Also, Matt Matthews is back with his blog Scildweall: The Online Journal of Military History. Matt is also an author and his booklet for the US Army on Posse Comitatus is on-line, The Posse Comitatus Act and the United States Army: A Historical Perspective. This came in handy in class last Wednesday, when the question of if the National Guard is subject to this law came up.
Regarding Posse Comitatus, while it looks like a good idea today, baring the Federal Military Services from acting as law enforcement agencies, when it was passed by Congress it was for a very bad purpose.
Quoting from the book:
A marshal of the United States, when opposed in the execution of his duty by unlawful combinations, has authority to summon the entire able-bodied force of his precinct as a posse comitatus. This authority comprehends, not only bystanders and other citizens generally, but any and all organized armed force, whether militia of the State, or officers, soldiers, sailors, and marines of the United States.That is the way it used to be. Then came the Civil War and Reconstruction and the disputed election of 1876. Again quoting Matt Matthews:
Attorney General Caleb Cushing, 27 May 1854
The presidential race of 1876 between Republican Rutherford B. Hayes and his Democratic opponent Samuel J. Tilden was so close that a special commission, comprised of members of the House, the Senate, and the Supreme Court, was required to determine the winner. In return for a Democratic promise not to challenge the commission’s findings, President-elect Hayes, in what can only be described as a “back-room deal,” vowed to remove a large portion of the Army from the South.32 Furthermore, he assured Southerners that the federal government would no longer interfere in their internal affairs.33 In this so called “Compromise of 1876,” black civil rights became the first casualty. The newspaper The Nation reported, “The negro will disappear from the field of national politics. Henceforth, the nation, as a nation, will have nothing more to do with him.” W.E.B. DuBois affirmed the true meaning of the compromise when he wrote “The slave went free; stood a brief moment in the sun; then moved back again toward slavery.”In the 44th Congress attempts were made by White Southern Democrats to limit the use of the Army in enforcing laws and fighting the Klan. They did not pass any such legislation, but in the 45th Congress Kentucky Congressman J. Proctor Knott introduced the Knott Amendment to the Army Appropriations Act. As Matt Matthews puts it:
The Knott Amendment became known as the Posse Comitatus Act. This amendment passed the House and the Senate as part of the Army appropriations bill, and President Hayes signed it on 18 June 1878. Though a few congressional representatives from Northern and Western states voted for the amendment after witnessing the acts of the Army during labor disputes in 1877, the Southern Democrats carried the amendment through Congress. Consequently, there can be little doubt that the Posse Comitatus Act was a direct result of the Army’s involvement in Reconstruction and the military’s involvement in Grant’s campaign against the Klan. In fact, the act was almost certainly intended as one last bulwark against federal meddling in the internal affairs of the white supremacist South. It is perhaps the ultimate irony that a nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to democratic ideals has until this time upheld the precepts of the Posse Comitatus Act, a law with origins in oppression and tyranny.Not an honorable period in the history of our nation.
But, back to the subject of this blog, there is still on person on my Blog Roll avoiding his blogging duties over at And then there is this .... He didn't even blog about the World Cup. Perpaps he will use his blog to tell us about his trip to San Diego. What wonderful weather.  Every day is like last evening was here in Lowell.
Regards — Cliff