Talk:Abraham Lincoln

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habeas corpus section[edit]

Does the current discussion of Lincoln's habeas corpus suspension (Abraham_Lincoln#Beginning_of_the_war) have the right balance of detail? Is it fair? Biased? Piledhighandeep (talk) 08:07, 28 January 2015 (UTC)

I'd like to discuss with User:Rjensen his objection to the current Abraham_Lincoln#Beginning_of_the_war section. You commented that "names are not relevant" to the Lincoln bio, but then deleted the phrase "a sitting US Congressman," which is not a name. (I agree that the Congressman's name is not important, but the fact that the president arrested a sitting Congressman without trial might be.) You also inserted "suspected of treason," but this is not known for all cases, since the point of these arrests is they were done without charges in many cases. In fact, the newspaper editor stated that he was arrested for writing an editorial critical of the president's dismissal of the Ex parte Merryman ruling. The president's disregard for that federal court ruling may have been illegal, but the editor's criticism of the president's disregard for it certainly wasn't illegal, not to mention "treason." Piledhighandeep (talk) 05:15, 28 January 2015 (UTC)

This is a biography of Abraham Lincoln, and the exact details of the thousands of suspected Confederate sympathizers is not needed. Lincoln signed off on the policy, but he did not handle the actual arrest nor did he investigate these cases. The article is very long and since Lincoln had a hand in many thousands of details regarding the Civil War, there is no particular reason to include it here. Put in the history of Maryland article. Sitting Congressman, of course, do not have immunity from the law except when they are acting on the floor of Congress. Rjensen (talk) 05:26, 28 January 2015 (UTC)
Thank you for explaining you concern. I actually reduced the length of the text, so that should help. Also, you say again 'suspected Confederate sympathizers,' but this is speculation. We do not know for those who were not charged. Many appear to have been merely anti-Lincoln or anti-war. This would be like calling all anti-Vietnam protesters arrested in various episodes during the 1960's 'communist sympathizers.' Piledhighandeep (talk) 05:57, 28 January 2015 (UTC)
No it is not a good comparison because in fact top leaders in Maryland were trying to seize control of the state and join the Confederacy. the point is that Lincoln took aggressive action to keep control of Maryland, and that deserves 100 words or some. -- He also took aggressive action in Missouri Kentucky in western Virginia, but we do not have enough space to cover all that. Our goal in this article is to tell succinctly what Lincoln did, especially in terms of preserving the union. The bitter complaints of neo-Confederates do not belong here. Rjensen (talk) 06:10, 28 January 2015 (UTC)
Some were pro-Confederate, as some anti-Vietnam protestors definitely were communist sympathizers, but not all were. This is known and recorded. For instance, let's look at the votes, on April 29, the Maryland Legislature voted 53–13 against secession,[1] but they also voted not to reopen rail links with the North, and they requested that Lincoln remove Union troops from Maryland.[2] Voting not to support the use of war against neighbors (like Virginia) who have seceded may be 'treason,' but it is not the same as trying to 'join the Confederacy,' which the Maryland legislators voted against. Likewise, as I already mentioned, a newspaper editor's criticism of the president's likely unlawful disregard of the Ex parte Merryman ruling of the Supreme Court Chief Justice (riding circuit or not) is neither pro-Confederate nor 'treason.' I am not a neo-Confederate, which is a rather ridiculous claim to level at someone of my background. This article should be fact based, not a hagiography of Lincoln. All history is complex, let's not distort it. Piledhighandeep (talk) 06:20, 28 January 2015 (UTC)
blocking the RR was treason. Rjensen (talk) 06:46, 28 January 2015 (UTC)
Yes, but not necessarily 'pro-Confederate,' it seems more 'anti-war,' as shown by the legislature's votes. Also, the arrested newspaper editor clearly did not commit treason simply by publishing an editorial critical of Lincoln's (likely unlawful) disregard of the federal court's Ex parte Merryman ruling. Piledhighandeep (talk) 06:55, 28 January 2015 (UTC)
people get shot for treason in wartime. people who take action to impede the war get arrested. Lincoln avoided shooting but he did the arresting. (and he released Merryman) What do you think was Lincoln's proper response to the threat of treason in Maryland and getting the troops through? Rjensen (talk) 07:06, 28 January 2015 (UTC)
A newspaper editor supporting the judicial branch, the Constitution, and separation of powers, against the president by writing an editorial critical of the president's disregard for a federal court ruling should be neither shot, nor arrested. (Especially since the Chief Justice's ruling stated that only Congress could suspend habeas, and Congress, even without its southern members, had not been able to get the votes to pass a suspension that summer.) Maybe Lincoln knew better, but that's not how the American constitutional system is supposed to work. I agree that Lincoln handled the situation admirably, and the end may well have justified his means. However, for a fascinating historical look at the strength of the Constitution, the federal judiciary, freedom of the press, and separation of powers in times of stress, the accurate portrayal of this event is crucial. These were interesting cracks in America's democracy. Piledhighandeep (talk) 07:25, 28 January 2015 (UTC)
