A coworker of mine received one in the mail and showed it to me. He was a liberal Democrat and we had argued as to whether or not the phrase appeared in the US Constitution. I told him the only constitution it ever appeared in was the Constitution of the USSR. That was the constitution the left and the ACLU were defending. His altered constitution he considered as proof that I was wrong and he was right. I called up the US Constitution on line and showed it to him, and he claimed that the one I was showing him was the altered version, not the one he had.

    • vicki

      I think the term for your friend is “willfully ignorant”. Did you happen to show him the parchment original in the library of congress?

      • liz

        I’m sure, if necessary. this Administration can come up with parchment to print the new version to replace the original one!

    • TexRancher

      Yep! There’s that pesky document that keeps getting in the way of the demosocialists again!
      There are some people who are just naturally stupid and then there’s who work at it!

    • Vigilant

      Does your friend use the screen moniker “smilee” by chance?

    • FreedomFighter

      Up to us the people to make the needed changes…get active on the local level, active on the county, state and national political systems…take them over by voting in men and women of character and love for America our way of life…the changes will then begin.
      Laus Deo
      Semper FI

      • ChiefBoring

        Right on! Study, learn, VOTE! Don’t sit on your hands at election time.

    • ChiefBoring

      Typical lib; don’t bother them with the truth. As the founding documents are not taught, things such as you experienced will become the norm. What a shame! Here’s a link to the real deal: http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/charters.html

  • jerry1944

    It could be like a lot, a shorter typing thing we see now days, But when this is don’t some do get the meaning wrong, But I would rather think its a lib printing company and a school board that doesn’t read are check what they put in the schools to teach there kids

    • liz

      I agree, I feel this is intentional to take guns away from everyone so you cannot defend yourself against an Administration bent on Dictatorship. Alter a few words here and there, repeat, repeat, repeat and soon young and some older Americans won’t know the difference and will claim the new version is the original.

      • ChiefBoring

        Texas is the largest purchaser of school books. When they buy one, it tends to get used everywhere. Other states should check their versions to see if the same errors are extant.

  • Vigilant

    Absolutely incorrect interpretation of the amendment. “A free State” means the United States as a whole, NOT the individual entities known as states.

    “A state militia” means the modern day National Guard, and to state that only members of the National Guard may bear arms is ridiculous.

    There’s no doubt that this was NOT a mistake, it was fully intended to change the meaning of the Constitution.

    • ChiefBoring

      That interpretation was popular among liberals until the SCOTUS decided the Heller case, noting that the Second Amendment recognized the right of individuals to keep and bear arms. The militia is defined in the US Code, and is separate from the National Guard, though your point is well taken. And “well regulated” means well trained, not borne down by rules.

    • TML

      Vigilant Says, “A free State” means the United States as a whole, NOT the individual entities known as states.”

      True, but it doesn’t exclude the individual states. For example, we have a Texas State Guard, along with the Texas National Guard, and Texas Air Guard, all of which are separate from the unorganized citizen militia.

      Vigilant Says, “A state militia” means the modern day National Guard, and to state that only members of the National Guard may bear arms is ridiculous.”

      The National Guard is considered the ‘organized’ militia, whereas the ‘unorganized’ militia consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years old (some states include women) which can be called forth by Congress to ‘to repel invasion, suppress insurrection, and execute the laws of the Union’. (Ref: 10 USC § 311(b)(2) – Militia: composition and classes)

      • Vigilant

        Good points. I meant only to correct the textbook error of restricting the right to bear arms to state militias.

  • Doc Sarvis

    Red state Texas makes a stand.

  • Chester

    Typical Texas school book. Put everything but the essentials in, then expect you to be able to make a decent assessment of what you might be required to do. This is the state that wants creationism taught as a mandatory science course. Will say that most likely the school board did a quick readthrough and jumped on this as being one of the cheaper resources available to them.

