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Abraham Lincoln During The Civil War Analysis

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When a president is sworn into office, they swear to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States. In the oath of office, there is no exception for nullification of the document, therefore meaning that the president is expected to follow the rules that are written. Abraham Lincoln, on the other hand, completely broke his promise to obey the Constitution, and took all matters into his own hands. Throughout his years as president, Lincoln managed to suspend the right of habeas corpus, imposed martial law, and overall took away many of the citizen’s freedom of speech given to them by the Constitution. Although Lincoln wanted to restore the Union during the Civil War, in no way did he have the right to defy the Constitution,…show more content…
One of the biggest offenses that Lincoln committed was the suspension of the right of habeas corpus under martial law. Lincoln wanted to impose martial law, and give military forces the power to arrest those in the Union that were for the Confederacy, without trial. In order to do so, he chose to suspend habeas corpus which is supposed to give those that are arrested the right to be brought before a judge. According to Article 1, Section 9, Clause 2 of the Constitution, which discusses the limits of Congress, “The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it.” The president is not given the specific right to suspend the writ of habeas corpus at any point during the Constitution, and ONLY the Congress is given the right to, making his actions absolutely improper. Regardless of the fact that Lincoln knew that he was not given this power, he refused to abide by the powers given to him, which is seen in the ex parte Merryman case. “Upon his arrest and detention during the Civil War by Union military officials in May 1861, John…show more content…
According to the Constitution, everything that he did during this time was unconstitutional, making his actions illegal and therefore, he should have been guilty for disobeying the document. Although, during this time period, Lincoln did not have a choice. The nation was separating and the only way for the Union to be restored was if he took risks. If the Union had split into two countries, the future of America may have been complete chaos. “Perhaps the most important action Lincoln took was his decision to fight to preserve the Union. In the end this decision to fight the Civil War resulted in the USA remaining one nation rather than splitting into two separate countries. Although Lincoln was criticized for stepping over the traditional bounds of executive power, he was faced with the greatest threat to federal authority in the history of the country. He felt his job was to protect the Union from disintegrating” (“The Accomplishments of President Abraham Lincoln”). This proves that no matter what Lincoln may have done, he had the Union’s best interest in mind. When a president is sworn into office, yes, they are agreeing to follow the Constitution, but most importantly, they are vowing to lead the country and to protect the people as a whole. Abraham Lincoln risked his life,
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