That does not handle the case of treason during rebellion; "The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it." Did the public safety require it? well yes, and Taney did not deny it-- Merryman was accused of treason (helping blow up bridges so troop trains could not move). As for journalists, they get arrested too when they support traitors. Taney failed to ask, "did the public safety require it?" He instead invented theargument that ONLY Congress could ask that question. This is an encyclopedia and people are directed to other articles for all the details, and that applies here too. Keep the focus here on Lincoln. Rjensen (talk) 07:42, 28 January 2015 (UTC)
The newspaper editor was supporting the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court when writing his editorial critical of Lincoln, he was not a 'journalist' supporting a 'traitor.' This article needs to be NPOV, not use partisan language. Lincoln's disregard of the ruling that only Congress can suspend habeas, and then, after Congress did not pass a measure supporting Lincoln, Lincoln's arresting of a sitting Congressman and others without habeas in defiance of the ruling, is very much a topic focusing on Lincoln that belongs in this article. (Also, whether Chief Justice Taney "invented" the argument in his ruling, was not for Lincoln to decide. That isn't how separation of powers works.) Piledhighandeep (talk) 07:52, 28 January 2015 (UTC)
Taney invented the notion out of thin air that only Congress can act "when the public safety may require it." No court or expert before or since has agreed with that, and Lincoln's Attorney General rejected it at the time. Piledhighandeep is echoing antiwar attitudes of the 19 sixties ( as he says himself) and neo-Confederate attitudes of the 2010s. That is the only reason, I suggest, that such disproportionate attention is given to this episode in this article. Rjensen (talk) 18:46, 28 January 2015 (UTC)
Yes. That's the general analysis by sources, as if someone being shot at won't defend themselves - based on the say so of anyone. Alanscottwalker (talk) 19:17, 28 January 2015 (UTC)
Yes, I think Rjensen is correct here. --Coemgenus (talk) 19:00, 28 January 2015 (UTC)
"Piledhighandeep is echoing antiwar attitudes of the 19 sixties ( as he says himself)" I absolutely do not say so myself. "and neo-Confederate attitudes of the 2010s." I don't even know what 2010 attitudes you are referring to, but no I am not. How about facts rather than ad hominem? Do you have any? I've given several. Nothing was "invented out of thin air" by Chief Justice Taney, and if it was, as we all know, it wasn't for Lincoln or his political appointees (attorney general) to say so. That is not how separation of power worked then or works today. I can't believe you are even trying to argue this. Are you Lincoln apologists or are you interested in telling fact based history? Perhaps Chief Justice Marshall invented judicial review out of thin air? Is that what you think? This case is still relevant. Check-out Hamdi v. Rumsfeld. You know history is complex. Probably Lincoln did the right thing here--he was a great man and he righted a great iniquity--but let's tell the story historically, not as a fictional hagiography. Piledhighandeep (talk) 05:22, 29 January 2015 (UTC)
This is an article about Abraham Lincoln. It was Piledhighandeep who brought in the antiwar movement of the 19 sixties (above). Here is an example of his pov editing: and later had Francis Scott Key's grandson, Baltimore newspaper editor Frank Key Howard, arrested without charges or trial for writing an editorial critical of his dismissal of the ruling.. Piledhighandeep is waving the flag of the famous patriot Francis Scott Key in Lincoln's face. In wartime, the Army arrests people without charges or trials. The Army reports to the president. When he says the writ of habeas corpus is suspended, the Army follows his orders And disregards such writs. Rjensen (talk) 05:48, 29 January 2015 (UTC)
The "POV" edit you refer to is a fact. I'm sorry the facts don't fit the narrative you seem to be attached to. Children once grew up believing that most in Columbus' time thought the world was flat. In fact all educated people knew it was round. Should we retain the heroic fictional narrative because many are familiar with it, or should we present the facts? When the president says the writ is suspended and the Supreme Court Justice says it is not constitutional to suspend it without Congress' support and then Congress fails to suspend it, who is right? Who interprets the constitution? You? The president? In the American system, even in time of war, the judiciary interprets the Constitution. Piledhighandeep (talk) 18:31, 29 January 2015 (UTC)
