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Lecture 12

Complete Lecture 12 Notes

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Boston College
Political Science
POLI 2327

10/10/13 Lecture 12 • Slavery leads to fundamental structural problem that constitution doesn’t necessarily solve • Civil War WAS a war about slavery o Structural problems  One side said that Constitution was pro-slavery, others said it was looking to eradicate slavery • Collision of views will obviously lead to war • What did the Civil War mean? o How different was the Constitution before and after the war? Was it a revolution of what we thought was American Constitutionalism? • South Carolina seceded from the union o Idea that the north and the rest of the country is no longer committed to the fundamental bargain of the constitution o South’s vital interests are no longer protected by the constitution  They wanted out • Did they have the right to leave, though? They WOULD be in the permanent minority if they stayed… • Do parts of a nation have the right to break off and form their own country? o Lincoln’s theory = no, the union is perpetual  Had to enforce with war • Propose a counterfactual • Previous president Buchanan said that whether southern states could secede was up to Congress o Congress was not in session at that point • Lincolns vision is that a strong national government is necessary to protect freedom o Thinking about slavery  Believes that you should have the right to earn off the sweat of your brow. If you work, you should be compensated for it….THAT’S FREEDOM • New compact on nature of freedom and how it would be protected o Lincoln had sense he was standing at historical juncture that had to do with God, liberty, and equality  Believed that a rich, prosperous, free society is what the US stood for • “City Upon a Hill” o Deeper principle thing  Overlaid with historical understanding • Lincoln is elected and has to make his way to Washington o Had to sneak through Baltimore because it was sympathetic towards the south – could’ve been assassinated  Felt isolated in the capital • Lincoln starts doing things to preserve the union o Rejects Buchanan’s idea that it is Congress’ responsibility o Rejects letting south go • Takes unilateral action o Starts blockading southern courts, suspending habeus corpus, effectively declaring war on his own, without congress  Raises HUGE issues of congressional/presidential powers • Some people saw Lincoln as a tyrant • Lincoln reassures the sout
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