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Guide to Declarations of Martial Law in the United States

Summary: Martial law has been declared at least 68 times in the United States. This guide explains when, where, and why.

Published: August 20, 2020

Martial law has long been mired in confu­sion in the United States, but that has not always stopped state and federal offi­cials from declar­ing it. Indeed, the Bren­nan Center has iden­ti­fied 68 declar­a­tions of martial law across U.S. history. Our research into these events is presen­ted in the appendix below. It accom­pan­ies our report on martial law, which delves into the history of the concept and the legal prin­ciples that govern it.

We have organ­ized the appendix by category based on the type of event that precip­it­ated martial law. For each entry, we have included key inform­a­tion about the declar­a­tion such as the date, dura­tion, loca­tion, related litig­a­tion, and who issued it. Unfor­tu­nately, the histor­ical use of martial law in the United States is poorly docu­mented and under-stud­ied. For this reason, some of the entries in the appendix are incom­plete. We have also chosen to exclude any event where there is any doubt as to whether martial law was declared. For a down­load­able Excel version of the appendix with sourcing, click here.

Declar­a­tions of martial law due to:


War or Invasion

General Andrew Jack­son declares martial law before the Battle of New Orleans, 1814.

Covered Area: New Orleans, Lous­i­ana
State or Federal: Federal
Dura­tion: Decem­ber 12, 1814 – March 13, 1815 (3 months)

Precip­it­at­ing Event: Battle of New Orleans during the War of 1812

Declar­ing Author­ity: Gen. Andrew Jack­son
Termin­at­ing Author­ity: Gen. Andrew Jack­son

Relev­ant Pres­id­en­tial Proclam­a­tions or Exec­ut­ive Orders: None
Civil­ians Tried by Milit­ary Tribunal? Yes

Related Litig­a­tion: Habeas and contempt proceed­ings in the federal district court in New Orleans

Notes: This was the first declar­a­tion of martial law in U.S. history.


Pres­id­ent Frank­lin Roosevelt approves the declar­a­tion of martial law in Hawaii after the attack on Pearl Harbor, 1941.

Covered Area: Hawaii Territ­ory
State or Federal: Federal
Dura­tion: Decem­ber 7, 1941 – Octo­ber 24, 1944 (2 years, 10 months, 17 days)

Precip­it­at­ing Event: Attack on Pearl Harbor during World War II

Declar­ing Author­ity: Gov. J. B. Poin­dex­ter and Lt. Gen. Walter C. Short (declar­a­tion approved by Pres. Frank­lin Roosevelt)
Termin­at­ing Author­ity: Pres. Frank­lin Roosevelt

Relev­ant Pres­id­en­tial Proclam­a­tions or Exec­ut­ive Orders: Proclam­a­tion No. 2627 (1944)
Civil­ians Tried by Milit­ary Tribunal? Yes

Related Litig­a­tion: Duncan v. Kahanamoku, 327 U.S. 304 (1946); Ex parte Zimmer­man, 132 F.2d 442 (9th Cir. 1942), cert. denied “on the ground that the cause is moot,” 319 U.S. 744 (1943); Ex parte Spur­lock, 66 F. Supp. 997 (D. Haw. 1944), rev’d Steer v. Spur­lock, 146 F.2d 652 (9th Cir. 1944), cert. denied ”on the ground that the cause is moot," 324 U.S. 863 (1945); Ochikubo v. Bonesteel, 60 F. Supp. 916 (S.D. Cal. 1945); Kam Koon Wan v. E.E. Black, Ltd., 75 F. Supp. 553 (D. Haw. 1948)

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Domestic War or Insurrection

Rhode Island General Assembly declares martial law during the Dorr War, 1842.

Covered Area: Rhode Island
State or Federal: State 
Dura­tion: June 25, 1842 – May 1843 (11 months)

Precip­it­at­ing Event: Dorr War

Declar­ing Author­ity: Rhode Island General Assembly (Charter govern­ment)
Termin­at­ing Author­ity: See notes

Relev­ant Pres­id­en­tial Proclam­a­tions or Exec­ut­ive Orders: None
Civil­ians Tried by Milit­ary Tribunal? No

Notes: This was the first time that the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a declar­a­tion of martial law. The state of martial law appears to have been termin­ated by oper­a­tion of law when Rhode Island adop­ted a new consti­tu­tion in May 1843.


Gov. Brigham Young declares martial law during the Utah War, 1857.

Covered Area: Utah Territ­ory
State or Federal: See notes 
Dura­tion: Septem­ber 15, 1857 – June 12, 1858 (9 months)

Precip­it­at­ing Event: Utah War

Declar­ing Author­ity: Gov. Brigham Young
Termin­at­ing Author­ity: See notes

Relev­ant Pres­id­en­tial Proclam­a­tions or Exec­ut­ive Orders: None
Civil­ians Tried by Milit­ary Tribunal? No

Notes: Although Governor Young declared martial law under color of his author­ity as the territ­orial governor, he did so in order to facil­it­ate armed resist­ance to approach­ing federal troops. Hostil­it­ies in Utah ended on June 12, 1858, when Young accep­ted Pres­id­ent James Buchanan’s pardon and was removed from power. It does not appear that a formal proclam­a­tion ending martial law was ever promul­gated.


Gen. John C. Fremont declares martial law in Missouri in response to the Camp Jack­son Affair and a Confed­er­ate insur­gency, 1861.

Covered Area: Missouri
State or Federal: Federal 
Dura­tion: August 30, 1861 (August 14, 1861 in St. Louis only) – March 17, 1865 (4 years)

Precip­it­at­ing Event: Camp Jack­son Affair and ongo­ing Confed­er­ate insur­gency during the U.S. Civil War

Declar­ing Author­ity: Gen. John C. Fremont
Termin­at­ing Author­ity: Gen. John Pope

Relev­ant Pres­id­en­tial Proclam­a­tions or Exec­ut­ive Orders: None
Civil­ians Tried by Milit­ary Tribunal? Unclear

Related Litig­a­tion: Clark v. Dick, 5 F. Cas. 865 (C.C.D. Mo. 1870)

Notes: U.S. Army Gen. John C. Fremont declared martial law in St. Louis on August 14, 1861, and then through­out Missouri on August 30. Fremont was soon relieved of command for insub­or­din­a­tion. His successor, Gen. Henry W. Halleck, believed that Fremont had lacked the author­ity to declare martial law, and he refused to enforce it until he received writ­ten author­iz­a­tion to do so from Pres­id­ent Abra­ham Lincoln in Decem­ber 1861.


Pres. Abra­ham Lincoln declares martial law during the U.S. Civil War, 1862.

Covered Area: United States
State or Federal: Federal 
Dura­tion: Septem­ber 24, 1862 – August 20, 1866 (4 years)

Precip­it­at­ing Event: U.S. Civil War

Declar­ing Author­ity: Pres. Abra­ham Lincoln
Termin­at­ing Author­ity: Pres. Andrew John­son

Relev­ant Pres­id­en­tial Proclam­a­tions or Exec­ut­ive Orders: Proclam­a­tion 94 (1862); Proclam­a­tion 157 (1866)
Civil­ians Tried by Milit­ary Tribunal? Yes

Related Litig­a­tion: Ex parte Milligan, 71 U.S. 2 (1866); Ex parte Bene­dict, 3 F. Cas. 159 (N.D.N.Y. 1862); Ex parte Field, 9 F. Cas. 1 (C.C.D. Vt. 1862); Ex parte Valland­ing­ham, 28 F. Cas. 874 (C.C.S.D. Ohio 1863)

Notes: Rather than declar­ing martial law over a partic­u­lar area, Proclam­a­tion 94 applied martial law to “all rebels and insur­gents, their aiders and abet­tors, within the United States, and all persons discour­aging volun­teer enlist­ments, resist­ing mili­tia draft or guilty of any disloyal prac­tice afford­ing aid and comfort to rebels against the author­ity of the United States.”


Pres. Abra­ham Lincoln declares martial law in Kentucky during the U.S. Civil War, 1864.

Covered Area: Kentucky
State or Federal: Federal 
Dura­tion: July 5, 1864 – Octo­ber 12, 1865 (1 year, 3 months)

Precip­it­at­ing Event: U.S. Civil War

Declar­ing Author­ity: Pres. Abra­ham Lincoln
Termin­at­ing Author­ity: Pres. Andrew John­son

Relev­ant Pres­id­en­tial Proclam­a­tions or Exec­ut­ive Orders: Proclam­a­tion 113 (1864); Proclam­a­tion 146 (1865)
Civil­ians Tried by Milit­ary Tribunal? Unclear


North Caro­lina Gov. William Holden declares martial law during the Kirk-Holden War, 1870.

Covered Area: Caswell and Alamance counties, North Caro­lina
State or Federal: State 
Dura­tion: July 8, 1870 – Novem­ber 10, 1870 (4 months)

Precip­it­at­ing Event: Kirk-Holden War

Declar­ing Author­ity: Gov. William Holden
Termin­at­ing Author­ity: Gov. William Holden

Relev­ant Pres­id­en­tial Proclam­a­tions or Exec­ut­ive Orders: None
Civil­ians Tried by Milit­ary Tribunal? Unclear


Texas Gov. Lawrence Sulli­van Ross declares martial law during the Jaybird-Wood­pecker War, 1889.

Covered Area: Fort Bend County, Texas
State or Federal: State 
Dura­tion: August 16, 1889 – Unclear (“Several days”)

Precip­it­at­ing Event: Jaybird-Wood­pecker War

Declar­ing Author­ity: Gov. Lawrence Sulli­van Ross
Termin­at­ing Author­ity: Unclear

Relev­ant Pres­id­en­tial Proclam­a­tions or Exec­ut­ive Orders: None
Civil­ians Tried by Milit­ary Tribunal? No

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Riot or Civil Unrest

Gen. Absa­lom Baird declares martial law in response to the New Orleans massacre of 1866.

Covered Area: New Orleans, Louisi­ana
State or Federal: Federal 
Dura­tion: July 30, 1866 – Unclear (See notes)

Precip­it­at­ing Event: New Orleans massacre of 1866

Declar­ing Author­ity: See notes
Termin­at­ing Author­ity: See notes

Relev­ant Pres­id­en­tial Proclam­a­tions or Exec­ut­ive Orders: None
Civil­ians Tried by Milit­ary Tribunal? Unclear

Notes: Gen. Absa­lom Baird initially declared martial law on July 30, 1866. Pres­id­ent Andrew John­son publicly disap­proved of but did not over­rule this decision. On August 3, the decision to impose martial law was rati­fied and exten­ded by Gen. Ulysses Grant on the recom­mend­a­tion of Gen. Philip Sheridan, after the latter arrived in the city and determ­ined that Baird’s actions were entirely justi­fied under the circum­stances. Martial law was later rati­fied and exten­ded again by Pres­id­ent John­son on August 7.

It is not clear when martial law ended in New Orleans. It may have contin­ued up until 1867, when Radical Recon­struc­tion and congres­sion­ally admin­istered milit­ary rule began.


Gov. Watson Squire declares martial law in Seattle in response to anti-Chinese riot­ing, 1886.

