I think the constitution invests its commander-in-chief, with the law of war, in time of war.

Abraham Lincoln, August 26, 1863

1863 cartoon

This political cartoon appeared in February 1863.  Can you name the figures facing Lincoln’s chopping block?

Lincoln and the Laws of War

“I felt that measures, otherwise unconstitutional, might become lawful, by becoming indispensable to the preservation of the constitution, through the preservation of the nation. Right or wrong, I assumed this ground, and now avow it.”  —Abraham Lincoln, April 4, 1864

Discussion Question

Where in the U.S. constitution can you find the phrase, “separation of powers”?

And upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justice, warranted by the Constitution, upon military necessity, I invoke the considerate judgment of mankind, and the gracious favor of Almighty God.

Discussion Question

Where does this sentence come from?  Who wrote it?  What does it mean?

Law of War

For a related project from the Student Hall of Fame, see Daniel Kline, Francis Lieber (Fall 2021)