Are Current Bill of Rights Erosions Unprecedented?

Bob Hubbard

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[FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif][FONT=Times New Roman, Times, serif]Are Current Bill of Rights Erosions Unprecedented?[/FONT][/FONT]
[FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif][FONT=Times New Roman, Times, serif]by Anthony Gregory

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[FONT=Times New Roman, Times, serif]Critics of the Bush Administrations domestic measures in the War on Terrorism often claim that the erosions of the Bill of Rights we see today are unprecedented. Although President Bush and Attorney General John Ashcroft are indeed stretching the envelope in many ways, to call their policies unprecedented is to ignore history. For every civil liberty currently being violated and for every amendment in the Bill of Rights currently being ignored, there is a long and rich legacy of similar abuse.[/FONT]
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[FONT=Times New Roman, Times, serif]More violations of the Constitution probably occurred during Abraham Lincolns four years as president than during any other cohesively defined era in American history. Many have pointed out that Lincoln suspended habeas corpus to jail war protesters, shut down hundreds of newspapers that disagreed with his war, established a draft for the first time in American history (except in the seceded South, which had a draft a year earlier), instituted restrictions on firearms, and sent troops to violently suppress the New York draft riot. He also used the war to push through the "American System," a program of de facto nationalization of the transportation industry via massive subsidies to corporations that would agree to build "internal improvements" railroads, waterways, and canals. The victory of the Union in 1865 not only established that, contrary to popular political theory in the antebellum era, the federal government was completely supreme over the states; it also established that a president could do literally anything he could get away with, no matter how many liberties were suspended, innocents jailed, and people killed in the process.[/FONT]
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[FONT=Times New Roman, Times, serif]It is, in fact, almost silly even to refer to "Constitutional rights" during the Lincoln Administration. Even historians who obsessively admire the sixteenth president sometimes admit that his regime was dictatorial (though, of course, they regard him as having been a benign despot). During the War Between the States, the Bill of Rights wasnt eroded or compromised; it was ignored completely. But though the Bill of Rights gained strength immediately after the Lincoln Administration, it remains useful to examine where and how it has taken a comparable beating in the many years since then.[/FONT]​

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Ninjamom

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Bob, the article is well-written and thorough. Although I don'y agree with all its points, I do absolutely agree that the War on Drugs has resulted in the most egregious erosion of US Constitutional rights to date. In fact, the main place I disagree with the article is on the importance of the War on Drugs, in relation to the War on terrorism, as far as being responsible for the erosion of our civil liberties.

Most citizens don't realize that most of the provisions of the Patriot Act had been in place for years, in the war on drugs. The current administration has merely expanded the same Constitutional mangling that was routine for suspected drug dealers to include terror suspects. In that regard, I am grateful that President George W. Bush has become so disliked - he has basically added nothing to the erosion of our rights, but the media feeding frenzy against him has brought the issue of the erosion of civil liberties in the context of the War on Terror to light for our attention and open debate.
 

TonyMac

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I'd love to have the names of all the phyicians and aides attending Mary Todd. I'm sure it would be very revealing.
 
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Bob Hubbard

Bob Hubbard

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If the US Civil War was truly about slavery, and ending it, it wouldn't have taken until the middle to issue the proclamation, slaves in "loyal" US states would have been freed immediately an not at the end of the war, and US troops wouldn't have been needed to quell unrest in NY at gun point. My opinions on the real economic causes of the war, and Mr. Lincolns own administration however were previously voiced here, somewhere....
One of these I think:
http://www.martialtalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=16667
http://www.martialtalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=20348
http://www.martialtalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=16750

I've seen some decidedly similar actions between Lincoln and Bush...though the later has so far managed to not exile any members of congress for disagreement.
After Lincolns death, Union "war heroes" found high government positions, including US Grant, whose administration is still considered by many to be the most corrupt in American history.
Our recent experiences with the gradual and often secret erosion of our rights is just the latest in a long, slow process.

I'm hoping that the recent shift in the balance of power will begin to undo some of the damage. I'm not optimistic about it, but I am hopeful.
 

Ninjamom

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I'm hoping that the recent shift in the balance of power will begin to undo some of the damage. I'm not optimistic about it, but I am hopeful.
Like everything else in politics, it is the swing of a pendulum. Civil liberties will once again be a major concern, until we start reading Miranda rights to enemy combatants in foreign countries. Then, the pendulum will swing back. At each turn in the pendulum, people of conscience must make their voices heard to hold the lines to those drawn by the Bill or Rights 200+ years ago.

Despite inflation, the price of freedom is STILL eternal vigilance ;)
 
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