Book: Lincoln’s Code: The Laws of War in American History

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Lincoln’s Code: The Laws of War in American History

John Fabian Witt, the Allen H. Duffy Class of 1960 Professor of Law

(Free Press)

In “Lincoln’s Code: The Laws of War in American History,” John Fabian Witt charts the alternately troubled and triumphant course of the development of the laws of war in America, from the founding to the cataclysm of the Civil War, and on to the dawn of the modern era.

“Lincoln’s Code,” the publication of which coincides with the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, is based on extensive original archival research. Witt is the first historian to tell the surprising story of how slavery and the Emancipation Proclamation helped shape the modern laws of armed conflict, and how a code of 157 rules issued by Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War became the basis for the rules established in the Geneva Conventions and for today’s internationally accepted laws of war.


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