Covered Area: Seattle, Wash­ing­ton Territ­ory
State or Federal: Federal 
Dura­tion: Febru­ary 8, 1886 – Febru­ary 22, 1886 (15 days)

Precip­it­at­ing Event: Anti-Chinese riot­ing

Declar­ing Author­ity: Gov. Watson Squire
Termin­at­ing Author­ity: Gov. Watson Squire

Relev­ant Pres­id­en­tial Proclam­a­tions or Exec­ut­ive Orders: See notes
Civil­ians Tried by Milit­ary Tribunal? No

Notes: Pres­id­ent Grover Clev­e­land issued a proclam­a­tion to disperse under the Insur­rec­tion Act on Febru­ary 9. See Proclam­a­tion 275 (1886). As a result, some writers have incor­rectly concluded that it was Clev­e­land who declared martial law.


Ohio Gov. George K. Nash declares martial law in response to the Akron riot of 1900.

Covered Area: Akron, Ohio
State or Federal: State 
Dura­tion: August 23, 1900 – August 27, 1900 (5 days)

Precip­it­at­ing Event: Akron riot of 1900

Declar­ing Author­ity: Gov. George K. Nash
Termin­at­ing Author­ity: Unclear

Relev­ant Pres­id­en­tial Proclam­a­tions or Exec­ut­ive Orders: None
Civil­ians Tried by Milit­ary Tribunal? Unclear


Texas Gov. James Ferguson declares martial law in response to the Hous­ton riot of 1917.

Covered Area: Hous­ton, Texas
State or Federal: State 
Dura­tion: August 24, 1917 – Unclear (“Several days”)

Precip­it­at­ing Event: Hous­ton riot of 1917

Declar­ing Author­ity: Gov. James Ferguson
Termin­at­ing Author­ity: Unclear

Relev­ant Pres­id­en­tial Proclam­a­tions or Exec­ut­ive Orders: None
Civil­ians Tried by Milit­ary Tribunal? No


Texas Gov. William P. Hobby declares martial law in response to the Longview race riot of 1919.

Covered Area: Longview, Texas
State or Federal: State 
Dura­tion: July 12, 1919 – Unclear

Precip­it­at­ing Event: Longview race riot of 1919

Declar­ing Author­ity: Gov. William P. Hobby
Termin­at­ing Author­ity: Unclear

Relev­ant Pres­id­en­tial Proclam­a­tions or Exec­ut­ive Orders: None
Civil­ians Tried by Milit­ary Tribunal? No


Gen. Fran­cis C. Marshall declares martial law after a lynch mob attempts to storm the Lexing­ton, Kentucky court­house, 1920.

Covered Area: Fayette County, Kentucky
State or Federal: Federal 
Dura­tion: Febru­ary 9, 1920 – Febru­ary 22, 1920 (14 days)

Precip­it­at­ing Event: Lynch mob attempt­ing to storm Lexing­ton court­house

Declar­ing Author­ity: Gen. Fran­cis C. Marshall
Termin­at­ing Author­ity: Lt. Col. George E. Maddox

Relev­ant Pres­id­en­tial Proclam­a­tions or Exec­ut­ive Orders: None
Civil­ians Tried by Milit­ary Tribunal? No


Gen. Charles Barrett declares martial law in response to the Tulsa, Oklahoma race riot, 1921.

Covered Area: Tulsa, Oklahoma
State or Federal: State 
Dura­tion: June 1, 1921 – June 4, 1921 (4 days)

Precip­it­at­ing Event: Tulsa race riot

Declar­ing Author­ity: Gen. Charles Barrett
Termin­at­ing Author­ity: Gen. Charles Barrett

Relev­ant Pres­id­en­tial Proclam­a­tions or Exec­ut­ive Orders: None
Civil­ians Tried by Milit­ary Tribunal? No


Ohio Gov. A. Victor Dona­hey declares martial law in Niles follow­ing the anti-Klan riot of 1924.

Covered Area: Niles, Ohio
State or Federal: State 
Dura­tion: Novem­ber 1, 1924 – Novem­ber 11, 1924 (10 days)

Precip­it­at­ing Event: Anti-Klan riot of 1924

Declar­ing Author­ity: Gov. A. Victor Dona­hey
Termin­at­ing Author­ity: Gov. A. Victor Dona­hey

Relev­ant Pres­id­en­tial Proclam­a­tions or Exec­ut­ive Orders: None
Civil­ians Tried by Milit­ary Tribunal? No


Texas Gov. Dan Moody declares martial law in response to the Sher­man riot of 1930.

Covered Area: Sher­man, Texas
State or Federal: State 
Dura­tion: May 10, 1930 – May 24, 1930 (14 days)

Precip­it­at­ing Event: Sher­man riot of 1930

Declar­ing Author­ity: Gov. Dan Moody
Termin­at­ing Author­ity: Unclear

Relev­ant Pres­id­en­tial Proclam­a­tions or Exec­ut­ive Orders: None
Civil­ians Tried by Milit­ary Tribunal? Unclear


Acting Texas Gov. A. M. Aikin Jr. declares martial law in response to the Beau­mont race riot of 1943.

Covered Area: Beau­mont, Texas
State or Federal: State 
Dura­tion: June 15, 1943 – June 20, 1943 (5 days)

Precip­it­at­ing Event: Beau­mont race riot of 1943

Declar­ing Author­ity: Acting Gov. A. M. Aikin Jr.
Termin­at­ing Author­ity: Acting Gov. A. M. Aikin Jr.

Relev­ant Pres­id­en­tial Proclam­a­tions or Exec­ut­ive Orders: None
Civil­ians Tried by Milit­ary Tribunal? Yes


Mary­land Gov. J. Millard Tawes declares martial law in response to the Cambridge riot of 1963.

Covered Area: Cambridge, Mary­land
State or Federal: State 
Dura­tion: June 14, 1963 – July 8, 1964 (1 year, 1 month)

Precip­it­at­ing Event: Cambridge riot of 1963

Declar­ing Author­ity: Gov. J. Millard Tawes
Termin­at­ing Author­ity: Gov. J. Millard Tawes

Relev­ant Pres­id­en­tial Proclam­a­tions or Exec­ut­ive Orders: None
Civil­ians Tried by Milit­ary Tribunal? No

Notes: Martial law was briefly lifted between July 8 and July 13, 1963.