I think the section does not fairly represent a number of points in weight of their typical mention that I have seen about it. Baltimore was in rebellion and blocking defenders from reaching the nations capitol, a direct threat of it being captured, and only after clever end run thru Annapolis did forces get there. If you'll look under Baltimore riot of 1861 or Baltimore riot you'll see troops were killed and a force of several hundred militia was formed, local government directed acts opposing by force the federal government. I'm not seeing these sorts of things given due weight of their typical presence, which makes a narrative issue too because it leaves a big hole by not showing the reasons why Lincoln would do this. Markbassett (talk) 06:01, 29 January 2015 (UTC)
The deaths (killing of troops) should definitely be mentioned (article only says they were attacked). I think my point is being misunderstood... I don't want to suggest (or portray) this episode as an inexcusable response by Lincoln. I simply thought the facts concerning its legality--ignoring a federal court ruling (by the then Chief Justice of the Supreme Court), imprisoning a newspaper editor critical of the ignoring of that ruling without charges, also a sitting Congressman--should be briefly given, because they starkly illustrate the seriousness of the crisis in America's democracy and Constitution that Lincoln had to negotiate. This is relevant even today. What is possible in times of war? What constitutional powers triumph (the president's executive power for instance) and what Constitutional powers may be sidelined or equivocated (the judiciary for instance). Piledhighandeep (talk) 18:31, 29 January 2015 (UTC)
In the determination of legality, The Supreme Court makes the decisions not a single judge. It never ruled on this case. Taney has a very bad reputation among historians -- as the worst of all Supreme Court justices, especially for his Dred Scott decision. He was an intense partisan And no one considers him a dispassionate analyst of the law. His very weak position in Merryman Was cleverly structured to argue that in at a moment of extreme national crisis, no one in the United States government have the authority to act in the name of national security. (He insisted with no evidence whatsoever that only Congress could act, and he did so because he knew it was not in session.) Lincoln ignored him, and so did Congress. Meanwhile this article about Lincoln should say how Lincoln actually dealt with the enormous threat of treason in Maryland. Rjensen (talk) 18:55, 29 January 2015 (UTC)
I won't support Taney, but he was Chief Justice. The judiciary interprets the Constitution, we'd have chaos if their decisions were ignored. Some argue the justices voted along partisan lines in Bush v. Gore, but we still honored their decision that Bush was elected. Also, Taney ruled the first week of June. Congress was in session later that summer, and it tried to pass a suspension of habeas, but it could not. It did not have enough support (even with only northern members). That is how a democracy works (even in war time). Nevertheless, in mid-September Lincoln arrested the newspaper editor critical of his ignoring of the ruling as well as a sitting US Congressman and others without habeas. Much of the country did not support war (see Copperhead (politics)). Anti-war sentiments are not the same as pro-Confederate, though Lincoln had a history of trying to conflate the two. See Ohio Congressman Clement Vallandigham leader of the anti-war Union Democrats in Congress, "On May 19, 1863, President Lincoln ordered Vallandigham deported and sent to the Confederacy. When he was within Confederate lines, Vallandigham said: 'I am a citizen of Ohio, and of the United States. I am here within your lines by force, and against my will. I therefore surrender myself to you as a prisoner of war.' " It is a common wartime propaganda tactic to accuse pacifists of secretly being pro enemy, and we see Lincoln played that game too. Piledhighandeep (talk) 19:18, 29 January 2015 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────The problem with the current language is that it shows only one side of the issue -- apparently since Piled's main point is that Taney was legally correct and no other opinions and no explanation of the actual circumstances faced by the Union are presented. Merryman is presented as an official while ignoring he was a bridge burner and a member of a pro_CSA militia. Taney is mentioned as a Chief Justice w/o explaining any of his pro-slavery and pro-CSA agenda. The actual riot is glossed over, ignoring the fact that soldiers were killed and wounded. Baltimore's official actions to block federal troops and to destroy RR bridges is glossed over. Specific actions are claimed to have been directly done by Lincoln when, in fact, he largely delegated the authority to troops in the field on how to deal with the suspension of habeas corpus. Piled, in his responses, has created a new myth that there were few actual pro-CSA folks -- they were mostly just pacifists. He ignores the fact that claiming neutrality for Maryland and condemning coercion against the CSA is as pro-CSA as you can possibly get w/o actually joining their army. Piled speaks of "Much of the country" not supporting the war,ignoring the fact that the Union as a whole was widely supportive after Fort Sumter and was generally incensed over the Baltimore Riot. Taney's rationale is given while Lincoln's defense is ignored. Also ignored are the facts that the entire SC never ruled and different Justices made different rulings, for and against suspension, throughout the war with the Union often complying with court orders, depending on the circumstances. Also ignored is the fact that opinion was divided, both then and now, on who was right.

