Civil War Flipsnack - Meredith Moore

August 28, 2014  |  By  |  Impressions: 43  | 

May 25, 1861 (Entry 1) - Lincoln Suspends Habeas Corpus Today is my first day reporting on all the events of the Civil War and I’m so excited that today I will get to hear Abraham Lincoln speak in person. I am a reporter from Alabama, so I’ve never had the opportunity to hear Lincoln speak in person before. When my state seceded from the Union I moved to Washington D.C. to help with the Union War efforts by telling them all I know about the landscape of Alabama. I love America and I admire Lincoln, which is why I decided I would move north and not secede from the Union. I miss my family, and many of my cousins actually fight for the Confederacy. As well as helping the Union war effort, I also work as a reporter for a local newspaper. I am currently attending a press conference where Lincoln will be outlining his plan to keep the border states in the Union, and we are all anxious to hear his ideas. There’s a lot of talk about something called habeas corpus. I hope I can get information because the northerners here are distrustful of me since I am from the south; I believe they think I’m a spy for the Confederacy. I need to stop talking about myself now and start taking notes about this speech. ! As Lincoln mounts the podium, a hush falls over the crowd. He says: “Many of you present today know of the condition of John Merryman. He is a legislator from Maryland who is, unfortunately, against our war efforts to maintain the great Union we have known. He tried to halt the movement of troops that was ordered by me with the authority I hold as the President. Because of this, he was rightfully arrested and imprisoned. However, when his attorney appealed for habeas corpus, it was denied. For those of you who do not know, habeas corpus is the right we have a United States citizens to stand in trial and receive fair judgment before being thrown in jail. John Merryman did not receive his plea for habeas corpus because he is thwarting our war efforts.” At this, a gasp broke out among the crowd. I can’t help agree with the crowd’s indignation because I can’t believe Merryman’s rights are being violated in this way. “Please understand this was a necessary measure,” Lincoln says. “I had to do this in order to protect the rest of America’s right to defend themselves, and to preserve our rights in doing so.” After he makes this point, we all consider what we would stand to lose if Merryman really did thwart the movement of troops so that we didn’t have protection from our troops. With this in mind, the crowd quieted down. We have realized that this is war - if we need to violate someone’s rights to save ourselves, so be it. With this idea in mind, I have to say I agree with Lincoln’s decision. ! suspends-the-writ-of-habeas-corpus-during-the-civil-war ! John Merryman

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