The Moderate Coup

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:
The Moderate Coup

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Inbetween the radical and conservative coalitions was a powerful group of legislators who were torn on the issue of confiscation. These moderates all belonged to the Republican Party, and most of them, in the end, voted to delay or significantly weaken radical confiscation. The defining role of this coalition in shaping confiscation policy has not received sufficient notice. Conservatives concerned about the property rights of individual Southerners found an unexpected ally in moderate Republicans taking an uneasy stand against the broad confiscation proposals advocated by radicals. Enough moderates were persuaded of parts of the conservative case to prevent the passage of a bill such as S 151, introduced by Senator Lyman Trumbull. Republicans from New England restrained the use of legislative power over property, thus showing the advancing power of liberal conceptions of property and sovereignty and changing ideas of legitimacy. When forced to declare a position, however, the moderates did more than just reveal ideological trends; they further solidified the ascendance of liberal constitutionalism.

Keywords: confiscation; moderates; Republican Party; property rights; Lyman Trumbull; legitimacy; sovereignty; liberal constitutionalism; property; radicals

Chapter.  10492 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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