Trying to maintain as much of Piled's preferred language as possible, I rewrote the section below -- striking out some text and placing in bold print additions necessary to achieve balance. I didn't even attempt to add Lincoln's justifications from his message to Congress. The bottom line is to walk back most of the section and replace it with a brief summary of ALL the actions Lincoln took unilaterally before Congress met in July, most of which were approved when Congress met. Habeas corpus in Maryland is only a very small part of the entire story.

Regiments headed south to fight in response to Lincoln's call. On April 19, anti-war mobs in Baltimore, which controlled the rail links from above the Mason Dixon Line to Washington D.C, attacked Union troops, killing four and wounding over thirty others while they were attempting to change trains. trains. and militia groups later burned critical rail bridges. Fearful of further violence, city officials ordered the destruction of railroad bridges to the north of Baltimore in order to prevent Union troops from getting to the nation's capitol. On April 20 Lincoln received information indicating there was evidence that 3,000 men belonging to a secret society were planning "insurrection" in the city.[3]
Lincoln responded by arresting city officials; they were imprisoned without warrants, charges, or trials.On April 25, due to the violent unrest, Lincoln wrote to General Scott that, if necessary, he could order the suspension of he writ of habeas corpus. The first suspension occurred in the Philadelphia to Washington rail corridor on April 27.
John Merryman, a Maryland official who was believed to be involved in the bridge burning was arrested and he petitioned Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, a Southern sympathizer who had authored the controversial Dred Scott decision, to issue a writ of habeas corpus, In June Taney, acting as a circuit judge and not speaking for the Supreme Court, issued the writ, stating that Lincoln's presidential suspension of habeas corpus was unconstitutional because only Congress could suspend the writ. Congress, however, was not in session during the crisis. Lincoln ignored did not comply with the ruling, but later justified his actions to Congress.
In June, after receiving reports that the Baltimore police board had secured and hidden weapons for the use of secessionist forces, Scott, without any further orders from Lincoln, ordered the arrest of four city officials. 800 weapons were found, many taken from Union troops at the earlier rioting. A newspaper editor, a critic of the president's disregard for the court's ruling who had "recommended assassination" of Republicans and who had circulated a petition "in favor of direct cooperation" with Virginia, was subsequently arrested.
By the end of summer, military reverses in Northern Virginia raised fears that Washington would again be threatened by Confederate forces. Fearing a repeat of events in April, Lincoln and several Cabinet members agreed that secessionists in Maryland needed to be dealt with. In September federal agents imprisoned without trial one third of the members of the Maryland General Assembly as well as a sitting U.S. Congressman and a newspaper editor, a critic of the president's disregard for the court's ruling. No trials were held and Lincoln released most in February 1862. (May was released in December 1861 in order to attend the first meeting of the new Congress.)[4][5]

