Chapter

The Secession Crisis

in Lincoln's Constitution

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2003 | ISBN: 9780226237930
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226237954 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226237954.003.0002
The Secession Crisis

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The first modern war—a war in which death had virtually become an item of mass production—was bracketed by the deaths of a single private and a president. Many wondered during the conflict whether the Constitution would also be a casualty of war. The constitutional issues of Lincoln's time are not important purely for historical reasons. The Civil War was a unique epoch in American history. Lincoln made his moral condemnation of slavery clear, but did not contend for complete social or even legal equality for blacks. He spoke of “partial and temporary departures, from necessity,” away from American ideals. Some observers then and since have accused him of stepping over the line into dictatorship. Lincoln's formidable exercise of executive power did not end when Congress came back into session, but continued throughout the war.

Keywords: secession; executive power; American history; dictatorship; Constitution

Chapter.  7966 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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