A More Perfect Union: The Impact of the Civil War and Reconstruction on the Constitution

By Harold M. Hyman | Go to book overview

Chapter XVI
Litigation: The Great Moral Substitute for Force

A year after Lincoln announced emancipation of slaves and the enlistment of Negroes into the Army ( September 1862, January 1863), nine months after he signed into law the conscription, Provost Marshal General, and habeas-corpus-indemnityremoval bills ( March 1863), he issued ( December 8, 1863) a proclamation on amnesty, pardon, and Reconstruction. Thereafter, Reconstruction alternatives took form from the President's proposal, the "first in the field," Eben G. Scott noted.

Many congressmen had been and remained keenly sensitive to Reconstruction implications, especially with respect to race, if only because reconstructed southern states' courts touched race relationships as well as Congress's arrangements on courts' jurisdictions, among many other matters such as conscription and confiscation. Alfred Conkling hit the mark in his statement that, like the President's Reconstruction proclamation, Congress's 1863 removal law aimed "to readjust the shattered political fabric" once the War ended victoriously.1

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1
Eben G. Scott, Reconstruction During the Civil War in the United States of America ( Boston and New York, 1895), 275; Alfred Conkling, A Treatise on the Organization, Jurisdiction, and Practice of the Courts of the United States ( Albany, 1870), unnumbered prefatory page.

-263-

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