Chapter

“With the Law of War in Time of War”

Burrus M. Carnahan

in Lincoln on Trial

Published by University Press of Kentucky

Published in print January 2010 | ISBN: 9780813125695
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813135380 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5810/kentucky/9780813125695.003.0002
“With the Law of War in Time of War”

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At the beginning of the Civil War, Jefferson Davis and Abraham Lincoln had diametrically opposed views on the nature of the conflict and the laws that should apply to the conduct of hostilities and the treatment of enemy persons. During the first year of the war, the president and his supporters clung to the belief that the majority of the Southern people were fundamentally loyal to the Union but had been misled by a small clique of secessionist politicians. Between April and December 1861, the Lincoln administration and its military commanders in the field responded to the pressures by slowly applying more and more of the law of war to their dealings with the rebels. President Lincoln's April 19, 1861, blockade proclamation both claimed rights against the Confederates under the international law of war and declared that he would refuse to recognize the rights of Confederate sailors under the same body of law. A number of examples illustrate how loosely the concept of military necessity has been interpreted in practice.

Keywords: Civil War; Abraham Lincoln; Jefferson Davis; law of war; rebels; Confederates; military commanders

Chapter.  10504 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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