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New Perspectives on the Union War$
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Gary W. Gallagher and Elizabeth R. Varon

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780823284542

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823284542.001.0001

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“Responsible to One Another and to God”

“Responsible to One Another and to God”

Why Francis Lieber Believed the Union War Must Remain a Just War

Chapter:
(p.143) “Responsible to One Another and to God”
Source:
New Perspectives on the Union War
Author(s):

D. H. Dilbeck

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823284542.003.0007

Francis Lieber believed the war to save the Union must remain a justly waged war. He thought that if the Union military effort lapsed into indiscriminate violence, Federal armies would fail to truly preserve the Union—even if they were victorious on the battlefield. An unjustly prosecuted war would undercut the Union’s character as a beacon of enlightened civilization. Lieber worried Federals could lose their Union not only through Confederate military triumph but also through their own immoral conduct in war. Throughout the Civil War, Lieber tried to ensure Federal armies waged a just war, a quest that culminated with General Orders No. 100, a succinct guide to the laws of war. This essay considers what the Union meant to Lieber, how he defined a justly waged war, and why he insisted that the meaning of the Union necessitated a just war to save it.

Keywords:   Francis Lieber, General Orders No. 100, just war theory, laws of war, The Lieber Code

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