Americans take for granted that government does not have the right to permanently seize private property without just compensation. Yet for much of American history, such a view constituted the weaker side of an ongoing argument about government sovereignty and individual rights. What brought about this drastic shift in legal and political thought? Daniel W. Hamilton locates that change in the crucible of the Civil War. In the early days of the war, Congress passed the First and Second Confiscation Acts, authorizing the Union to seize private property in the rebellious states of the
Legislative property confiscation before the Civil War -- Radical property confiscation in the Thirty-seventh Congress -- The conservative assault on confiscation -- The moderate coup -- The Confederate Sequestration Act -- The ordeal of sequestration -- Civil War confiscation in the reconstruction supreme court -- The limits of sovereignty
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