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Lincoln tyrant or savior of the Union - Abraham Lincoln - The Participants of the War - Mikitary & Civilian - Civil War Interactive Discussion Board
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 Posted: Mon Feb 27th, 2012 03:54 pm
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BHR62
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As I remember things there was a bill introduced to pay the loyal slave owners money for their slaves.  But didn't the Kentuckian congressmen kill it?  I know Missouri abolished slavery before wars end...who was the other one?  Maryland?  The fact there were discussions on paying the slave owners in the border states should have been an even stronger signal that the end of slavery nationwide was going to happen at wars end.  The Proclamation was just the beginning of the end for the institution.

The Proclamation had political advantages to it no doubt about it.  But Lincoln had seen slavery first hand while he took his dads goods to New Orleans down the Mississippi.  It didn't leave a good impression on him.  He was known for his anti-slavery sentiments in the legislature and in the debates with Douglas.  So I still believe he had moral reasons for his Proclamation. 

So I will have to agree to disagree with you all.



 Posted: Mon Feb 27th, 2012 04:32 pm
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BHR62, I think you are right that Lincoln found the idea of slavery repugnant-even if he held pretty standard views of black men for his time and wasn't sure what to do with the freedmen after the war. However, he also held the Constitution in such high regard that he believed he could do nothing to interfere with the institution where it existed no matter his personal sentiments on the subject. He did believe that Congress could constitutionally regulate slavery in the territories--which was why Southerners hated him. For Lincoln, the Emancipation Proclamation was a constitutionally legal military measure that happened to coincide with his personal beliefs.

Mark



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 Posted: Mon Feb 27th, 2012 09:09 pm
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HankC
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until the EP, the fate of slaves, refugees and freed slaves is left up to the Congress by the 1st and 2nd Confiscation acts and up to local commanders and their differing interpretations of orders and the laws.

The EP firmly states the government's stance on slavery in the rebelling states and also places the issue solidly on Lincoln to adminster and interpret.

regarding the regard Lincoln holds of the constitution: he held in high regard the power vested in the president by the constitution in time of rebellion...



 Posted: Mon Feb 27th, 2012 09:21 pm
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BHR62 wrote: The Proclamation had political advantages to it no doubt about it.  But Lincoln had seen slavery first hand while he took his dads goods to New Orleans down the Mississippi.  It didn't leave a good impression on him.  He was known for his anti-slavery sentiments in the legislature and in the debates with Douglas.  So I still believe he had moral reasons for his Proclamation. 

 

I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.

Abraham Lincoln, March 4, 1861

 

We're looking at a passage from Lincoln's First Inaugural Address. Despite everything he had said in the years prior he's suddenly going to go back on morals he's ssupposed to have shown in the Lincoln-Douglas Debates and the legislature concerning slavery then suddenly issue the Emancipation out of moral conviction?

Appearing to support the moral conviction we have the following from Randall Bedwell's War Is All Hell: A Collection of Civil War Quotations:

We must free the slaves or be ourselves subdued .... and strike at the heart of the rebellion.

 

Lincoln said this on July 13, 1862 and again it appears to support the moral compunction. But why "strike at the heart of the rebellion?" Why not leave it at "free the slaves or be ourselves subdued?" If freeing the slaves is all about a moral conviction then leaving it at that first part is all that's needed. I will admit that Bedwell quite likely leaves us with something missing here, but to have the striking at the heart of the rebellion in the same passage as what could be a moral conviction to end slavery forces the question to be asked of whether it was a moral conviction to end all slavery or just end slavery in those areas in open rebellion against the federal government. It brings us back to the political.

My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not to either save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that.

 

The full quote from Lincoln's letter to Horace Greeley I mentioned earlier. He's already got the Emancipation written at this point and here he is saying he doesn't want to save or destroy slavery. If it's a moral compunction to end slavery then you want to destroy it. But true to the last part Lincoln issues the Emancipation to only effect those areas in open rebellion against the federal government. Despite the rhetoric he'd been giving for years he's willing to leave folks in slavery in some places and free them in others. It seems a moral conviviction to end slavery should mean end it everywhere WHEN you issue the Emancipation. Not end it some places and say in others "Well, once this war is done you know it applies to you too."



