Constitutionalism in the Approach and Aftermath of the Civil War
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: Fordham University Press
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This collection of essays examines American constitutionalism from the founding to the Progressive era. At its center is Abraham Lincoln’s states-manship on slavery and secession. Additional essays consider issues and events leading to the Civil War, as well as its legacy. All the authors are students or colleagues of Herman Belz, the author of the central chapter, who has devoted his career to understanding the American Constitution and its history. “Like law itself,” Belz has written, “a constitution also has a normative content which is ...
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In 1862, the secessionist Congress at Richmond commissioned a Great Seal for their newly formed Confederate States of America featuring a portrait of George Washington, mounted and in Revolutionary War uniform, at its center. Th e date surrounding the portrait was February 22, 1862—the 130th anniversary (New Style) of Washington’s birth. It was a curious choice for a disunionist Congress ...
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Martin Van Buren stands at a signifi cant crossroads of antebellum po-litical thought between old republican partisans of state rights and the Republican Party cause of “Free Soil, Free Labor, and Free Men.” His political thought is indispensable for understanding how the Jeff ersonian–Jacksonian coalition gave way to the sectional split of Civil War–era political parties. Van Buren’s long political career exemplifi es the persistent northern use of state rights language, even as slavery became the predominant political is-...
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And now I appeal to all—to Democrats as well as others,—are you really willing that the Declaration shall be thus frittered away?—thus left no more at most, than an interesting memorial of the dead past? thus shorn of its vitality, and practical value; and left without the germ or even the Abraham Lincoln fi rst replied to the Dred Scott decision in Springfi eld, Illinois, ...
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In political life, to question the desirability or necessity of the survival of the political community implicates the crime of treason. Similarly, confl ict over the internal structure of the political community, including the question of who should rule the society, implicates the danger of civil war. Southern se-cession in 1861 precipitated a crisis of American nationality defi ned by the con-vergence of these two fundamental problems. Th e reality of disunion channeled the passions, interests, and ambitions provoked by debate over the nature of the ...
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As the Civil War was concluding, Jeff erson Davis, the recalcitrant Confed-erate president, hoped somehow to maintain the confl ict and still bring the North to recognize Confederate independence. Fleeing Richmond on April 10, 1865, Davis made his way south, stopping at several places and en-couraging his fellow citizens not to lose heart. “Th is has been a war of the people for the people,” he told a gathering at Charlotte, North Carolina, in a faint echo of Lincoln’s more famous language at Gettysburg, “and if they desire to continue ...
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Among the most important characteristics of American society through history have been commitments to constitutionalism, liberty, and the rule of law. Th erefore constitutional history was a focus even of pioneer American historians. Once narrowly conceived as the history of evolving legal doctrine and governmental institutions, in recent decades historians have broad-ened the fi eld’s horizons, linking it closely to political, social, and cultural de-velopments. Legal academics primarily concerned with constitutional doctrine ...
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In his fi rst political speech, a humble Abraham Lincoln said, “My politics are short and sweet, like the old woman’s dance. I am in favor of a national bank. I am in favor of the internal improvement system, and a high protec-tive tariff .” When the Republican Party came to power in 1861, it had the oppor-tunity to implement this program, whose roots lay in Alexander Hamilton and Henry Clay’s policy of national mercantilism. In “Lincoln and the Constitution: Th e Dictatorship Question Reconsidered,” Herman Belz considered and rejected ...
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To the Eastern politicians he seemed like an accident; but to history he Among the many contributions of Herman Belz, perhaps the most mean-ingful from the perspective of a political theorist is Belz’s artful weaving of history and ideas in his many great works. Belz is among the very best historians of the United States, and he has achieved this accomplishment without suff ocating the great, transcendent ideas of the American regime with the meth-odological assumptions of historicism. He has enlightened those of us in political ...
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Until recently, scholars typically argued that social Darwinism and laissez- faire ideology transfi xed early twentieth-century American con-stitutionalism. Th ese doctrines supposedly governed Supreme Court jurisprudence and justifi ed opposition to economic regulation. Th is interpreta-tion repeated the indictment of Progressive-era reformers, scholars, and judges, but it has been considerably undermined. Revisionists argue that Justices of the so-called Lochner era respected the law as a system of authority that oriented and ...
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Anita Palladino, ed., Diary of a Yankee Engineer: Th e Civil War Story of John H. Herman Belz, Abraham Lincoln, Constitutionalism, and Equal Rights in the Civil Earl J. Hess, Liberty, Virtue, and Progress: Northerners and Th eir War for the Union. Second revised edition, with a new introduction by the author.William L. Burton, Melting Pot Soldiers: Th e Union’s Ethnic Regiments....
Page Count: 288
Illustrations: 9 b/w
Publication Year: 2013
Series Title: The North's Civil War (FUP)