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Carnahan Speaks on Lincoln, Pardons

February 23 presentation to DC Civil War Round Table (more at

By John O'Brien

Washington D.C.

Monday, February 15, 2021

Constitutional law expert and Lincoln Group member Burrus Carnahan will discuss his research on Lincoln and his use of the pardon power on February 23.

Abraham Lincoln has a well-deserved reputation as a merciful president, but not every application for clemency was approved. In his talk to the DC Civil War Round Table, Carnahan will explore the background for those few cases where the president refused to act. Did some common theme tie them together? In his talk, Burrus Carnahan will examine this issue through four case studies.

Carnahan is the author of Act of Justice: Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation and the Law of War and Lincoln on Trial: Southern Civilians and the Law of War. Both books examine the role of law in the American Civil War. He has also penned numerous articles on Abraham Lincoln, international law, and the law of war. Mr. Carnahan was the principal researcher on United States legal practice for the International Committee of the Red Cross study on Customary International Humanitarian Law (Cambridge U. Press, 2005). He is a past president of the Lincoln Group.


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