In my Civil War class we are discussing Abraham Lincoln’s suspension of the Writ of Habeas Corpus. As in under the US Constitution you cannot just have civilians arrested under military authority and have them sit in a cell in a fort. Now while I am a “save the Union at all costs” kind of fellow I disagree with this action by Lincoln. As President he swore to uphold and defend the Constitution and you don’t do that by violating the document itself. Congress is the only body that can suspend the Writ and should have been given that chance.
I also need to take Lincoln to task for waiting until July to call the Congress back into session. You see in April when Sumter was fired upon and events were starting to happen, Lincoln issues a call for troops (he didn’t have the authority), suspends Habeas Corpus (he didn’t have the authority) and then calls for an emergency session of Congress (which he did have the authority). Does he call for them to come back from recess right away?? No, he calls them back as of July 4. Hmmm…this thing called the Civil War is such an emergency in Lincoln’s eyes that he violates the Constitution but waits 3 months to have Congress back in session…what is wrong with this picture?