Page:The Cambridge History of American Literature, v3.djvu/366

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Political Writing Since 1850

Naturally, by such writers sovereignty is conceived as undivided and as being in the nation, and the social compact and related political theories are rejected. With the passing of years their views have predominated. Thus the war which "joined with bayonets" the Union, like the defence of slavery, caused a decline of the political theory of the Revolutionary and federal periods.

Among the practical problems in the preservation of nationality were certain measures taken to preserve unity behind the military lines, the treatment of conquered enemies and their property, and the relations between the South and the national government. States rights ideas were widely disseminated in the North and West and there was also much sympathy with secession. Consequently the executive authority expanded; particularly military arrests and the denial of the writ of habeas corpus were frequent. Captured Confederates were not executed as traitors, yet Confederate property was confiscated. These matters, and the kindred question of emancipation and conscription, were the subject of extensive legal and constitutional discussion, of which Whiting's War Powers (1862 et seq.) was the most comprehensive. The eclipse of constitutional rights enjoyed in time of peace and the supremacy of the war powers became the chief issue in politics. "The Constitution as it is, and the Union as it was" became the slogan of the opposition. In New York the Society for the Diffusion of Political Knowledge, with S. F. B. Morse as president, was active in the publication of pamphlets criticizing the measures of the administration. Its objects were to popularize the principles of constitutional liberty "to the end that usurpation may be prevented, that arbitrary and unconstitutional measures may be checked, that the Constitution may be preserved, that the Union may be restored, and that the blessings of free institutions and public order may be kept by ourselves and be transmitted to our Posterity." Among the contributors to its pamphlets were Morse, Samuel J. Tilden, and George Ticknor Curtis. Likewise, in the defence of the administration, the Loyal Publication Society was organized, and among the writers for its publications were Francis Lieber, Robert Dale Owen, and Peter Cooper. Much of the literature in criticism of the government has been lost. Of that which survives, D. A.