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American Revolutionary militiamen ready at a minute's notice to take up arms in defence of their property or country. Minutemen distinguished themselves in local short-term skirmishes and guerrilla actions such as Lexington and Concord, but proved so unreliable in long campaigns and pitched battles that George Washington turned to long-term recruits. The Second Amendment to the Constitution of the USA, guaranteeing the right to bear arms, is said to owe its enactment to the “minuteman philosophy”.

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