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Constitutional problems under Lincoln

01 Jan 1926-
About: The article was published on 1926-01-01 and is currently open access. It has received 92 citations till now.
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Laura F. Edwards1
26 Jan 2015
TL;DR: A legal history of the Civil War and Reconstruction explores the implications of this major change by bringing legal history into dialogue with the scholarship of other historical fields as discussed by the authors. But rights had limits in what they could accomplish, particularly when it came to the collective goals that so many ordinary Americans advocated.
Abstract: Although hundreds of thousands of people died fighting in the American Civil War, perhaps the war's biggest casualty was the nation's legal order. A Legal History of the Civil War and Reconstruction explores the implications of this major change by bringing legal history into dialogue with the scholarship of other historical fields. Federal policy on slavery and race, particularly the three Reconstruction amendments, are the best-known legal innovations of the era. Change, however, permeated all levels of the legal system, altering Americans' relationship to the law and allowing them to move popular conceptions of justice into the ambit of government policy. The results linked Americans to the nation through individual rights, which were extended to more people and, as a result of new claims, were reimagined to cover a wider array of issues. But rights had limits in what they could accomplish, particularly when it came to the collective goals that so many ordinary Americans advocated.

39 citations

01 Jan 1996
TL;DR: The American Civil War was a people's contest as discussed by the authors, where the consent of the governed (rather than the ambition of an aristocratic or military caste) was understood to be the ultimate arbiter.
Abstract: The American Civil War was a war of civilians. The fact that 3 million or so of them happened to be in uniform was almost incidental, since the soldiers, sailors, and officers of both the Union and Confederate armies were mostly civilian volunteers who retained close contacts with their civilian social worlds, who brought 1f9Culent civilian attitudes into the ranks with them, and who fully expected to return to civilian life as soon as the shooting was over. By the same token, civilian communities in both North and South kept closely in touch with their volunteers all through the war, sustained by peak rates of literacy in both sections and by the military postal services, and nourished by newspapers whose reliance on electrical telegraphy and field correspondents helped erode the customary cognitive distance between soldiers in the field and civilians at home. Above all, the American Civil War was (as Lincoln described it) "a people's contest'' because it was fought over domestic political issues within a republican political framework, where the consent of the governed (rather than the ambition of an aristocratic or military caste) was understood to be the ultimate arbiter. At almost any point in the war, the military conflict could have been ended by popular civilian decision, since congressional and presidential elections were held in both the North and the South in 1862, 1863, and 1864. If any of those elections had gone that way, there is very little to indicate that either Union or Confederate soldiers would have defied that determination; the only serious moment of military resistance to civilian control, after Lincoln's removal of George McClellan as commander of the Army of the Potomac, fizzled without measurable result. Hardly any other military conflict in the nineteenth century was so much a matter of civilian support, commitment, and willpower. [excerpt]

38 citations

Book
10 Aug 2017
TL;DR: In this article, the authors argue that contemporary formations of emergency governance are often better understood not as new or exceptional, but as part of an ongoing historical constellation of racialised emergency politics.
Abstract: What does it mean to say we live in a permanent state of emergency? What are the juridical, political and social underpinnings of that framing? Has international law played a role in producing or challenging the paradigm of normalised emergency? How should we understand the relationship between imperialism, race and emergency legal regimes? In addressing such questions, this book situates emergency doctrine in historical context. It illustrates some of the particular colonial lineages that have shaped the state of emergency, and emphasises that contemporary formations of emergency governance are often better understood not as new or exceptional, but as part of an ongoing historical constellation of racialised emergency politics. The book highlights the connections between emergency law and violence, and encourages alternative approaches to security discourse. It will appeal to scholars and students of international law, colonial history, postcolonialism and human rights, as well as policymakers and social justice advocates.

36 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In antebellum America, it was commonplace to witness civilians accompanying sheriffs and justices, scouring the countryside in search of scoundrels, scalawags, and other law-breakers as mentioned in this paper.
Abstract: In antebellum America, as in pre-industrial England, it was commonplace to witness civilians accompanying sheriffs and justices, scouring the countryside in search of scoundrels, scalawags, and other law-breakers. These civilians were the posse comitatus, or uncompensated, temporarily deputized citizens assisting law enforcement officers. At its core, the posse comitatus was a compulsory institution. Prior to the advent of centralized police forces, sheriffs and others compelled citizens to serve “in the name of the state” to execute arrests, level public nuisances, and keep the peace, “upon pain of fine and imprisonment.” Despite its coercive character, though, the posse was widely understood as one among many compulsory duties that protected the “public welfare.” Americans heeded the call to serve in local posses, explained jurist Edward Livingston, because of communal “ties of property, of family, of love of country and of liberty.” Such civic obligations, wrote Alexis de Tocqueville in 1835, illustrated why Americans had such a pressing “interest in … arresting the guilty man.” At once coercive and communitarian, lamented Henry David Thoreau, the posse comitatus exemplified how those that “serve the state … with their bodies,” were “commonly esteemed good citizens.”

35 citations