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The Civil War Confiscation ActsFailing to Reconstruct the South$
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John Syrett

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780823224890

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823224890.001.0001

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Confiscation and the Courts: Constitutionality and Duration

Confiscation and the Courts: Constitutionality and Duration

(p.169) 11 Confiscation and the Courts: Constitutionality and Duration
The Civil War Confiscation Acts

John Syrett

Fordham University Press

The Supreme Court's decisions on substantive confiscation issues were important for several reasons. The Court's decisions implied, in other words, that had Congress explicitly enacted confiscation beyond the life of the offender, it would have received a sympathetic hearing. James G. Randall, the most important scholar on the history of confiscation, was very critical of Strong's argument and praised Field's dissent. The question of duration of forfeiture was almost as important an issue as that of the second act's constitutionality and was certainly more complicated. The first significant confiscation case involving pardon was perhaps the most remarkable. The Supreme Court's decisions on pardon under the second act were more logical than Chase's in Armstrong, and they generally weakened the goal of those who supported confiscation. The Court could not interpret what Congress had not provided for in the laws.

Keywords:   Supreme Court, confiscation, James G. Randall, Strong, Field, Armstrong, pardon

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