Suspension of Habeas Corpus

The Habeas Corpus Suspension Act, 12 Stat. 755 (1863)

During the Civil War, President Lincoln took the unprecedented (and highly controversial) step of unilaterally suspending Habeas Corpus.

We can understand why. When the Civil War broke out in April of 1861, Washington, D.C., was in jeopardy. Congress was not in session. Riots in Baltimore were threatening to spread.

When a special session of Congress was called on July 4, 1861, Lincoln defended his decision as necessary and constitutional.

It wasn’t until March of 1863 that Congress finally adopted the Habeas Corpus Suspension Act.

Pictured is the Proclamation of 1862 which suspended Habeas Corpus across the country and applied martial law to anyone charged with interfering with the draft, discouraging enlistments, disloyal practices or affording aid and comfort to the Confederacy.


Here is a link to the Habeas Corpus Suspension Act of 1863

Here is a link to Lincoln’s proclamation suspending habeas corpus in 1862


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