Allen Guelzo

Allen Guelzo is a professor of history and director of the Civil War Era Studies Program at Gettysburg College and is the author of "Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation: The End of Slavery in America" (Simon & Schuster, 2004).

A Complicated and Constitutional Act of Liberty and Justice

David Nichols’ comment on Abraham Lincoln’s decision to issue an Emancipation Proclamation on January 1st, 1863, is a perceptive and nuanced appraisal of Lincoln’s path to the proclamation. The principal question with which Nichols has had to deal is how to characterize that decision, and there are at least four ways Nichols could have done this: (a) The Proclamation was an act of justice but had no constitutional legitimacy, and therefore was an unconstitutional usurpation which we all ought to regret; (b)   The Proclamation was an act of justice but had no constitutional legitimacy, and shows that the Constitution is a limited…

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So Much Power in So Few Hands: Reevaluating Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation

Professor Nichols urges us to revisit the arguments surrounding the Emancipation Proclamation (EP) for two reasons. The second reason noted is that the “constitutional issues at stake  . . .  are relevant to contemporary American politics.” That’s true enough, especially in light of the ever-expanding powers of the US presidency, the corresponding demise of the…

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