Lincoln, the Constitution of Necessity, and the Necessity of Constitutions
Some invoke the legacy of Abraham Lincoln to justify largely unchecked executive power which in times of war trumps constitutional limits and guarantees of liberty. This article suggests that the Lincoln model is a poor one to follow: because some of his actions were inconsitent with democratic government, because the administration invoked the doctrine of necessity when many of the cabinet thought no necessity existed, and because in the end, Lincoln himself refused to follow his logic to its inevitable conclusion. It critiques two article by Michael Paulsen invoking Lincoln to justify largely unchecked executive power.
Law and Politics
Date of this Version
Michael Kent Curtis, "Lincoln, the Constitution of Necessity, and the Necessity of Constitutions" (February 13, 2006). bepress Legal Series. bepress Legal Series.Working Paper 952.