Because no Colony or independent State formally enrolled women in her Militia during the pre-constitutional era, some superficial students of this subject might advance the syllogism: anyone excluded from the Militia during pre-constitutional times should (or at least may) be excluded from the Militia today; women were excluded from the Militia in that era; therefore, women should (or at least may) be excluded from the Militia today. That conclusion is false, however. For although women typically were almost entirely exempted from pre-constitutional Militia service, they were never absolutely excluded. Here again, definitions are important. As has already been explained, “to exempt” means to grant someone an immunity or freedom from a liability that otherwise would attach to that individual. (footnote 1) Whereas, “to exclude” means “[t]o shut out; to hinder from entrance or admission”; (footnote 2) “to debar from participation; (footnote 3) and “to prohibit”. (footnote 4) Thus, “to exclude” means to shut out an individual from the relevant group in the first place, so that no liability related to membership in that group can ever attach to her; and therefore she requires no “exemption” from any particular liability. If the individual is subject to even a single liability related to membership, then she is not “excluded” from the group, even though she may be “exempted” from all other such liabilities. (footnote 5)
1.) S. Johnson, Dictionary, ante note 50, in both the First (1755) and the Fourth (1773) Editions.
2.) S. Johnson, Dictionary, ante note 50, definition 1 in both the First (1755) and the Fourth (1773) Editions. Accord, Webster’s New International Dictionary, ante note 330, at 890, definition 1.
3.) Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, ante note 11, at 521, definition 1. Accord, The Compact Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary, ante note 11, Volume 1, at 918, definition 1; Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, ante note 330, at 793, definitions 1a and 1b.
4.) Samuel Johnson, A Dictionary of the English Language, First Edition (London, England: W. Strahan, 1755), and Fourth Edition (London, England: W. Strahan, 1773), definition 2 in both editions. (Neither edition serially numbered its pages.)
5.) The Sword and Sovereignty: The Constitutional Principles of “the Militia of the several States”, Front Royal, Virginia CD ROM Edition 2012, by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., page 950.