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The transformation of the American legal mind: Habeas corpus, federalism, and constitutionalism, 1787-1870

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Title: The transformation of the American legal mind: Habeas corpus, federalism, and constitutionalism, 1787-1870
Author(s): Cho, Ji-Hyung
Doctoral Committee Chair(s): Johannsen, Robert W.
Department / Program: History
Discipline: History
Degree Granting Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree: Ph.D.
Genre: Dissertation
Subject(s): History, United States Law Political Science, General
Abstract: This study examines judicial conflicts caused by habeas corpus from the formation of the Constitution to Tarble's Case (1870). Intending to create a strong central government, the framers inserted the habeas corpus clause into the Constitution. It gave the federal government the power to suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in a constitutional crisis such as rebellion or invasion. Yet American legal culture valued liberty above all else and interpreted the clause as a restraint on power rather than as a grant of power. States' rights doctrine had a tremendous impact on courts, state and federal, in the antebellum period. The supremacy of state courts was established by issuing writs of habeas corpus for prisoners confined under the authority of the federal government. But whenever the Union faced an emergency, states' rights doctrine and the principle of state habeas for federal prisoners were challenged. During the Civil War, the suspension of habeas corpus was an effective war measure, preventing draft evasion and disloyalty and helping maintain military morale. Through Reconstruction acts and amendments, habeas corpus became available for every person in the Union, regardless of race. The federal government became the final guarantor of personal liberty and the Union adopted the principle of federal habeas for state prisoners.In addition to an examination of judicial conflicts, this study looks into the relationship between the history of habeas corpus and social and political changes. The development of habeas corpus was primarily initiated by the awareness of emergency in the Union and the perception of habeas corpus as a "higher law" right. The principle of federal habeas for state prisoners emerged in the Nullification Controversy, although it was a dead letter until the 1850s. As the antislavery impulse pummeled slavery's entrenched defenders, the writ of habeas corpus became the most useful and formidable instrument to protect African-Americans from fugitive slave-catchers in state courts. As the culmination of abolitionist constitutionalism, the Habeas Corpus Act of 1867 protected every person in the Union from illegal confinement in violation of the Constitution.
Issue Date: 1995
Type: Text
Language: English
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/21552
Rights Information: Copyright 1995 Cho, Ji-Hyung
Date Available in IDEALS: 2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog: AAI9524246
OCLC Identifier: (UMI)AAI9524246
 

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