Lincoln’s law: How did the Civil War change the Constitution?

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  • During the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln decided to suspend habeas corpus, a protection in the Constitution that prohibited imprisonment without a trial.
  • From Lincoln’s point of view, following the law to the letter during that unprecedented and pivotal moment in history (i.e. the threat of war and secession from the Union) would put lawfulness itself at risk, so some restrictions of civil liberties were necessary.
  • The war and the president’s actions changed how the founding document is interpreted and sometimes challenged by the rule of men.

The Political Thought of the Civil War (American Political Thought)
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