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 Posted: Tue Feb 28th, 2012 01:43 pm
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Savez wrote: HankC wrote: until the EP, the fate of slaves, refugees and freed slaves is left up to the Congress by the 1st and 2nd Confiscation acts and up to local commanders and their differing interpretations of orders and the laws.

The EP firmly states the government's stance on slavery in the rebelling states and also places the issue solidly on Lincoln to adminster and interpret.

regarding the regard Lincoln holds of the constitution: he held in high regard the power vested in the president by the constitution in time of rebellion...

Maryland was not in rebellion. There was only threat of rebellion. Maryland had not seceded. Also where in the Constitution does it say that the president has the power to shut down newspapers from states not in rebellion? Furthermore, just becaue Lincoln thought suspending habeas corpus was the right thing to do to save the country doesn't mean it was the right thing to do constitutionally.


The constitution reads 'when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it'.
 
it does not say 'where in cases of rebellion...'...



 Posted: Tue Feb 28th, 2012 02:12 pm
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Texas Defender
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Hank C-

  The quotation from the Constitution that you cited regarding the suspension of the Writ of Habeas Corpus is part of Article I, Section 9. Article I of the Constitution lists the powers granted to the Congress.

  The powers granted to the President in the Constitution are listed in Article II. They do not include the power to suspend the Writ of Habeas Corpus. Only the Congress has that power.

  Thus, the actions of Mr. Lincoln to suspend Habeas Corpus in certain areas of the country in 1861 were illegal. They had no legality under the Constitution until Congress suspended the Writ of Habeas Corpus in 1863.



 Posted: Tue Feb 28th, 2012 03:16 pm
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HankC
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habeas corpus is not freedom from being arrested - it is the right to release after unlawful arrest.

it's especially interesting under martial law...



 Posted: Tue Feb 28th, 2012 04:11 pm
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Hank C-

  The issue being debated is whether or not Mr. Lincoln had the legal authority to suspend the Writ of Habeas Corpus.

  In the Spring of 1861, Mr. Lincoln authorized certain military officers in certain areas of the country  to arrest without warrant anyone they suspected of disloyalty. He ordered his officers to disregard any Writ of Habeas Corpus issued to them and to say that he had suspended the Writ.

  When in the case of a certain Mr. Merryman, the Judicial Branch in the form of Chief Justice Roger Taney issued a Writ of Habeas Corpus requiring the arresting officer to show cause why Mr. Merryman should be arrested, the Writ was ignored. Some have maintained that Mr. Lincoln was prepared to arrest the Chief Justice if he persisted, so Mr. Taney had to back off and admit that he lacked the power to check the Executive.

  In September of 1862, Mr. Lincoln suspended the Writ by proclamation. Thus he formally took it upon himself to claim for himself powers reserved for the Congress in the Constitution.

  For two years, until Congress suspended the Writ in March of 1863, Mr. Lincoln's minions arrested thousands of citizens without warrants and held them in prisons as long as they wished to. As long as the Legislative Branch chose not to act, there was nothing that could be done about it.

  Thus, Mr. Lincoln proceeded to usurp the powers of the Legislative Branch and intimidate the Judicial Branch. You may well make a list of Mr. Lincoln's virtues but, based on his actions, your contention that he: "Held in high regard the power vested in the President by the Constitution" would not be a believable addition.

Habeas Corpus in the Civil War


  The question of when the declaration of martial law is appropriate was addressed by Supreme Court Justice David Davis in the case of Ex parte Milligan. In ruling against the government, he wrote: "Martial rule can never exist where the courts are open, and in the proper and unobstructed exercise of their jurisdiction."

