Lincoln claimed to be fighting a war that would lead to “a new birth of freedom,” yet some claim he violated civil liberties on an unprecedented scale. How can a war for liberty be reconciled with such violations of civil liberties? Were the steps he took during the war constitutional? Why or why not? Compare and contrast Taney’s opinion in ex parte Merryman and Lincoln’s apologia in his letter to Erastus Corning and the New York Democrats.
- Lincoln, “Suspension of the Writ of Habeas Corpus”
- Fornieri, The Language of Liberty
- Roger B. Taney, “Ex Parte Merryman,” from Edward McPherson, Political History of the United States of America during the Great Rebellion, 1860-65
- Don E. Fehrenbacher, “Lincoln and the Constitution”
- Herman Belz, “Lincoln and the Constitution: The Dictatorship Question Revisited