The Origins of Federal Countersubversion
This chapter discusses how the idea of subversion allowed the supporters of war to get round these two, interrelated, problems of jurisprudence and rhetoric. In ideological terms, by defining dissenters as “subversive” it was possible to present opponents of war as essentially unpatriotic and un-American: if not un-American in strictly legal terms, then at least metaphorically, such that the abstract image of a unified nation could be preserved. Meanwhile, from a legal perspective, the idea of subversion could be used to designate a new, broad category of criminal behavior of sufficient gravity that the federal government's responsibility to guarantee the republican form of government gave it a mandate to act, but that, unlike treason, was not strongly regulated by the Constitution.
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