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Author Topic: Sunday Survey for July 1st., 2012  (Read 1171 times)
BoothBuff
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« on: June 30, 2012, 09:56:12 PM »

     Welcome to the Sunday Survey for July 1st., 2012.
     I'm filling in for Randal.

     After the assassination of President Lincoln, the response from the Government was swift and heavy handed. Scores of people were arrested and held without being charged. The Garretts and members of the Booth family were thrown in jail for weeks. The cast of Our American Cousin was arrested. Property was confiscated. Being the country was still at war, Lincoln's 1862 suspension of the Writ of Habeas Corpus was in full effect. The Gov't. trumped civil and personal legal rights we now take for granted.

     The question is - what was the Gov't's. more egregious violation? The arrests? The confiscation of Ford's Theater? Or the trial of the conspirators itself?          
« Last Edit: July 01, 2012, 03:38:57 PM by BoothBuff » Logged
Randal
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« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2012, 06:33:40 AM »

It is clear Stanton didn't have a plan at first, thus the paranoia, the "round-up" of anyone and everyone who even remotely knew  Booth, et.al.

It's also a testiment of Stanton's paranoia that the government confiscated John Ford's theatre, but even more ironic, gave it back to him on the day the conspirators were being hung.

Many have written that Stanton did a great job with what was put in his lap, and what he had to work with.

I think the greatest egregious violation was the trial. You had people on trial for the murder of the President, charged with conspiracy, who didn't even know one another.
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Mr Hess
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« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2012, 08:31:30 AM »

The mass arrests and holding them without the writ of habeus corpus.
Yeah, I know h/c was suspended, but this was way over the top
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jonathan
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« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2012, 08:33:52 AM »

But does it really matter whether or not they knew one another? Shouldn't the only thing that matters is whether or not they knew about the plot against Lincoln? Five of the eight on trial undoubtedly knew about the plot to kidnap, which of course rolled over into murder. In my opinion, Mudd and Mary Surratt almost certainly knew about the kidnap plot, leaving only poor Edman Spangler as the only innocent. I'm not saying the trial was fair necessarily, just that those on trial were actually guilty, in my opinion. Except Spangler, who seems to have gotten railroaded.
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jonathan
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« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2012, 08:36:35 AM »

I should have mentioned that I'd probably go with the mass arrests as my answer. I can easily see how someone would choose the trial though.
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BCorbett1865
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« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2012, 10:07:52 PM »

I've tried not to let my 21st century political views influence my answer here. This is a good question Joe. As a person living in 21st century America my gut reaction to this question would be to answer with the "mass arrests". However, I have to let go of my present day politics and venture back to 19th century America when there was a Civil War going on to answer this question. I would have to agree with Randal here and say that the military trial of the conspirators was the most egregious offense. As long as the civil courts were functioning that is where the trials should have been held. At any other time in American history I would most certainly go with the mass arrests, but during a Civil War anything goes I guess because the survival of your country is at stake.

Craig
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BoothBuff
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« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2012, 10:25:33 AM »

     The civilian/military trial is a question in itself, Craig. Did you read Attny. Gen. Speed's legal opinion on why the trial should be by a military tribunal? It's on the Surratt Tavern website. He makes some valid points, but it gets confusing. It's what the Gov't wanted, so that's what they got.
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Rob Wick
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« Reply #7 on: July 02, 2012, 11:56:14 AM »

Quote
The civilian/military trial is a question in itself, Craig. Did you read Attny. Gen. Speed's legal opinion on why the trial should be by a military tribunal? It's on the Surratt Tavern website. He makes some valid points, but it gets confusing. It's what the Gov't wanted, so that's what they got.

After reading Speed's opinion, I would read (in spite of its length) the Supreme Court decision Ex Parte Milligan.

Best
Rob

http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=us&vol=71&invol=2
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