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Abstract

This article explores the constitutionality of President Lincoln’s actions during the Civil War and poses the question of whether Lincoln taking possession of the railroads and telegraph companies during the Civil War was constitutional. The answer to this was, Lincoln’s actions were, in fact, constitutional because Congress expressly authorized his actions. His taking possession of the railroads and telegraph companies provided compensation to the companies affected. Further, the article analyzes the constitutional and congressional authority for allowing President Lincoln to take possession and provide compensation. The article also addresses the history of the Presidential “Commander-in-Chief” powers, prior to and contemporaneous to the Civil War. The article also addresses the contemporaneous and post effects of his using the executive action and its technological, infrastructural, and practical effects upon the Civil War. Finally, the article addresses the lasting effects from President Lincoln’s expansion of the scope of executive power, including both future presidents and case law.

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