Radical Property Confiscation in the Thirty-Seventh Congress

in The Limits of Sovereignty

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print February 2007 | ISBN: 9780226314822
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226314860 | DOI:
Radical Property Confiscation in the Thirty-Seventh Congress

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On July 4, 1861, Abraham Lincoln called the Thirty-seventh Congress into special session. On August 6, the last day of this short first session, the Congress passed, and Lincoln soon signed, the First Confiscation Act, a law that authorized the seizure of any property, including slave property, used by the Confederacy to directly aid the war effort. When the second session of the Thirty-seventh Congress convened in December 1861, Senator Lyman Trumbull, a Republican from Illinois and the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, introduced S 78, a confiscation bill entitled “For the confiscation of the property of rebels, and giving freedom to the persons they hold in slavery.” In an indication of Trumbull's initial dominance of the confiscation issue, the Judiciary Committee later recommended the confiscation bill S 151, a minimally reworked version of his earlier bill. This chapter, which discusses radical property confiscation measures introduced in the Thirty-Seventh Congress, first examines legitimacy and the rule of law, and then considers sovereignty, radicalism, and republicanism.

Keywords: Thirty-Seventh Congress; legitimacy; rule of law; sovereignty; radicalism; republicanism; Lyman Trumbull; slavery; confiscation; property

Chapter.  8833 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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