My purpose in the above exercise is not to suggest that this much be added but rather to demonstrate how badly biased and one-sided the current language is. Tom (North Shoreman) (talk) 02:14, 30 January 2015 (UTC)

  1. ^
  2. ^ "Teaching American History in Maryland – Documents for the Classroom: Arrest of the Maryland Legislature, 1861". Maryland State Archives. 2005. Archived from the original on January 11, 2008. Retrieved February 6, 2008. 
  3. ^ Harris pp. 45-48
  4. ^ William C. Harris, Lincoln and the Border States: Preserving the Union (University Press of Kansas, 2011) pp 59-71
  5. ^ Neely, Mark E. (1992). The Fate of Liberty: Abraham Lincoln and Civil Liberties. pp. 3–31. 
Several good suggestions. They have been incorporated. Alanscottwalker (talk) 16:30, 30 January 2015 (UTC)
Thanks, however problems remain. The article still reads as if city officials were arrested as a result of the Baltimore Riot. In fact, however, officials met with Lincoln to discuss possible resolutions to Maryland's concerns about instigating further riots and some accommodations were granted -- a fact missing from the article. Arrests did not begin until May 13 (which is what both the Heidler and Harris sources say) and, as far as I can tell, no city officials were arrested until June 27 -- these were the arrests associated with the seized weapons mentioned in my last post. Tom (North Shoreman) (talk) 19:42, 30 January 2015 (UTC)
But I think we should not make too much of this in a biography article on Lincoln. see Donald 303-4 for a balanced view that emphasizes what Lincoln said. Rjensen (talk) 19:54, 30 January 2015 (UTC)
Donald, in a biography approaching 600 pages of text, specifically discusses Merryman in the second half of a single paragraph. Replacing the current text with the general info. on pages 303-304, as you suggest, makes sense to me. Tom (North Shoreman) (talk) 13:38, 31 January 2015 (UTC)
Yes, it can be trimmed further, so as not to be WP:UNDUE. Alanscottwalker (talk) 14:45, 31 January 2015 (UTC)
I appreciate this discussion, especially User:North Shoreman's clarification above, and I think the current tone is fine. I do think not mentioning that a U.S. Congressman, and one third of the legislature, (that's only 8 words) were arrested is over-trimming. It indicates the magnitude of the habeas episode (including significant representative officials within the democracy). The content-to-added-word-count ratio seems high for that addition to me. Piledhighandeep (talk) 07:32, 5 February 2015 (UTC)
You're missing the point -- badly. It is not the eight words that are the problem. The problem is that no context is offered for those eight words. You are creating the POV that Lincoln must have done something bad for people with such important titles to be arrested. What is unsaid is the turmoil around the arrests -- specifically the intelligence that said the intent of the legislators was to illegally take Maryland out of the Union in cooperation with a planned confederate invasion of Maryland. It doesn't matter whether the intelligence was accurate; what matters is that the belief in the intelligence by the military, including McClellan, is the reason these arrests occurred. You want to tell only a part of the story -- telling the entire story would require expanding this article by more than is warranted in a general biography article. I count four editors opposed to you and none in support -- continuing to add it back w/o support seems to border on edit warring. Tom (North Shoreman) (talk) 19:58, 8 February 2015 (UTC)
Yes, PHAD, you are not getting it when you edit war on the page (I have participated in the discussion) and consensus is against you. Alanscottwalker (talk) 00:50, 9 February 2015 (UTC)
I have just read this section for the second time in recent days. Count me as another voice opposing Piledhighandeep's interpretation. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 00:54, 9 February 2015 (UTC)
Actually, I think you are missing the point, or you get it and you don't like it. The point is the US also had a crisis in its democracy (like the Ukraine today or Latin American countries in the past). "People with important titles had to be arrested" as you say, and that is scary information that shouldn't be presented here?! It should. This was a serious period. Perhaps you are worried that it confuses people's respect for authority for the Chief Justice's words to be ignored or a Congressman arrested without habeas? This is US history; it doesn't just happen in the third world; it happened in our past. I'm not saying Lincoln was wrong; I'm saying your fear of these few words show that they ARE important. Let people click on the hyperlinks for context and further information. That is what they are they for. Without those links, readers will not find their way on their own. Why are you censoring this? Piledhighandeep (talk) 06:34, 9 February 2015 (UTC)