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Labor Dispute

Pennsylvania Gov. John Fred­er­ick Hartranft declares martial law during the Scranton general strike, 1877.

Covered Area: Scranton, Pennsylvania
State or Federal: State 
Dura­tion: August 2, 1877 – Unclear

Precip­it­at­ing Event: Scranton general strike

Declar­ing Author­ity: Gov. John Fred­er­ick Hartranft
Termin­at­ing Author­ity: Unclear

Relev­ant Pres­id­en­tial Proclam­a­tions or Exec­ut­ive Orders: None
Civil­ians Tried by Milit­ary Tribunal? No


Idaho Gov. N. B. Willey declares martial law during a viol­ent struggle between mine oper­at­ors and miners in and around Coeur D’Alene, 1892.

Covered Area: Shos­hone County, Idaho
State or Federal: State 
Dura­tion: July 11, 1892 – Novem­ber 18, 1892 (4.5 months)

Precip­it­at­ing Event: Viol­ent struggle between mine oper­at­ors and miners in and around Coeur D’Alene, Idaho

Declar­ing Author­ity: Gov. N. B. Willey
Termin­at­ing Author­ity: Gov. N. B. Willey

Relev­ant Pres­id­en­tial Proclam­a­tions or Exec­ut­ive Orders: None
Civil­ians Tried by Milit­ary Tribunal? Unclear


Pennsylvania Gov. Robert E. Pattison declares martial law during the Homestead strike, 1892.

Covered Area: Homestead, Pennsylvania
State or Federal: State 
Dura­tion: July 12, 1892 – Unclear

Precip­it­at­ing Event: Homestead strike

Declar­ing Author­ity: Gov. Robert E. Pattison
Termin­at­ing Author­ity: Unclear

Relev­ant Pres­id­en­tial Proclam­a­tions or Exec­ut­ive Orders: None
Civil­ians Tried by Milit­ary Tribunal? No


Illinois Gov. John Riley Tanner declares martial law in Pana in response to a coal miner strike, 1898.

Covered Area: Pana, Illinois
State or Federal: State 
Dura­tion: Novem­ber 21, 1898 – Novem­ber 24, 1898 (4 days)

Precip­it­at­ing Event: Coal miner strike

Declar­ing Author­ity: Gov. John Riley Tanner
Termin­at­ing Author­ity: Gov. John Riley Tanner

Relev­ant Pres­id­en­tial Proclam­a­tions or Exec­ut­ive Orders: None
Civil­ians Tried by Milit­ary Tribunal? No


Idaho Gov. Frank Steun­en­berg declares martial law during a viol­ent struggle between mine oper­at­ors and the West­ern Feder­a­tion of Miners in and around Coeur D’Alene, 1899.

Covered Area: Shos­hone County, Idaho
State or Federal: State 
Dura­tion: May 4, 1899 – April 11, 1901 (2 years)

Precip­it­at­ing Event: Viol­ent struggle between mine oper­at­ors and West­ern Feder­a­tion of Miners in and around Coeur D’Alene, Idaho

Declar­ing Author­ity: Gov. Frank Steun­en­berg
Termin­at­ing Author­ity: Gov. Frank Hunt

Relev­ant Pres­id­en­tial Proclam­a­tions or Exec­ut­ive Orders: None
Civil­ians Tried by Milit­ary Tribunal? Unclear

Related Litig­a­tion: In re Boyle, 6 Idaho 609 (Idaho 1899)


Pennsylvania Gov. William Stone declares martial law in several counties during the coal strike of 1902.

Covered Area: Luzerne, Schuylkill, Carbon, Lack­awanna, Susque­hanna, Northum­ber­land, and Columbia counties, Pennsylvania
State or Federal: State 
Dura­tion: Octo­ber 6, 1902 – Unclear

Precip­it­at­ing Event: Coal strike of 1902

Declar­ing Author­ity: Gov. William Stone
Termin­at­ing Author­ity: Unclear

Relev­ant Pres­id­en­tial Proclam­a­tions or Exec­ut­ive Orders: None
Civil­ians Tried by Milit­ary Tribunal? Unclear

Related Litig­a­tion: Common­wealth ex rel. Wadsworth v. Shortall, 206 Pa. 165 (Pa. 1903)

Notes: In Shortall, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court considered the order deploy­ing the National Guard to be a declar­a­tion of “qual­i­fied martial law.”


Gov. James Peabody declares martial law in Teller County during the Color­ado labor wars, 1903.

Covered Area: Teller County, Color­ado
State or Federal: State 
Dura­tion: Decem­ber 4, 1903 – Febru­ary 2, 1904 (1 month, 28 days)

Precip­it­at­ing Event: Color­ado labor wars

Declar­ing Author­ity: Gov. James Peabody
Termin­at­ing Author­ity: Unclear

Relev­ant Pres­id­en­tial Proclam­a­tions or Exec­ut­ive Orders: None
Civil­ians Tried by Milit­ary Tribunal? Unclear

Related Litig­a­tion: Moyer v. Peabody, 212 U.S. 78 (1909); In re Moyer, 85 Pac. Rep. 190 (Colo. 1904)


Gov. James Peabody declares martial law in San Miguel County during the Color­ado labor wars, Janu­ary 1904.

Covered Area: San Miguel County, Color­ado
State or Federal: State 
Dura­tion: Janu­ary 4, 1904 – March 13, 1904 (2 months, 9 days)

Precip­it­at­ing Event: Color­ado labor wars

Declar­ing Author­ity: Gov. James Peabody
Termin­at­ing Author­ity: Unclear

Relev­ant Pres­id­en­tial Proclam­a­tions or Exec­ut­ive Orders: None
Civil­ians Tried by Milit­ary Tribunal? Unclear

Related Litig­a­tion: Moyer v. Peabody, 212 U.S. 78 (1909); In re Moyer, 85 Pac. Rep. 190 (Colo. 1904)


Gov. James Peabody declares martial law again in San Miguel County during the Color­ado labor wars, March 1904.

