Civil war, treason, habeas corpus, enemy combatants, Baltimore, legal history, constitutional law
The experience of the Baltimore Police Commissioners is instructive in understanding the state of affairs in Baltimore during the Civil War era. The removal of the commissioners by the Union Army and the subsequent civil trial, The Mayor and City Council of Baltimore v. Charles Howard, provides a window through which one may examine the historical, legal and political circumstances of the time. The legal status of the commissioners also sheds light on modern legal doctrine related to the detention of American citizens as “enemy combatants” without the benefit of certain constitutional guarantees. By analyzing the Howard case with a critical eye, this article will uncover the underlying motivations behind the litigation while clarifying the chaotic events in Baltimore during the Civil War.
Constitutional Law | Legal History, Theory and Process | United States History