Lincoln Curbs Burnside’s Violations of Civil Liberties

Lincoln came under fire for wartime measures that suspended the writ of habeas corpus, jailed newspaper editors, and tried civilians in military tribunals. Responding to critics who decried his violations of civil liberties, Lincoln argued that such acts were essential to the nation’s survival. This memo to Stanton, however, shows that Lincoln did not always acquiesce to whatever his generals did on their own authority. He politely asks Stanton to revoke General Ambrose Burnside’s suspension of the fiercely anti-Lincoln, antiwar, Democratic Chicago Times.