Conspiracies Acts of 1861 and 1862

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CONSPIRACIES ACTS OF 1861 AND 1862, attempts to suppress antiwar activities in the North during the Civil War. One statute (31 July 1861) provided for a fine and imprisonment for those who conspired by threats, intimidation, or force to obstruct or overthrow the government. The act of 17 July 1862 (also known as the Confiscation Act) identified antiwar activity as treason and softened the death penalty for treason to the alternative of death or imprisonment and fine. Prosecutions under these acts were less effective than arbitrary arrests and confiscations.


Hyman, Harold M. A More Perfect Union: The Impact of the Civil War and Reconstruction on the Constitution. New York: Knopf, 1973.

Klement, Frank L. Dark Lanterns: Secret Political Societies, Conspiracies, and Treason Trials in the Civil War. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1984.

Martin P.Claussen/t. m.

See alsoArrest, Arbitrary, During the Civil War ; Confiscation Acts ; Copperheads ; Treason .

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Conspiracies Acts of 1861 and 1862

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