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The Confederate JuristThe Legal Life of Judah P. Benjamin$
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William C. Gilmore

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9781474482004

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2022

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474482004.001.0001

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Slavery, Secession and Benjamin’s Confederate Years

Slavery, Secession and Benjamin’s Confederate Years

(p.41) 2 Slavery, Secession and Benjamin’s Confederate Years
The Confederate Jurist

William C. Gilmore

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter acts as a bridge between the consideration of Benjamin’s two separate legal careers; first in the United States and thereafter in England. Its initial focus is on the political, legal, and constitutional positions he adopted in the US Senate on the pivotal and connected issues of the future of slavery and southern secession. With the crystallisation of the latter it outlines how he sided with the Confederacy, became a close confidant of President Jefferson Davis, and served throughout the Civil War in his Cabinet; first as Attorney General, then as Secretary of War, and finally as Secretary of State. It concludes by tracing how, upon the disintegration of the Confederate government in the spring of 1865, Benjamin evaded capture by Union forces, made a daring escape to the Bahamas and sought sanctuary in the United Kingdom.

Keywords:   Slavery, Secession, American Civil War, Jefferson Davis, Confederate Cabinet, Attorney General, Secretary of War, Secretary of State, Escape, Sanctuary

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