Covered Area: San Miguel County, Color­ado
State or Federal: State 
Dura­tion: March 23, 1904 – June 15, 1904 (2 months, 23 days)

Precip­it­at­ing Event: Color­ado labor wars

Declar­ing Author­ity: Gov. James Peabody
Termin­at­ing Author­ity: Unclear

Relev­ant Pres­id­en­tial Proclam­a­tions or Exec­ut­ive Orders: None
Civil­ians Tried by Milit­ary Tribunal? Unclear

Related Litig­a­tion: Moyer v. Peabody, 212 U.S. 78 (1909); In re Moyer, 85 Pac. Rep. 190 (Colo. 1904)


Gov. James Peabody declares martial law in Las Animas County during the Color­ado labor wars, March 1904.

Covered Area: Las Animas County, Color­ado
State or Federal: State 
Dura­tion: March 23, 1904 – June 6, 1904 (2 months, 14 days)

Precip­it­at­ing Event: Color­ado labor wars

Declar­ing Author­ity: Gov. James Peabody
Termin­at­ing Author­ity: Unclear

Relev­ant Pres­id­en­tial Proclam­a­tions or Exec­ut­ive Orders: None
Civil­ians Tried by Milit­ary Tribunal? Unclear

Related Litig­a­tion: Moyer v. Peabody, 212 U.S. 78 (1909); In re Moyer, 85 Pac. Rep. 190 (Colo. 1904)


West Virginia Gov. William E. Glass­cock declares martial law during the Paint Creek–Cabin Creek Strike of 1912.

Covered Area: Paint Creek and Cabin Creek, West Virginia
State or Federal: State 
Dura­tion: Septem­ber 2, 1912 – Octo­ber 15, 1912 (1.5 months)

Precip­it­at­ing Event: Paint Creek–Cabin Creek Strike of 1912

Declar­ing Author­ity: Gov. William E. Glass­cock
Termin­at­ing Author­ity: Gov. William E. Glass­cock

Relev­ant Pres­id­en­tial Proclam­a­tions or Exec­ut­ive Orders: None
Civil­ians Tried by Milit­ary Tribunal? Yes

Related Litig­a­tion: State ex rel. Mays v. Brown & State ex rel. Nance v. Brown, 71 W.Va. 519 (W. Va. 1912); Ex parte Jones, 71 W.Va. 567 (W. Va. 1913)


West Virginia Gov. William E. Glass­cock declares martial law again during the Paint Creek–Cabin Creek Strike of 1912.

Covered Area: Paint Creek and Cabin Creek, West Virginia
State or Federal: State 
Dura­tion: Novem­ber 15, 1912 – Janu­ary 10, 1913 (2 months)

Precip­it­at­ing Event: Paint Creek–Cabin Creek Strike of 1912

Declar­ing Author­ity: Gov. William E. Glass­cock
Termin­at­ing Author­ity: Gov. William E. Glass­cock

Relev­ant Pres­id­en­tial Proclam­a­tions or Exec­ut­ive Orders: None
Civil­ians Tried by Milit­ary Tribunal? Yes

Related Litig­a­tion: State ex rel. Mays v. Brown & State ex rel. Nance v. Brown, 71 W.Va. 519 (W. Va. 1912); Ex parte Jones, 71 W.Va. 567 (W. Va. 1913)


West Virginia Gov. William E. Glass­cock declares martial law after the Bull Moose Special attack on the Holly Grove miners’ settle­ment, 1913.

Covered Area: Paint Creek and Cabin Creek, West Virginia
State or Federal: State 
Dura­tion: Febru­ary 10, 1913 – June 13, 1913 (4 months)

Precip­it­at­ing Event: Paint Creek–Cabin Creek Strike of 1912

Declar­ing Author­ity: Gov. William E. Glass­cock
Termin­at­ing Author­ity: Gov. Henry D. Hatfield

Relev­ant Pres­id­en­tial Proclam­a­tions or Exec­ut­ive Orders: None
Civil­ians Tried by Milit­ary Tribunal? Yes

Related Litig­a­tion: Hatfield v. Graham, 73 W.Va. 759 (W. Va. 1914)


Indi­ana Gov. Samuel Ralston declares martial law during the Indi­ana­polis street­car strike of 1913.

Covered Area: Indi­ana­polis, Indi­ana
State or Federal: State 
Dura­tion: Novem­ber 4, 1913 – Novem­ber 7, 1913 (3 days)

Precip­it­at­ing Event: Indi­ana­polis street­car strike of 1913

Declar­ing Author­ity: Gov. Samuel Ralston
Termin­at­ing Author­ity: Gov. Samuel Ralston

Relev­ant Pres­id­en­tial Proclam­a­tions or Exec­ut­ive Orders: None
Civil­ians Tried by Milit­ary Tribunal? No


Montana Gov. Samuel Stew­art declares martial law after the dynam­it­ing of the Butte Miners’ Union, 1914.

Covered Area: Butte, Montana
State or Federal: State 
Dura­tion: Septem­ber 1, 1914 – Novem­ber 12, 1914

Precip­it­at­ing Event: Dynam­it­ing of the Butte Miners’ Union

Declar­ing Author­ity: Gov. Samuel Stew­art
Termin­at­ing Author­ity: Unclear

Relev­ant Pres­id­en­tial Proclam­a­tions or Exec­ut­ive Orders: None
Civil­ians Tried by Milit­ary Tribunal? Yes

Related Litig­a­tion: Ex parte McDon­ald, 143 Pac. 94 (Mont. 1914)


Gen. Leonard Wood declares martial law in Gary, Indi­ana in response to the steel strike of 1919.

