To Save the Country

A Lost Treatise on Martial Law

Francis Lieber and G. Norman Lieber; Edited and with an Introduction by Will Smiley and John Fabian Witt

View Inside Price: $55.00


July 23, 2019
288 pages, 5 1/2 x 8 1/4
4 b/w illus.
ISBN: 9780300222548
Hardcover

A Civil War-era treatise addressing the power of governments in moments of emergency

The last work of Abraham Lincoln’s law of war expert Francis Lieber was long considered lost—until Will Smiley and John Fabian Witt discovered it in the National Archives. Lieber’s manuscript on emergency powers and martial law addresses important contemporary debates in law and political philosophy and stands as a significant historical discovery.

Francis Lieber (1798–1872) was professor at Columbia College who advised Abraham Lincoln on the law of war. G. Norman Lieber (1837–1923), Francis’s son, taught law at West Point. Will Smiley is an assistant professor of humanities at the University of New Hampshire. John Fabian Witt is the Allen H. Duffy Class of 1960 Professor of Law at Yale Law School and the Head of Yale’s Davenport College.

"When arguments for a legally unrestrained executive are again in fashion, this retrieval of Lincoln’s lawyer’s theory of appropriate legal restraint during wartime emergency could not be more timely."—David Dyzenhaus, University of Toronto

"Smiley and Witt have unearthed a lost treasure. As we debate how our constitutional democracy handles great stress, this work helps us understand how the system has survived so far.”—Matthew C. Waxman, Columbia University

"Through their extraordinary discovery of Francis Lieber’s unpublished notes, Smiley and Witt not only provide a crucial new primary source that contextualizes Lieber’s role in the development of laws of war but also, amazingly enough, a fruitful way to reconsider the old, vital question of what constraints law can offer in times of war. A book every historian of the Civil War and every scholar of laws of warfare should rush to read."—Gregory P. Downs, author of After Appomattox: Military Occupation and the Ends of War

"The manuscripts that Smiley and Witt have recovered should be required reading for anyone who cares about the operation of the Constitution in wartime and more generally about what legal limits should—or should not—constrain the government in confronting emergencies."—Amanda L. Tyler, University of California, Berkeley School of Law
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