  • Carlucci

    Remember, the public schools receive tons of federal money, so of course
    all material taught and books distributed will slant completely in
    Fedzilla’s favor. Parents with a clue need to take their kids out of the public fool indoctrination system and either home school them or send them to private or parochial schools.

    • CMM

      One problem with this idea. And this is coming from a parent who has had her children in private schools all the way through. The problem is that in high school especially alot of the private schools have gone to using the public school text books, because the kids have to pass the tests to get into college. They have to learn the same material. The one good thing is that the teachers can interject truth and counteract some of this. But, i will say that the teacher can only do that if they know the truth. This has been going on for at least 30 or more years slowly, so our teachers today graduating and going to teach in the private schools have been educated in the public setting. They can’t teach what they don’t know!!! My son attended a very prestidgious private Christain high school and still came home during the year he took American History spouting liberal bullcrap!! ( that is as nice as i can get about what i think about this.) He now attends a private Christain college and has still somehow become very centrist! I didn’t learn the truth eaither, in public school in the 80’s. I have had to seek out and learn our American HIstory in the last 4 or 5 years on my own, because i care and i want to know the truth!! My kids think i’m a little nutty when i try to counter what they are saying. If my teacher said it it must be true? Right? Mom is just uniformed and old fashioned.

      My Conclusion after all this is that the only safe college is one where the college does not receive or take any federal assistance. One college that takes no government money is Hillsdale in Michigan. They teach classes on the real constitution. Also teaching your child at home using the Classical Christain school model is one of the only safe ways i see to prevent all this other mess. Sadly i have wasted alot of time and money thinking i was keeping my children from this mess. But i can say it is a better environment over all than the public schools.
      Just for anyone who cares to take classes as an adult on the constitution, Hillsdale college offers online free classes on the costitution. They last several week and are like a real class. Very interesting and informative. I finally learned some truth. Go to their website and do a search for free online classes and you can take them. Anyway, i will stop ranting for now, but i just had to respond. It’s a subject near and dear to my heart.

  • http://www.OlGreyGhost.Blogspot.com/ Ol’ Grey Ghost

    I made a eerily similar prediction about these “condensed” versions…


    Check #5…

  • TML

    “The “militia” comprises all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense.” – SCOTUS District of Columbia v. Heller and 10 USC § 311

    This necessarily means, the Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess firearms even unconnected with service in a militia, because disarming the people would disable the citizens’ militia.

    Technically then, you and I are the militia right now, and thus have the right to keep and bear arms at all times.

    The entire idea of a ‘supplemental dumbed-down guide’ should be thrown in the trash.

    • George Soros

      TML, you must be very uneducated to support your statement: The entire idea of a ‘supplemental dumbed-down guide’ should be thrown in the trash.

      This book is a real example of a ‘supplemental dumbed-down guide’ to the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. By omitting or eliminating KEY words, the actual meaning of these Documents is completely changed. Obviously you have never, nor ever will understand the true meaning of the Constitution or Bill of Rights, nor do you support these important documents.

      That makes me believe that you are either Anti-American, or a Foreign Nationalist trying to destroy America.

      • TML

        What the…?

        George says, “This book is a real example of a ‘supplemental dumbed-down guide’ to the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. By omitting or eliminating KEY words, the actual meaning of these Documents is completely changed.”

        Which is exactly why I said the “supplemental guide” in question should be thrown in the trash. Honestly, I don’t see how anyone could misinterpret my position so badly.

        Talk about an uneducated, ignorant, idiot.

  • BringBackBeHeadings

    all the amendments in the book are re-written to the essence of the amendment — why have you said nothing of this? it is a study guide — morons

    • tasharina1

      The essence of the 2nd Amendment is “the right of the people to bear arms shall not be infringed”. The way they wrote it, changed the meaning of it, to sound like you have to be in a militia to have this right, which is not true. The only morons here are the people who wrote this study guide, who thought there weren’t enough intelligent people left to notice this and point it out to people, so students won’t be turned into morons also.