By Jonathan W. White
In the spring of 1861, Union army professionals arrested Maryland farmer John Merryman on fees of treason opposed to the us for burning railroad bridges round Baltimore so one can hinder northern squaddies from attaining the capital. From his criminal mobilephone at fortress McHenry, Merryman petitioned leader Justice of the preferrred courtroom Roger B. Taney for free up via a writ of habeas corpus. Taney issued the writ, yet President Abraham Lincoln missed it. In mid-July Merryman was once published, basically to be indicted for treason in a Baltimore federal courtroom. His case, even if, by no means went to trial and federal prosecutors ultimately disregarded it in 1867.
In Abraham Lincoln and Treason within the Civil conflict, Jonathan White finds how the arrest and prosecution of this little-known Baltimore farmer had a long-lasting impression at the Lincoln management and Congress as they struggled to improve guidelines to house either northern traitors and southern rebels. His paintings exposes a number of perennially debatable felony and constitutional matters in American historical past, together with the character and quantity of presidential warfare powers, the advance of nationwide guidelines for facing disloyalty and treason, and the safety of civil liberties in wartime.
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Extra resources for Abraham Lincoln and treason in the Civil War : the trials of John Merryman
The aged judge immediately traveled north to Baltimore and convened a court session to hear the case. m. 20 About two thousand people crowded outside the Masonic Hall on the morning of Monday, May 27. m. sharp Taney took his seat in the courtroom. After a few minutes, one of General Cadwalader’s subordinates appeared before the court in full military regalia. He presented to the court a letter from the general that explained why Merryman could not be brought before Taney at this time. Merryman was charged with “various acts of treason” and was an officer in a military company that was armed against the United States.
He reminded the nation that all of the laws were being resisted in a large part of the Union. Lincoln wondered if those laws should all be allowed to fail even if he could preserve them by violating one single law. “To state the question more directly,” continued the president, “are all the laws, but one, to go unexecuted, and the government itself go to pieces, lest that one be violated? ” But Lincoln denied that any law had been broken, for the Constitution allowed the writ to be suspended “when in cases of rebellion or invasion, the public safety may require it,” and Lincoln certainly faced a case of rebellion.
Kane, met at the home of Mayor George Wil- 16 | Abraham Lincoln and Treason in the Civil War liam Brown to discuss how to prevent more federal soldiers from traveling through the city. While accounts of the gathering vary, it is clear that the participants all opposed the passage of more Union troops through the state and desired to find a way to impede their route. Burning railroad bridges seemed the most efficient way. ” Some members of the meeting claimed that Governor Hicks verbally authorized the burning of bridges.
Abraham Lincoln and treason in the Civil War : the trials of John Merryman by Jonathan W. White