Editorial judgment regarding the content of this specific biography is not "censorship" as we have other articles where it is appropriate to give this matter the lengthy, nuanced treatment that it deserves. It is bad form to charge "censorship" when consensus is against you. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 06:42, 9 February 2015 (UTC)

You have not responded to me. As I explained, the clause simply provides the links for readers to find the 'nuanced treatment' the topic deserves. A reader would not guess that such serious figures were arrested (and then click to read more), if it is not mentioned. What reader would guess that such large events would not be mentioned? Piledhighandeep (talk) 06:47, 9 February 2015 (UTC)
The passage in question is the final clause (currently deleted from the article) of this sentence: "Lincoln continued the army policy that the writ was suspended in limited areas despite the Ex parte Merryman ruling, later arresting a U.S. Congressman from Maryland and a third of the state's legislature." Piledhighandeep (talk) 06:47, 9 February 2015 (UTC)
Why don't you then work on improving Henry May (Maryland), a mediocre article which mentions his imprisonment only briefly, and Maryland General Assembly, which mentions the arrests not at all? And if we were to include your proposed clause, I have no idea why we wouldn't mention the Congressman by name. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 07:02, 9 February 2015 (UTC)
I love how May's imprisonment is cited to an 1861 source published in London, called The Bastille in America; or Democratic Absolutism. I wonder how that would fare at the Reliable sources noticeboard. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 07:11, 9 February 2015 (UTC)
Also, Lincoln arrested no one, the army did. When I was arrested in an anti-war demonstration by the Capital Police 45 years ago, I did not imagine that I was arrested by Richard Nixon. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 07:21, 9 February 2015 (UTC)
The deleted clause is a misrepresentation, and shows a decided twisting or misunderstanding of what the writ is, what suspension of the writ is, and what Lincoln does and did as president, as was explained to you before you decided to edit war: they were not arrested because of the suspension of the writ, they were arrested for constituting a threat to the nation - the section is overlong already and these details can go in other articles. Alanscottwalker (talk) 08:50, 9 February 2015 (UTC)
Alanscottwalker you are misrepresenting the plain language of the clause. The clause says they were arrested while the writ was still suspended. They didn't have recourse to it. I don't know where you got the idea that they were arrested 'because' the writ was suspended. What does that even mean? The clause does not say that. Stop edit warring based on this straw man. Piledhighandeep (talk) 02:02, 15 February 2015 (UTC)
Cullen328 it is not disputed that Congressman Henry May was arrested and held without charges during Lincoln's unilateral suspension of the writ of habeas corpus. The 1861 source was published in London, interestingly, because publishers in the US who published similar materials were arrested, but I've added a 2007 source to the Henry May wikipedia article for completeness. Also, the Democrats in Congress protested to Lincoln about the arrest of their fellow Democratic Congressman Henry May; Lincoln was very aware that an opposition Congressman was being held for months without recourse to habeas, and he could hardly have been ignorant of the fact that 1/3 of the Maryland legislators were also being held. Arrests of Congressmen by an executive branch that is ignoring the ruling of a prominent leader of the judicial branch have implications for the functioning of checks and balances in the American democracy. They are more serious than arrests of average civilians, and Lincoln knew May was being held. It was a controversy. So, how is this clause? "Lincoln continued the army policy that the writ was suspended in limited areas despite the Ex parte Merryman ruling, and a U.S. Congressman from Maryland along with a third of the state's legislature were later arrested and held without charges." Piledhighandeep (talk) 02:02, 15 February 2015 (UTC).
