By Jonathan W. White
In the spring of 1861, Union army specialists arrested Maryland farmer John Merryman on fees of treason opposed to the us for burning railroad bridges round Baltimore so as to hinder northern infantrymen from achieving the capital. From his criminal phone at fortress McHenry, Merryman petitioned leader Justice of the ultimate court docket Roger B. Taney for unlock via a writ of habeas corpus. Taney issued the writ, yet President Abraham Lincoln missed it. In mid-July Merryman was once published, in simple terms to be indicted for treason in a Baltimore federal courtroom. His case, besides the fact that, by no means went to trial and federal prosecutors ultimately brushed off it in 1867.
In Abraham Lincoln and Treason within the Civil conflict, Jonathan White unearths how the arrest and prosecution of this little-known Baltimore farmer had an enduring impression at the Lincoln management and Congress as they struggled to increase regulations to house either northern traitors and southern rebels. His paintings exposes numerous perennially debatable criminal and constitutional concerns in American background, together with the character and volume of presidential battle powers, the advance of nationwide guidelines for facing disloyalty and treason, and the security of civil liberties in wartime.
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Additional resources for Abraham Lincoln and treason in the Civil War : the trials of John Merryman
The president felt some consolation when the Sixth Massachusetts arrived from Baltimore on the evening of the nineteenth. ” The Bay State soldiers drilled on Pennsylvania 18 | Abraham Lincoln and Treason in the Civil War Avenue and kept their quarters in the Capitol. 21 On April 20 and 21, Lincoln met with Mayor Brown and several “penitent and suppliant crowd[s] of conditional Secessionists from Baltimore” who begged that no more northern troops be sent through their city. They warned the president that the Baltimore mob “was thoroughly unmanageable” and that the soldiers must reach Washington by some other route.
10 On April 27, the War Department divided the seat of war into three military districts. ” On May 21, Yohe ordered a subordinate to “be cautious in your movements and be well satisfied that the captain or any of them are spreading secession sentiments and using their influence in favor of the Southern Confederacy. By all means get the arms. . If you arrest the captain take him to General Cad- 28 | Abraham Lincoln and Treason in the Civil War walader’s department. Do not be precipitate. ”12 On May 22, Assistant Adjutant General Fitz-John Porter ordered Yohe to arrest “any armed bodies of men outside of Baltimore collected with hostile intent .
In Lincoln’s mind, it was neither of these things. The people’s liberty would be protected, but the government would also flex its muscle enough to stamp out treason and insurrection. ” 40 At this point Lincoln explained the course of action he had taken. ” Still, because Lincoln’s actions were being challenged in the courts and by the Democratic press, Lincoln felt obliged to answer 38 | Abraham Lincoln and Treason in the Civil War his detractors with the constitutional grounding for his actions.
Abraham Lincoln and treason in the Civil War : the trials of John Merryman by Jonathan W. White