Covered Area: Gary, Indi­ana
State or Federal: Federal 
Dura­tion: Octo­ber 6, 1919 – Unclear

Precip­it­at­ing Event: Steel strike of 1919

Declar­ing Author­ity: Gen. Leonard Wood
Termin­at­ing Author­ity: Unclear

Relev­ant Pres­id­en­tial Proclam­a­tions or Exec­ut­ive Orders: None
Civil­ians Tried by Milit­ary Tribunal? No


Texas Gov. William P. Hobby declares martial law in response to the Galve­ston Long­shore­men’s Strike, 1920.

Covered Area: Galve­ston, Texas
State or Federal: State 
Dura­tion: June 7, 1920 – Unclear

Precip­it­at­ing Event: Galve­ston Long­shore­men’s Strike

Declar­ing Author­ity: Gov. William P. Hobby
Termin­at­ing Author­ity: Gov. William P. Hobby

Relev­ant Pres­id­en­tial Proclam­a­tions or Exec­ut­ive Orders: None
Civil­ians Tried by Milit­ary Tribunal? Yes

Related Litig­a­tion: United States v. Wolters, 268 F. 69 (S.D. Tex. 1920)


Gov. John Corn­well declares martial law in Mingo County during the West Virginia coal wars, 1920.

Covered Area: Mingo County, West Virginia
State or Federal: State 
Dura­tion: Novem­ber 27, 1920 – Febru­ary 16, 1921 (2 months, 17 days)

Precip­it­at­ing Event: West Virginia coal wars

Declar­ing Author­ity: Gov. John Corn­well
Termin­at­ing Author­ity: Gov. John Corn­well

Relev­ant Pres­id­en­tial Proclam­a­tions or Exec­ut­ive Orders: None
Civil­ians Tried by Milit­ary Tribunal? No


Gov. Ephraim P. Morgan declares martial law in Mingo County during the West Virginia coal wars, 1921.

Covered Area: Mingo County, West Virginia
State or Federal: State 
Dura­tion: May 19, 1921 – Octo­ber 7, 1922 (15 months)

Precip­it­at­ing Event: West Virginia coal wars

Declar­ing Author­ity: Gov. Ephraim P. Morgan
Termin­at­ing Author­ity: See notes

Relev­ant Pres­id­en­tial Proclam­a­tions or Exec­ut­ive Orders: None
Civil­ians Tried by Milit­ary Tribunal? No

Related Litig­a­tion: Ex parte Lavinder, 88 W.Va. 713 (W.Va. 1921)

Notes: In Lavinder, the West Virginia Supreme Court partially inval­id­ated Governor Morgan’s declar­a­tion of martial law. Morgan then issued a “supple­mental” proclam­a­tion on June 27, 1922; this “supple­mental” impos­i­tion of martial law was rescin­ded on Octo­ber 7, 1922.


Nebraska Gov. Samuel McKelvie declares martial law in Nebraska City in response to a pack­ing plant strike, 1922.

Covered Area: Nebraska City, Nebraska
State or Federal: State 
Dura­tion: Janu­ary 27, 1922 – Febru­ary 16, 1922 (20 days)

Precip­it­at­ing Event: Pack­ing plant strike

Declar­ing Author­ity: Gov. Samuel McKelvie
Termin­at­ing Author­ity: Unclear

Relev­ant Pres­id­en­tial Proclam­a­tions or Exec­ut­ive Orders: None
Civil­ians Tried by Milit­ary Tribunal? Yes

Related Litig­a­tion: United States v. Fisc­her, 280 F. 208 (D. Neb. 1922)


Minnesota Gov. Floyd B. Olson declares martial law in response to the Minneapolis general strike of 1934.

Covered Area: Minneapolis, Minnesota
State or Federal: State 
Dura­tion: July 26, 1934 – Unclear

Precip­it­at­ing Event: Minneapolis general strike of 1934

Declar­ing Author­ity: Gov. Floyd B. Olson
Termin­at­ing Author­ity: Unclear

Relev­ant Pres­id­en­tial Proclam­a­tions or Exec­ut­ive Orders: None
Civil­ians Tried by Milit­ary Tribunal? Unclear

Related Litig­a­tion: Powers Mercant­ile Co. v. Olson, 7 F. Supp. 865 (D. Minn. 1934)


Rhode Island Gov. Theodore Green declares martial law in Sayles­ville in response to the textile work­ers strike of 1934.

Covered Area: Sayles­ville, Rhode Island
State or Federal: State 
Dura­tion: Septem­ber 11, 1934 – Unclear

Precip­it­at­ing Event: Textile work­ers strike of 1934

Declar­ing Author­ity: Gov. Theodore Green
Termin­at­ing Author­ity: Unclear

Relev­ant Pres­id­en­tial Proclam­a­tions or Exec­ut­ive Orders: None
Civil­ians Tried by Milit­ary Tribunal? Unclear


Geor­gia Gov. Eugene Talmadge declares martial law in response to the textile work­ers strike of 1934.

Covered Area: Geor­gia
State or Federal: State 
Dura­tion: Septem­ber 15, 1934 – Unclear

Precip­it­at­ing Event: Textile work­ers strike of 1934

Declar­ing Author­ity: Gov. Eugene Talmadge
Termin­at­ing Author­ity: Unclear

Relev­ant Pres­id­en­tial Proclam­a­tions or Exec­ut­ive Orders: None
Civil­ians Tried by Milit­ary Tribunal? Yes

Related Litig­a­tion: Welch v. State, 53 Ga. App. 255 (Ga. Ct. App. 1936)


Geor­gia Gov. Eugene Talmadge declares martial law in LaGrange in response to a textile work­ers strike, 1935.