Last edited on Tue Feb 28th, 2012 04:54 pm by Texas Defender



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 Posted: Tue Feb 28th, 2012 07:22 pm
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HankC
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yes - you hit the nail on the head:
 
'As long as the Legislative Branch chose not to act, there was nothing that could be done about it.'
 
by choosing not to act - they acted...



 Posted: Tue Feb 28th, 2012 08:06 pm
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Hank C-

  You can take the view that by not acting, the Legislative Branch acted, if you wish. I cannot say if that was because they, too, were intimidated by seeing how the Chief Justice was treated, or because they didn't wish to take on their new president when a war was breaking out. At any rate, they looked the other way.

  In the end, however, the Legislative Branch did not cede their Constitutional power to the Executive. They reasserted it by officially suspending Habeas Corpus in 1863. It can be maintained that if they thought that the President had the power to suspend Habeas Corpus on his own, there would have been no need for the Congress to do it themselves later.

Last edited on Tue Feb 28th, 2012 08:10 pm by Texas Defender



 Posted: Tue Feb 28th, 2012 11:48 pm
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Savez wrote: Maryland was not in rebellion. There was only threat of rebellion. Maryland had not seceded.
I don't think Maryland could have joined the Confederacy. I believe the state was under martial law during the war. Lee had hoped to get Maryland Confederate sympathizers to join his army during the Maryland campaign, but the state itself didn't really have a chance due to DC. There was no way Lincoln was going to let the capital be surrounded by Confederate territory and thus cut off from the rest of the nation.

 



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 Posted: Wed Feb 29th, 2012 01:39 pm
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Savez-

 You're absolutely right. Perhaps by making his proclamation in September of 1862, Mr. Lincoln forced the Congress to act on the question that they had so far ignored, in order to not appear to be giving up their Constitutional power on the issue to the Executive.

  In response to your post #77, I would say that Mr. Lincoln believed that in times of national emergency, he could claim for himself powers not granted to the Executive by the Constitution. In effect, the Constitution became an impediment to him as he sought to preserve the Union by any means necessary.

  It is clear that Mr. Lincoln's actions were opposed by many both during and after the war. His own appointees to the Supreme Court repudiated the government's position in Ex parte Milligan. But by then the war was already won, and the Union preserved. My guess is that Mr. Lincoln would not have cared much about the Court's decision by that time, since his primary goal of preserving the Union had already been accomplished.

 

Last edited on Wed Feb 29th, 2012 01:54 pm by Texas Defender



 Posted: Wed Feb 29th, 2012 02:21 pm
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Texas Defender wrote: Hank C-

  You can take the view that by not acting, the Legislative Branch acted, if you wish. I cannot say if that was because they, too, were intimidated by seeing how the Chief Justice was treated, or because they didn't wish to take on their new president when a war was breaking out. At any rate, they looked the other way.

  In the end, however, the Legislative Branch did not cede their Constitutional power to the Executive. They reasserted it by officially suspending Habeas Corpus in 1863. It can be maintained that if they thought that the President had the power to suspend Habeas Corpus on his own, there would have been no need for the Congress to do it themselves later.


I agree.
 
I think they had cover in that Lincoln was already suspending the writ and they did not want to stick their necks out.
 
The nation was much more executive-centric in the 1800s. Congress seldom met...



 Posted: Wed Feb 29th, 2012 02:28 pm
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Hellcat wrote: Savez wrote: Maryland was not in rebellion. There was only threat of rebellion. Maryland had not seceded.
I don't think Maryland could have joined the Confederacy. I believe the state was under martial law during the war. Lee had hoped to get Maryland Confederate sympathizers to join his army during the Maryland campaign, but the state itself didn't really have a chance due to DC. There was no way Lincoln was going to let the capital be surrounded by Confederate territory and thus cut off from the rest of the nation.

 


some fine studies show that Maryland, though a slave state, had been losing slaves and slaveholders for years.
 
The sharpsburg campaign was into exactly the wrong part of the state to entice southern sympathizers...



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