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Wild Edibles Expert
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Black's Law Dictionary: Martial Law exists when military authorities carry on government or exercise various degrees of control over civilians or civilian authorities in domestic territory. ... Such may exist either in time of war or when civil authority has ceased to function or has become ineffective.

A lot of folks here talk about martial law as if in a wink of an eye or the signing of a pen thus it is so nationwide. In practical terms martial law in the US is not possible. It is just too big and there isn't enough military to go around. Isolated areas can be under martial law, but it is a physical impossibility to put the entire country under said even if the entire military was back in the US. Police are not part of martial law, or said another way, martial law is a military function and (other than a token military in Texas) only the federal government has a military. Martial law is a function of the federal government.

Incorporated governments have police, like cities. There are about 20,000 local government with police in the US. It is impossible for them to coordinate as a force alternative for martial law nation wide.

Nationwide martial law is an easy thing to whip up fear about but in practical terms there isn't enough military, the states have rights, and the police are hired and paid by 20,000 separate local governments. The federal government cannot take over states or local municipalities. It does not have the authority or the means.

It can be a scattered local issue but not a national one.
 

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Information is Ammunition
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22,122 Posts
there has never been a dictatorship of a country or population this size. The Soviet Union wasn't a banana republic, but was based on very precarious relations that to this day cause them nothing but headaches. They will have nearly the same level of incommunication that we poor slobs will. Buracracies are doomed to fail when they get too large from the sheer amount of mismanaged ignorance in the individual departments
 

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Premium Member
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Sometimes a Declartion of Natioal Emergency, is confuzed w/Martial Law...Which can be a part of a NE>>

National Emergency Powers
Federal law provides a variety of powers for the President to use in response to
crisis, exigency, or emergency circumstances threatening the nation. Moreover, they
are not limited to military or war situations. Some of these authorities, deriving from
the Constitution or statutory law, are continuously available to the President with
little or no qualification. Others — statutory delegations from Congress — exist on
a stand-by basis and remain dormant until the President formally declares a national
emergency. These delegations or grants of power authorize the President to meet the
problems of governing effectively in times of crisis. Under the powers delegated by
such statutes, the President may seize property, organize and control the means of
production, seize commodities, assign military forces abroad, institute martial law,
seize and control all transportation and communication, regulate the operation of
private enterprise, restrict travel, and, in a variety of ways, control the lives of United
States citizens. Furthermore, Congress may modify, rescind, or render dormant such
delegated emergency authority.
Until the crisis of World War I, Presidents utilized emergency powers at their
own discretion. Proclamations announced the exercise of exigency authority.
However, during World War I and thereafter, Chief Executives had available to them
a growing body of standby emergency authority which became operative upon the
issuance of a proclamation declaring a condition of national emergency. Sometimes
such proclamations confined the matter of crisis to a specific policy sphere, and
sometimes they placed no limitation whatsoever on the pronouncement. These
activations of stand-by emergency authority remained acceptable practice until the
era of the Vietnam war. In 1976, Congress curtailed this practice with the passage
of the National Emergencies Act.

http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/98-505.pdf
 
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