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President Abraham Lincoln's special message to Congress, July 4, 1861, printed draft with Lincoln's

In his July 4, 1861, message to Congress, President Abraham Lincoln defended his calling up the militia and suspending habeas corpus. Lincoln explained the urgent need of a military response to preserve the Union, and he requested additional troops and funds. Congress validated Lincoln’s actions by unanimously approving his request.

Manuscript Division, Library of Congress

It was with the deepest regret that the Executive found the duty of employing the war-power, in defence of the government, forced upon him. He could but perform this duty, or surrender the existence of the government.

President Abraham Lincoln's special message to Congress, July 4, 1861, printed draft with Lincoln's President Abraham Lincoln's special message to Congress, July 4, 1861, printed draft with Lincoln's It was with the deepest regret that the Executive found the duty of employing the war-power, in defence of the government, forced upon him. He could but perform this duty, or surrender the existence of the government.

Response to Rebellion - 1

In April 1861, Confederate forces attacked U.S. troops at Fort Sumter in South Carolina, plunging the country into civil war. Moving quickly against the insurrection, President Abraham Lincoln called up the militia and suspended the writ of habeas corpus—a legal order enabling an individual to seek release from unlawful detention. In suspending that privilege, Lincoln exercised an authority constitutionally reserved for Congress. Lincoln then called the entire Congress into extraordinary session, where he sought congressional approval of his actions.