McPherson to discuss war powers, Nov. 20
Renowned Civil War historian James McPherson will deliver a lecture titled "Abraham Lincoln's Invention of Presidential War Powers" at 8 p.m. Monday, Nov. 20, in Dodds Auditorium, Robertson Hall.
McPherson is Princeton's George Henry Davis 1886 Professor of American History Emeritus. He is the author of 15 books, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning "Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era."
During the Civil War in 1861, Lincoln invoked his "war powers" as commander-in-chief, defying Supreme Court Justice Roger Taney and suspending the writ of habeas corpus by presidential decree. He also declared martial law, authorized the trial of civilians by military courts and proclaimed the emancipation of slaves. Lincoln's actions vastly expanded presidential war powers and established precedents invoked by later presidents.
McPherson's talk is the third annual Herbert W. Vaughan Lecture on America's Founding Principles, sponsored by the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions. The Vaughan Lectures are intended to promote understanding of the founding principles and core doctrines of American constitutionalism.