You probably will not hear a lot, though, about today’s unique Civil War history, the 150th anniversary of one the worst episodes of the suspension of American civil rights.
On this day, Abraham Lincoln issued Presidential Proclamation 94, suspending the writ of habeas corpus, meaning you could be thrown in jail without charges or a court hearing.
Lincoln had suspended this basic civil liberty several times earlier in the war. Presidential Proclamation 94 went further, though. It was in force throughout the union states and made it treasonous to merely speak out against the draft.
…all rebels and insurgents, their aiders and abettors, within the United States, and all persons discouraging volunteer enlistments, resisting militia draft or guilty of any disloyal practice affording aid and comfort to rebels against the authority of the United States, shall be subject to martial law and liable to trial and punishment by courts-martial or military commissions; second, that the writ of habeas corpus is suspended in respect to all persons arrested, or who are now or hereafter during the rebellion shall be imprisoned in any fort, camp, arsenal, military prison, or other place of confinement by any military authority or by the sentence of any court-martial or military commission…
You can read more here about Lincoln and civil liberties in war time.
Coincidentally, Sept. 24 is also the day in 1789 when Congress established the Supreme Court, which was created to protect the key rights Lincoln suspended nearly four score later.
– Paul Tosto