Annotations for Lincoln's Code : The Laws of War in American History


Baker & Taylor
"By one of the nation's foremost legal historians, a groundbreaking history of the pioneering American role in establishing the modern laws of war.In the fateful closing days of 1862, just three weeks before Emancipation, Abraham Lincoln's top military advisors commissioned a code of rules to govern the armies of the United States in a newly intensified war effort. The code Lincoln issued the next spring helped shape the remaining two years of Civil War. Its rules on torture, prisoners of war, assassination, and more quickly became foundations of the modern laws of war and today's Geneva Conventions. Yet the hidden story of Lincoln's code, and of the decades of controversy that lay behind it, has never been told. In this masterful and strikingly original history, John Witt charts the alternately troubled and triumphant course of the laws of war in America from the Founding Founders to the dawn of the modern era, revealing the history of a code that reshaped the laws of war the world over. Ranging from the Revolution to the War of 1812, from war with Mexico to the Civil War, from Indian wars to the brutal counterinsurgency campaign in the Philippines, Witt tells a story that features presidents as well as men in the throes of battle, one that spans war-makers and pacifists, Indians and slaves. In a time of heated controversy about the nation's conduct in the war on terror, Lincoln's Code is a compelling story of ideals under pressure and a landmark contribution to our understanding of the American experience."--

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Baker & Taylor
A Yale historian and author of The Accidental Republic presents the story of the pioneering American role in establishing modern laws of war, recounting decades of controversy and debate that resulted in a code of conduct adopted by the 16th President in the final years of the Civil War that influenced subsequent military conflicts.

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Baker & Taylor
Discusses America's role in establishing modern laws of war, recounting decades of debate that resulted in a code of conduct adopted by President Lincoln near the end of the Civil War that influenced subsequent military conflicts.

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Simon and Schuster
Pulitzer Prize Finalist
Bancroft Prize Winner
ABA Silver Gavel Award Winner
A New York Times Notable Book of the Year

In the closing days of 1862, just three weeks before Emancipation, the administration of Abraham Lincoln commissioned a code setting forth the laws of war for US armies. It announced standards of conduct in wartime--concerning torture, prisoners of war, civilians, spies, and slaves--that shaped the course of the Civil War. By the twentieth century, Lincoln's code would be incorporated into the Geneva Conventions and form the basis of a new international law of war.

In this deeply original book, John Fabian Witt tells the fascinating history of the laws of war and its eminent cast of characters--Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, Madison, and Lincoln--as they crafted the articles that would change the course of world history. Witt's engrossing exploration of the dilemmas at the heart of the laws of war is a prehistory of our own era. Lincoln's Code reveals that the heated controversies of twenty-first-century warfare have roots going back to the beginnings of American history. It is a compelling story of ideals under pressure and a landmark contribution to our understanding of the American experience.

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