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 Posted: Thu Jun 19th, 2008 10:20 pm
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Texas Defender
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David-

  I don't know of any specific order given by Mr. Lincoln to arrest the entire Maryland legislature, nor were all of them arrested. The word I used was: "authorized." He authorized it by putting it within the powers of his military subordinates to arrest them. So, if Mr. Lincoln doesn't get the: "credit," to whom in the chain of command do you assign it? General Scott? Commanders of departments?

  It is clear in Lincoln's letter to General Scott on April 25, 1861 that he did not want the general to take action unless it seemed that an armed insurrection was being planned in Maryland. But it gives the power to General Scott.

Lincoln and the Constitution - Abraham Lincoln Papers - Abraham Lincoln to Winfield Scott, Thursday, April 25, 1861 (Arrest o...

  The dilemma of the Maryland legislators is examined pretty well here.

Teaching American History in Maryland - Documents for the Classroom - Maryland State Archives

  It explains that the planned meeting of the legislature in September was prevented in August when federal authorities arrived in Frederick seeking to arrest those members of the Maryland legislature that they considered disloyal. This action and subsequent arrests might not even have been necessary as it is not clear that the legislators would ever have approved an act of secession.

  Prior to this time, Mr. Lincoln had (illegally) suspended the writ of habeas corpus in a letter to General Scott. (April 27, 1861). It authorized the suspension between Philadelphia and Washington DC.  Nowhere in the Consitution is that power extended to the president.

Suspension of Writ of Habeas Corpus OR

  Thus, the situation as far as the military was concerned was that the writ was suspended in the Department of Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland, the Department of Annapolis, and the Department of Washington DC. General Scott ordered General Meigs to arrest any citizen suspected of being disloyal. This authorization led to the arrests of certain officials in Baltimore and some Maryland legislators.

  Without this power given by the president to the military, there would have been no authorization for the arrests to be made.

 

 

Last edited on Thu Jun 19th, 2008 11:07 pm by Texas Defender

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