Tuesday, August 09, 2016



Just completed the following book.  Very readable and balanced.  Excerpt from book review below.    My thoughts; excellent, short (288 pp. of text) and readable.  Ch. 8 and epilogue treat Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus and other civil liberties violations.  Given the severity of the situation facing Lincoln and the questionable acts by Pres. Wilson’s (WW I) and Roosevelt’s (WWII) were Lincoln’s actions that bad?  Did he  not have inherent and implied powers not mentioned in the Constitution when the future of the very nation   was directly and immediately imperiled?  On the civil side, where was Jefferson’s authority to make the Louisiana purchase?

“Lincoln and Chief Justice Taney: Slavery, Secession, and the President's War Powers

by Simon, James F.
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Retail Price: $27.00 hardcover [also available in paperback]
Issue: Spring ‘’2007
ISBN: 9780743250320
[From the review by Mark E. Steiner]


 “James F. Simon, a law professor at New York Law School and author of six previous books, has successfully paired Abraham Lincoln with Roger Taney to provide an accessible overview of the major legal issues presented by slavery and secession. Simon wrote this book for general readers (as indicated by the oddly asymmetric title, which suggests that Simon thought his audience would not recognize Taney without being further identified as chief justice). Most readers will enjoy immensely this crisply written, well-researched book. Simon tells a good story and tells it well. He does cover well-trod ground though, and those who have read earlier works by Don E. Fehrenbacher (The Dred Scott Case: Its Significance in American Law and Politics, 1978) or Harold M. Hyman (A More Perfect Union: The Impact of the Civil War and Reconstruction on the Constitution, 1975) will not find much that is new here.

On the first page, Simon notes how Lincoln and Taney bitterly disagreed on three fundamental issues slavery, secession, and Lincoln's constitutional authority during the civil war. Simon suggests that had Lincoln and Taney known each other in less perilous times, they might have been friends, or at least respectful adversaries.”



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