“Martial Law is neither more nor less than the will of the general who commands the army. It overrides and suppresses all existing civil laws, civil officers, and civil authorities, by the arbitrary exercise of military power; and every citizen or subject – in other words, the entire population of the country, within the confines of its power – is subjected to the mere will or caprice of the commander. He holds the lives, liberty, and property of all in the palm of his hand. Martial law is regulated by no known or established system or code of laws, as it is over and above all of them. The commander is the legislator, judge, and executioner.” (Black’s Law Dictionary, 1957, pg. 1126)
With the controversial National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 allowing the Federal government broad authority to use military in domestic operations, we are reminded of the 150th anniversary of Martial Law being declared in Missouri. While we wonder what may happen down the road with recent actions on the Federal level, we can take a moment to learn how the voice of American citizens in 1861-1865 – no matter where you stood – could be considered a “Belligerent Act”. As such, one could find themselves imprisoned or worse. So if you think today’s problems are bad (which they are), consider how bad it was for our people then – and how it set an alarming and dangerous precedent for us today.
To read this PDF important resource, (featuring four pages of historical documentation, a recreation of a Missouri Loyalty Oath, and more) click on the graphic above, look for it alphabetically under the “Resources Tab”, or click on: Martial Law in Missouri