Covered Area: LaGrange, Geor­gia
State or Federal: State 
Dura­tion: March 4, 1935 – Unclear

Precip­it­at­ing Event: Follow up strike to 1934 textile work­ers strike

Declar­ing Author­ity: Gov. Eugene Talmadge
Termin­at­ing Author­ity: Unclear

Relev­ant Pres­id­en­tial Proclam­a­tions or Exec­ut­ive Orders: None
Civil­ians Tried by Milit­ary Tribunal? Unclear


Nebraska Gov. Robert L. Cochran declares martial law during the Omaha tram strike, 1935.

Covered Area: Omaha, Nebraska
State or Federal: State 
Dura­tion: June 15, 1935 – June 21, 1935 (6 days)

Precip­it­at­ing Event: Omaha tram strike

Declar­ing Author­ity: Gov. Robert L. Cochran
Termin­at­ing Author­ity: Unclear

Relev­ant Pres­id­en­tial Proclam­a­tions or Exec­ut­ive Orders: None
Civil­ians Tried by Milit­ary Tribunal? Yes

Notes: This was a relat­ively unusual instance in which the state governor did not take the side of prop­erty against labor, but instead used martial law to end the viol­ence and force the tram compan­ies to arbit­rate.


Indi­ana Gov. Paul V. McNutt declares martial law in Terre Haute in response to the General Strike of 1935.

Covered Area: Vigo County, Indi­ana
State or Federal: State 
Dura­tion: July 22, 1935 – Febru­ary 10, 1936 (6 months, 19 days)

Precip­it­at­ing Event: General Strike of 1935 (Terre Haute)

Declar­ing Author­ity: Gov. Paul V. McNutt
Termin­at­ing Author­ity: Gov. Paul V. McNutt

Relev­ant Pres­id­en­tial Proclam­a­tions or Exec­ut­ive Orders: None
Civil­ians Tried by Milit­ary Tribunal? No

Related Litig­a­tion: Cox v. McNutt, 12 F. Supp. 355 (S.D. Ind. 1935)


Iowa Gov. Nelson Krashel declares martial law in Newton in response to the 1938 Maytag Corpor­a­tion labor dispute.

Covered Area: Newton, Iowa
State or Federal: State 
Dura­tion: July 20, 1938 – August 19, 1938 (30 days)

Precip­it­at­ing Event: 1938 Maytag Corpor­a­tion labor dispute

Declar­ing Author­ity: Gov. Nelson Krashel
Termin­at­ing Author­ity: Gov. Nelson Krashel

Relev­ant Pres­id­en­tial Proclam­a­tions or Exec­ut­ive Orders: None
Civil­ians Tried by Milit­ary Tribunal? No

Related Litig­a­tion: State v. Sent­ner, 230 Iowa 590 (Iowa 1941)


Oklahoma Gov. E. W. Marland declares martial law in Tulsa in response to a strike at the Mid-Contin­ent Petro­leum Corpor­a­tion, 1938.

Covered Area: Tulsa, Oklahoma
State or Federal: State 
Dura­tion: Decem­ber 24, 1938 – May 14, 1939 (4 months, 21 days)

Precip­it­at­ing Event: Strike at Mid-Contin­ent Petro­leum Corpor­a­tion

Declar­ing Author­ity: Gov. E. W. Marland
Termin­at­ing Author­ity: Gov. Leon Phil­lips

Relev­ant Pres­id­en­tial Proclam­a­tions or Exec­ut­ive Orders: None
Civil­ians Tried by Milit­ary Tribunal? Unclear


Minnesota Gov. Orville L. Free­man declares martial law in Free­born County in response to a meat-pack­ing work­ers strike, 1959.

Covered Area: Free­born County, Minnesota
State or Federal: State 
Dura­tion: Decem­ber 11, 1959 – Decem­ber 22, 1959 (11 days)

Precip­it­at­ing Event: Meat-pack­ing work­ers strike in Albert Lea, Minnesota

Declar­ing Author­ity: Gov. Orville L. Free­man
Termin­at­ing Author­ity: U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota

Relev­ant Pres­id­en­tial Proclam­a­tions or Exec­ut­ive Orders: None
Civil­ians Tried by Milit­ary Tribunal? No

Related Litig­a­tion: Wilson & Co. v. Free­man, 179 F. Supp. 520 (D. Minn. 1959)

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Natural Disaster

Mayor R. B. Mason declares martial law after the Great Chicago Fire, 1871.

Covered Area: Chicago, Illinois
State or Federal: State 
Dura­tion: Octo­ber 11, 1871 – Octo­ber 23, 1871 (13 days)

Precip­it­at­ing Event: Great Chicago Fire

Declar­ing Author­ity: Mayor R. B. Mason
Termin­at­ing Author­ity: See notes

Relev­ant Pres­id­en­tial Proclam­a­tions or Exec­ut­ive Orders: None
Civil­ians Tried by Milit­ary Tribunal? No

Notes: Gen. Philip Sheridan reques­ted permis­sion from Mayor Roswell B. Mason to with­draw troops on Octo­ber 23rd, and did so on Octo­ber 24th.


Mayor Walter C. Jones declares martial law after the Great Galve­ston hurricane, 1900.

Covered Area: Galve­ston, Texas
State or Federal: State 
Dura­tion: Septem­ber 11, 1900 – Septem­ber 21, 1900 (8–9 days)

Precip­it­at­ing Event: Great Galve­ston hurricane

Declar­ing Author­ity: Mayor Walter C. Jones
Termin­at­ing Author­ity: Mayor Walter C. Jones

Relev­ant Pres­id­en­tial Proclam­a­tions or Exec­ut­ive Orders: None
Civil­ians Tried by Milit­ary Tribunal? Yes

Related Litig­a­tion: 43 African Amer­ic­ans tried by court martial, convicted, and ordered shot


Flor­ida Gov. W. S. Jennings declares martial law in Jack­son­ville after the Great Fire of 1901.

