The Ordeal of Sequestration

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 Ordeal of Sequestration

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While an overall picture of the course of sequestration is necessary, attention to individual localized narratives can best reveal the impact and importance of the Sequestration Act in the daily life of ordinary citizens of the Confederacy. Sovereignty becomes power only when sovereign will is applied to particular people in particular places. The central role of the receivers in enforcing sequestration is an early instance of federal bureaucracies exercising broad power over property, subject to little or no judicial review. In the embrace of centralized administrative power, the Confederacy, ironically, moved further, faster than the Union. In the decades after the Civil War, the dramatic rise of federal administrative regulation, and in particular the creation of the Interstate Commerce Commission, ushered in the “bureaucratic state,” in which great power over property was delegated to unelected administrative actors. The administration of the Sequestration Act was an important, little-noticed precedent to this later trend.

Keywords: sequestration; confiscation; property; Sequestration Act; sovereignty; Confederacy; administrative power; Union; bureaucratic state

Chapter.  12215 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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