Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
A Matter of DisputeMorality, Democracy, and Law$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Christopher J. Peters

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780195387223

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195387223.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 08 July 2020



The Limits of Law

(p.349) Epilogue
A Matter of Dispute

Christopher J. Peters (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This short Epilogue parallels the Prologue by recalling another profound American crisis that raised the issue of official obedience to law: the Civil War, and in particular Lincoln's arguably unconstitutional suspension of habeas corpus in the war's early days. The Prologue uses Lincoln's suspension of habeas to illustrate two basic points about the limits of legal authority. First, the law remains subject to morality: Sometimes the morally correct thing will be to disobey the law, and the best the law can do is provide strong reasons to consider and respect its commands in times of crisis. Second, the law is constrained by reality: Its success requires a deep level of consensus about basic substantive and procedural values and about the imperative to peacefully resolve disputes. That consensus will not exist always and everywhere, and it requires attention to social and cultural issues, not merely legal ones.

Keywords:   legal authority, Abraham Lincoln, American Civil War, habeas corpus, legal disobedience, social consensus, dispute resolution

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .