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what madison refused to do during the war of 1812

November 1, 2012

Saw this on Twitter today via Glenn Greenwald and thought I’d share it here:

James Madison, Presidential Power, and Civil Liberties in the War of 1812

It’s an interesting look at James Madison’s relatively unique deference to civil liberties and tolerance for dissent during wartime. While being far from perfect, as evidenced by everything from his ownership of slaves to his use of covert and duplicitous methods to acquire West and East Florida from Spain, Madison displayed a rare level of restraint during the War of 1812 that few presidents, if any, have replicated, not only denying the authority to detain American citizens in military custody or try them in military tribunals, but also refusing to repress dissent or suspend the writ of habeas corpus despite facing unprecedented political dissent and active opposition during a time of war.

I was unaware of most of this myself, not having studied Madison’s presidency or the War of 1812 in much detail, and think it’s worth checking out.


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