The Fate of Liberty - Chapter 1 Summary & Analysis

Mark E. Neely, Jr.
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The Fate of Liberty examines how Abraham Lincoln, his administration, and the military understand, practice, and justify the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus and imposition of martial law during the Civil War. It concludes the practices are expedient in the context and provide no precedents for the future, should a similar crisis arise.

Abraham Lincoln is inaugurated Mar. 4, 1861, ill-prepared to hold the union together, having as a yeoman lawyer never needed to think about asserting governmental power. He turns to Secretary of State William H. Seward for advise when, on Apr. 19, Baltimore mobs burn key railroad bridges to prevent troops from Massachusetts passing through to Washington, DC. Assistant Attorney General Titian J. Coffey produces a digest of opinions on martial law, suggesting the Articles of War (1806) forbid applying martial law to civilians and Congress alone can suspend the writ of habeas corpus. The...

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This section contains 1,380 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Fate of Liberty Study Guide
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