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Act of Justice (Hardback)

Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation and the Law of War

World History > The Americas > USA

Imprint: University Press of Kentucky
Pages: 212
ISBN: 9780813124636
Published: 21st September 2007
Casemate UK Academic

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In his first inaugural address, Abraham Lincoln declared that as president he would "have no lawful right" to interfere with the institution of slavery. Yet less than two years later, he issued a proclamation intended to free all slaves throughout the Confederate states. When critics challenged the constitutional soundness of the act, Lincoln asserted that he was endowed "with the law of war in time of war." In Act of Justice, Burrus M. Carnahan contends Lincoln was no reluctant emancipator; he wrote a truly radical document that treated Confederate slaves as an oppressed people rather than merely as enemy property. In this respect, Lincoln's proclamation anticipated the intellectual warfare tactics of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

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