Abraham Lincoln's Suspension Of Habeas Corpus

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After the Emancipation Proclamation, in 1861 Lincoln decided to issue yet another executive order, suspension of Habeas Corpus. Habeas Corpus is a legal guarantee, which gives the individual the right to know why he or she is being arrested and to be entitled to a trial. It is important to notice that Abraham Lincoln has suspended Habeas Corpus on numerous occasion during the Civil War (Foner, p.98-99). The reason I choose to focus on the executive order form March 3rd, 1983, is because at that time Lincoln suspended Habeas Corpus throughout the whole North. We must also acknowledge that Abraham Lincoln was much more careful inn suspending civil liberties during a war, than other American presidents in U.S history. But without a doubt…show more content…
He argued, to paraphrase Eric Foner that the exercise of some of those liberties is threatening to dismantle the whole structure of government. For Lincoln violation of some civil liberties was in retrospect worth it order to preserve the government. What in my opinion need to be stressed when it comes to Lincoln suspension act is that he really believed that benefits of it outweigh the costs. He also argued, in front of a special session of Congress, that the country was in rebellion and circumstance called for such drastic measures .It was after all the public safety that was in danger. The issue of the controversy over the suspension of Habeas Corpus steam form the fact that the American Constitution is not specific enough to determine who gets to suspend the writ Congress or the President. Article 1 section 9 of the Constitution states that the privilege of the Habeas Corpus cannot be suspended unless in cases of rebellion invasion in which naturally the public safety is threatened. On the other hand, the article 1 of the Constitution deals with the legislative branch, which may suggest that it is the Congress who gets to decide to suspend the writ. Lincoln agreed to some extent that it is the Congress who was vested with this particular power but he maintain that the Constitution does not specify which branch legislative or executive is to exercise that power. He continues by arguing that it is hardly believable that the framers would live such an emergency power to the Congress who would need time to organize an assembly while it might be too late. Lincoln argued that the executive branch is more equipped to exercise that power due to the fact that the decision can be made much
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