Chapter

Conclusion: The Limits of Sovereignty

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: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226314860.003.0009
Conclusion: The Limits of Sovereignty

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Sequestration and confiscation present an opportunity to explore the way competing property ideologies were tested and utilized in the midst of the Civil War. In particular, the confiscation debates were a significant episode in a century-long shift in the conception of the Constitution from a near-perfect machine for the distribution of federal power toward its late nineteenth-century role as the ultimate protector of the natural rights of individual property. Even as war raged, the making of confiscation policy prompted fundamental questions about the basis of private property, the nature of the Constitution, and the relationship of individual property rights to the needs of the state. In antebellum America, the focus of American liberal constitutionalism slowly shifted to a greater reliance on the Constitution for protection of individual rights, particularly property rights, a process that was greatly accelerated after the Civil War. Confiscation was an important episode in this shift and contributed to the increasing dominance of a property regime-based, liberal, rights-oriented constitutionalism.

Keywords: sequestration; confiscation; Civil War; Constitution; private property; property rights; liberal constitutionalism

Chapter.  1095 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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