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Saber and Scroll

Abstract

Following the events at Fort Sumter in April 1861 which began the American Civil War, Abraham Lincoln began to circumvent the Constitution, basing his actions on what he considered necessity and on his views concerning judicial review. Many of his decisions, however, stretched the Constitution further than the Founders would have envisioned and some violated central tenets of the document. Lincoln stretched the limits of constitutional provisions by raising troops and spending treasury money without congressional approval, through censoring the press, suspending the writ of habeas corpus, again without congressional approval, issuing the Emancipation Proclamation, and in other ways, such as partitioning Virginia and suspending free elections. Many of the actions Lincoln took still affect the United States today.

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