The Fate of Liberty: Abraham Lincoln and Civil Liberties

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In the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Fate of Liberty, Mark Neely -- one of America's leading authorities on Lincoln -- explores the whole range of Lincoln's constitutional policies, examining his controversial restriction of civil liberties and the abuses of power that arose under martial law.

Neely depicts Lincoln's suspension of habeas corpus as a well-intentioned attempt to deal with a floodtide of unforeseen events -- from the disintegrating public order in the border states to...

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Overview

In the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Fate of Liberty, Mark Neely -- one of America's leading authorities on Lincoln -- explores the whole range of Lincoln's constitutional policies, examining his controversial restriction of civil liberties and the abuses of power that arose under martial law.

Neely depicts Lincoln's suspension of habeas corpus as a well-intentioned attempt to deal with a floodtide of unforeseen events -- from the disintegrating public order in the border states to the outcry against the first draft in U.S. history. Drawing on letters from prisoners, records of military courts and federal prisons, memoirs, and federal archives, he paints a vivid picture of how Lincoln responded to these problems, how his policies were actually executed, and the virulent political debates that followed. Lincoln emerges from this account with his legendary statesmanship intact -- mindful of political realities and prone to temper the sentences of military courts, concerned not with persecuting his opponents but with prosecuting the war efficiently.

Written with keen insight and an intimate grasp of the original sources, The Fate of Liberty brings to life the crises and chaos of a nation at war with itself, changing our understanding of Lincoln and his most controversial policies.

If Lincoln was known as the Great Emancipator, he was also the only president to suspend the writ of habeas corpus. Indeed, Lincoln's record on the Constitution and individual rights has fueled a century of debate, and he has even been viewed as a dictator. Now, the Director of the Lincoln Museum wades into this controversy to set the record straight in this Pulitzer Prize-winning work.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780760788646
  • Publisher: Barnes & Noble
  • Publication date: 3/24/2007
  • Pages: 304

Meet the Author

About the Author:
Mark E. Neely is Director of the Lincoln Museum, and is the author of The Abraham Lincoln Encyclopedia and coauthor of The Lincoln Image, and other books on the Civil War era.

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Table of Contents

Introduction xi
1. Actions without Precedent 3
2. Missouri and Martial Law 32
3. Low Tide for Liberty 51
4. Arrests Move South 75
5. The Dark Side of the Civil War 93
6. Numbers and Definitions 113
7. The Revival of International Law 139
8. The Irrelevance of the Milligan Decision 160
9. The Democratic Opposition 185
10. Lincoln and the Constitution 210
Epilogue 223
Notes 237
Index of Prisoners of State 269
Index 273
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