Contact: Erin Rolfs
Abraham Lincoln and Treason in the Civil War: Exposes Controversial National Policies From Treason to Presidential Powers, Jonathon White Sheds New Light on Civil War History
Baton Rouge, LA— In Abraham Lincoln and Treason in the Civil War, Jonathan White reveals how the arrest and prosecution of a little-known Baltimore farmer had a lasting impact on the Lincoln administration and Congress as they struggled to develop policies to deal with both northern traitors and southern rebels.
As White describes, Union military authorities arrested Maryland farmer John Merryman in the spring of 1861on charges of treason against the United States for burning railroad bridges around Baltimore in an effort to prevent northern soldiers from reaching the capital. From his prison cell at Fort McHenry, Merryman petitioned Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Roger B. Taney for release through a writ of habeas corpus. Taney issued the writ, but President Abraham Lincoln ignored it. In mid-July Merryman was released, only to be indicted for treason in a Baltimore federal court. His case, however, never went to trial and federal prosecutors finally dismissed it in 1867.
Abraham Lincoln and Treason in the Civil War sheds significant new light on several perennially controversial legal and constitutional issues in American history, including the nature and extent of presidential war powers, the development of national policies for dealing with disloyalty and treason, and the protection of civil liberties in wartime.
Jonathan W. White is an assistant professor of American Studies and a fellow at the Center for American Studies at Christopher Newport University.
224 pages, 5 1/2 x 8 1/2, 13 halftones