Lincoln Suspends Writ of Habeas Corpus 1862

Many of the specific rights and freedoms of Americans are delineated in the Bill of Rights. But the Constitution’s authors considered one right so fundamental that they included it in Article I, Section 9: “The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.”

Habeas corpus is a Latin term meaning, “that you have the body.” The right to habeas corpus means a prisoner must be charged with a specific crime or be released. Only three Presidents have suspended it: Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War, Ulysses S. Grant during Reconstruction, and George W. Bush in the “Global War on Terror.”