Posted: 5 May 2003
The Civil War raised fundamental issues about the American constitutional system. The first half of this book probes the disputes about states' rights that led up to the Civil War. The discussion begins with early understandings of sovereignty, then considers the Marshall Court and the nullification movement, and ends with a discussion of the constitutional and moral legitimacy of secession. The second half of the book focuses on the difficult constitutional problems that arose during the war itself, including Lincoln's aggressive use of executive power, civil liberties issues such as the use of military tribunals, and the general stress placed on the rule of law by wartime conditions. Much of the book is purely historical, but it also considers how Lincoln and his era can illuminate - and in turn be illuminated by - modern constitutional debates.
Keywords: Constitutional Law, Executive Power, Military Powers, Rule of Law
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