Chapter

The Legitimacy of Coercion

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/9780226237954.003.0006
The Legitimacy of Coercion

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The question of congressional power was considered in more detail in a formal opinion by Buchanan's attorney general, who concluded that none of Congress's delegated powers authorized the use of force against a state. He focused on two congressional powers. The Constitution clearly empowers the government to suppress state interference with its operations. The centrality of slavery to secession is demonstrated by the appeals made by South Carolina and the gulf-states to the remainder of the South. The study of the commissioners merely confirms the consensus among historians today about the centrality of slavery to secession. The centrality of the slavery issue is sometimes misunderstood because of Lincoln's repeated insistence early in the war that abolition was not a war aim. Protecting slavery was not the sole motive for secession, but it was an essential ingredient. Secession simply cannot be justified as an effort to shake off an oppressive government. In coercing the South, the North cannot be accused of violating any moral right to revolution.

Keywords: congressional power; coercion; legitimacy; moral rights; slavery

Chapter.  9954 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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