Your the only one who has edit warred. Your clause lacks context and understanding. You have been told by multiple editors that that that is undue here. Consensus is against you. Alanscottwalker (talk) 02:36, 15 February 2015 (UTC)
The article about Henry May remains deeply mediocre, and adding one additional source without wikilinks accomplishes very little. The 1861 London source is unreliable on the face of it, and should be removed from that article forthwith, in my opinion. Lincoln as a highly intelligent man was very aware of far more things than are appropriate to mention in his Wikipedia biography. Whether to mention this otherwise obscure Congressman notable only for opposing his government in its time of need is a matter of editorial judgment, guided by the principle of due weight. As I see it, the place to describe May's treachery and imprisonment is May's biography, not Lincoln's biography. Please do so. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 06:10, 15 February 2015 (UTC)
I'm surprised that a topic over one hundred years old is still so emotionally charged that a factual presentation is not possible. Is this a Civil War reenactment? Do you think I am a Confederate? I couldn't disagree more with their cause. You should note with respect to Lincoln that the federal government was not "his government." He was the executive branch (with one of the weakest electoral mandates ever, only 39.9% of the popular vote) of the federal government, of which the judicial branch, including the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, who ruled against Lincoln's suspension of habeas in June while riding circuit, and the members of Congress, who prevented a Congressional habeas corpus suspension from passing that summer, formed the other two thirds. May was part of the government (legislative branch), not in opposition to it. During a period in which the executive and federal power increased, a presentation of these facts seems important. I think the slave-holding founding fathers of the democracy, Washington and Jefferson, would say that your modern lack of appreciation for the significance of these constitutional issues is anachronistic, and, along with your language ("treachery" of May), is rooted in a worldview formed by what happened later (sacrifices on battlefields, victories and reelection of Lincoln, pride in a new chapter of American history), and not what was happening at the time. Piledhighandeep (talk) 05:11, 24 February 2015 (UTC)
Piledhighandeep Started all this up with a neo-Confederate line of thought... For example, he made a big point about one of the arrested men being the grandson of Francis Scott Key, draping the flag of patriotism over the grandson. That is the kind of rhetoric used in neo-Confederate literature. Repeated references to Tawney as chief justice, completely obscure the fact that he was not acting as chief justice, and the spring court did not issue an opinion in the case. There was no mention of his record as the most prominent judicial leader in the fight for slavery. There is no mention of his rejection, in the Merryman decision, of the notion that the nation was in dire danger from traitors. That is the kind of bias that one expects from "Marilyn my Maryland" attitudes. Rjensen (talk) 10:26, 24 February 2015 (UTC)
The only thing "emotionally charged" has been your language. The premises of "Maryland, my Maryland" do not make for biography. There are many things in history not detailed in this already overlong article. Alanscottwalker (talk) 13:56, 24 February 2015 (UTC)
I think you both fail to distinguish between interesting questions of democratic procedure and constitutionality and 'siding with the Confederacy' (as illustrated by your continued use of the term "neo-Confederate"). Piledhighandeep (talk) 20:15, 24 February 2015 (UTC)


Honest Abe[edit]

I'm surprised there isn't any mention of Lincoln's nickname of "Honest Abe" or how he got the nickname. Should a section be added for the nickname? Illegitimate Barrister 20:57, 31 January 2015 (UTC)

Why cant i edit[edit]

why cant i edit this article please help (talk) 23:50, 17 February 2015 (UTC)

Becaue it's semi protected. Meters (talk) 23:59, 17 February 2015 (UTC)
see WP:CONFIRM. IPs, new accounts, and accounts with too few edits cannot edit semi-protected articles. Meters (talk) 00:30, 18 February 2015 (UTC)