on his behalf, and local restaurants put out jars for contributionsrnto his legal defense fund.rnAs I said, there are men all over America who are willing tornprotect their lives and property. Some of them are crazy, likernDavid Koresh; others are eccentrics, like Randy Weaver; butrnmost of them are simply plain people who refuse to be bullied,rnabused, or robbed. These qualities are not unique to Americans.rnMoral independence was a universal virtue among thernnations of barbarian iLurope—Germans, Celts, and Slavs, butrnas the Europeans slowly lost their liberties and conceded thernrights of defense and rev enge to their rulers, the American frontierrnwas fertile soil for a secorrd growth of the old spirit of selfreliance.rnEdmund Burke attributed the Americans’ “love of freedom”rnto the English political tradition, the religious independencernof the Yankees, and the Southerners’ status as mastersrnover slaves, and he was right so far as he went. What he couldrnnot know—although as an hishman he might have guessedrnit—was that the political independence of Americans wasrnonlv the superficial manifestation of a deeper spirit of independence.rnIf Americans were willing to take up arms against arntyrannical parliament, they fought among themselves, withrnsword and pistol, shotgun and knife, with equal alacrity.rnSome have attributed the American fashion for dueling tornthe influence of French officers in the War for Independence.rnThis may be true, so far as the fashion and the formalities go,rnbut the Irish of that time were even more celebrated for duelingrnthan the French (the famous Code Duello is an Irish production),rnand the English officer caste had never renouncedrnthe privilege of fighting duels for the sake of honor—or evenrnsport. Dueling, with all its punctilio and ceremony, was arnrecreation for gentlemen. More typical of the average Americanrnof those days was the duelist and brawler, Andrew Jackson.rnGeneral Jackson did not need any lace-cuffed French officers torntell him his duty. His mother, on her deathbed, had alreadyrnsupplied him with a code: “Never tell a lie, nor take what is notrnyour own nor sue for slander. Settle them cases yourself.”rnLike many of the men who came to prominence after Americanrnindependence, Andrew Jackson was Scotch-Irish. Theyrnwere a dour and hardv people, like all the Scots, and quick tornresent an insult and thirsty for revenge, as the old border balladsrntell…rnFight on, my merry men all.rnAnd see that none of you be taine;rnFor rather than men shall say we were hang’d.rnLet them report how we were slaine.rnMany Americans of Scottish ancestry are prone to lav greatrnweight upon the Geltic composition of the Scots, but thernblood of the lowlands may be as Sassenach as the language. Itrnhardly matters. The Anglo-Saxons were as quick to defendrnthemselves as the Gelts whom the attempted to exterminate,rnand it was to the Saxons that the Founding Fathers turnedrnwhen they were looking for precedents and inspiration.rnThe patriots of 1776, as H. Trevor Colbourn has shown (inrnThe Lamp of Experience), adopted the Saxon myth that hadrnbeen crafted by the Ejiglish Whigs in their assertion of parliamentaryrnrights against the crown’s prerogatives. The Saxons,rnso it was argued, had been a free people ruled over by a kingrnwhose power was limited by the elected Witenagemot. Thisrnmuch even the skeptical John Adams was willing to accept.rnthough he confessed that little was actually known of Saxon politicalrninstitutions.rnThe Virginians went further, and Richard Bland pointed outrnthat in leaving the Continent, the Anglo-Saxons had also shakenrnoff subjection to their old rulers. Their descendants, he concluded,rnin coming to the New World, had freed themselves ofrnallegiance to the crown. Thomas Jefferson adopted this viewrnwith enthusiasm; he wanted to put Hengist and Horsa (thernleaders of the Saxon colonists) on the Great Seal of the UnitedrnStates and recommended the teaching of Anglo-Saxon atrnthe university he founded.rnThe difference between Whigs and Tories, in Jefferson’srnopinion, lav in their differing approaches to history: whilernTories based the power of the king on the Norman conquest,rnthe Whigs traced English liberties back to Alfred and beyond.rnIt was partly his affection for the Saxon myth that inspired Jefferson’srnaversion to David Hume’s History of England. A farrnbetter historian than the Whigs, Hume could find no evidencernof the peaceful constitutionalists so dear to Rapin, Mrs.rnMacaulay, and their American admirers. However, what hernfound was perhaps more essential to the defense of liberties.rnThe weakness of the Saxon state, buffeted by frequent foreignrninvasions, meant that Saxon kings did not rely upon standingrnarmies but on a militia of “ccorles or husbandmen . . . providedrnwith arms and . . . obliged to take their turn in militaryrndut.” George Mason concluded that standing armies were therninstruments of tyranny and that a revived Saxon militia wouldrnbe “the natural strength and only stability of a free government.”rnAs Hume realized, the Saxon ceories were willing to defendrntheir own, as well as their king’s, interest. “The natural braveryrnof the people made ever}- man trust to himself and to his particularrnfriends for his defence or vengeance. . . . An insultrnupon any man was regarded by all his relations and associatesrnas a common injury…. They retaliated on the aggressor by likernacts of violence.”rnAmong the Anglo-Saxons homicide was generally a personalrnmatter. Murder as well as accidental homicide were settledrnby payment of blood-money to the kindred, although (as Maitlandrnand Pollock point out in their History of English Law)rn”there are additional public penalties in aggravated cases, asrnwhere a man is slain in the king’s presence or otherwise inrnbreach of the king’s peace.”rnThe Norman Conquest was not merely a dynastic change,rnand the results were of vaster consequence than the periodic irruptionrnof Danes into English territory and onto Englishrnthrones. The Norman ovedords were determined to suppressrnthe Saxons to the level of peasants and serfs; and DukernWilliam, it is said, even contemplated the extinction of the Englishrnlanguage. The characteristic of an independent, free, andrnmartial people has ever been the freeman’s assertion of thernright to defend himself, and if the Saxons—like other Europeanrnpeoples—had pushed their freedoms too far, the Normanrnresponse was to erect their kingdom on the rubble of ancientrnliberties.rnOn questions of homicide, William and his successorsrnmoved quickly to assert their prerogative, although the revolutionrnwas probably not accomplished until the reign of Henry II.rnThe first move was to broaden the concept of the king’s peacernto include, potentiall}’, all homicides, and it is no paradox in thernnature of the bloody-minded William that he outlawed the usernDECEMBER 1993/9rnrnrn