Covered Area: Jack­son­ville, Flor­ida
State or Federal: State 
Dura­tion: May 5, 1901 – May 16, 1901 (14 days)

Precip­it­at­ing Event: Great Fire of 1901

Declar­ing Author­ity: Gov. W. S. Jennings
Termin­at­ing Author­ity: Unclear

Relev­ant Pres­id­en­tial Proclam­a­tions or Exec­ut­ive Orders: None
Civil­ians Tried by Milit­ary Tribunal? Unclear


Gen. George H. Wood declares martial law after the Great Dayton Flood, 1913.

Covered Area: Dayton, Ohio
State or Federal: State 
Dura­tion: March 27, 1913 – May 6, 1913 (1 month)

Precip­it­at­ing Event: Great Fire of 1901

Declar­ing Author­ity: Brig. Gen. George H. Wood
Termin­at­ing Author­ity: Gov. James M. Cox

Relev­ant Pres­id­en­tial Proclam­a­tions or Exec­ut­ive Orders: None
Civil­ians Tried by Milit­ary Tribunal? No

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Other

Congress imposes martial law on the former Confed­er­acy as part of Radical Recon­struc­tion, 1867.

Covered Area: States of the former Confed­er­acy, except Tennessee
State or Federal: Federal 
Dura­tion: March 2, 1867 – July 15, 1870 (3 years, 4 months)

Precip­it­at­ing Event: Radical Recon­struc­tion

Declar­ing Author­ity: 40th Congress
Termin­at­ing Author­ity: See notes

Relev­ant Pres­id­en­tial Proclam­a­tions or Exec­ut­ive Orders: None
Civil­ians Tried by Milit­ary Tribunal? Yes

Related Litig­a­tion: Ex parte McCardle, 74 U.S. (7 Wall.) 506 (1869)

Notes: In 1867, Congress placed the states of the former Confed­er­acy — except Tennessee, which had already been read­mit­ted to the Union — under milit­ary rule until they fulfilled the require­ments to be read­mit­ted to the Union. Geor­gia was the last state to be read­mit­ted, in 1870.


Oklahoma Gov. John C. Walton declares martial law while chal­len­ging Ku Klux Klan activ­ity and resist­ing a KKK-led impeach­ment, 1923.

Covered Area: Oklahoma
State or Federal: State 
Dura­tion: Septem­ber 16, 1923 (June 26, 1923 in Okmul­gee County; August 14, 1923 in Tulsa) – Unclear

Precip­it­at­ing Event: Chal­len­ging Ku Klux Klan activ­ity in Oklahoma and resist­ing KKK-led impeach­ment

Declar­ing Author­ity: Gov. John C. Walton
Termin­at­ing Author­ity: Gov. John C. Walton

Relev­ant Pres­id­en­tial Proclam­a­tions or Exec­ut­ive Orders: None
Civil­ians Tried by Milit­ary Tribunal? Yes

Related Litig­a­tion: Sanford v. Markham, 1923 OK 1095 (Okla. 1923)


Oklahoma Gov. William “Alfalfa Bill” Murray declares martial law during the Red River Bridge War, 1931.

Covered Area: A section of Oklaho­ma’s border with Texas
State or Federal: State 
Dura­tion: July 24, 1931 – August 6, 1931 (13 days)

Precip­it­at­ing Event: Red River Bridge War

Declar­ing Author­ity: Gov. William “Alfalfa Bill” Murray
Termin­at­ing Author­ity: Gov. William “Alfalfa Bill” Murray

Relev­ant Pres­id­en­tial Proclam­a­tions or Exec­ut­ive Orders: None
Civil­ians Tried by Milit­ary Tribunal? No

Notes: Governor Murray is said to have declared martial law more than 30 times during his tenure as governor. Only the six declar­a­tions listed in this docu­ment could be inde­pend­ently confirmed.


Oklahoma Gov. William “Alfalfa Bill” Murray declares martial law during a nonvi­ol­ent dispute between the state govern­ment and oil produ­cers over oil produc­tion limits, 1931.

Covered Area: Oklahoma oil fields
State or Federal: State 
Dura­tion: August 4, 1931 – Octo­ber 10, 1931 (2 months)

Precip­it­at­ing Event: Nonvi­ol­ent dispute between state govern­ment and oil produ­cers over oil produc­tion limits

Declar­ing Author­ity: Gov. William “Alfalfa Bill” Murray
Termin­at­ing Author­ity: Gov. William “Alfalfa Bill” Murray

Relev­ant Pres­id­en­tial Proclam­a­tions or Exec­ut­ive Orders: None
Civil­ians Tried by Milit­ary Tribunal? No

Related Litig­a­tion: Russel Petro­leum Co. v. Walker, 162 Okla. 216 (Okla. 1933); Champ­lin Refin­ing Co. v. Corpor­a­tion Com’n of State of Okla., et al., 286 U.S. 210 (1932)


Texas Gov. R. S. Ster­ling declares martial law during a dispute over oil produc­tion limits between the state govern­ment and the federal courts, 1931.

Covered Area: Several counties in Texas
State or Federal: State 
Dura­tion: August 17, 1931 – Decem­ber 12, 1932 (15 months, 26 days)

Precip­it­at­ing Event: Nonvi­ol­ent dispute over oil produc­tion limits between state govern­ment and both oil produ­cers and the federal courts

Declar­ing Author­ity: Gov. R. S. Ster­ling
Termin­at­ing Author­ity: U.S. Supreme Court (de facto)

Relev­ant Pres­id­en­tial Proclam­a­tions or Exec­ut­ive Orders: None
Civil­ians Tried by Milit­ary Tribunal? No

Related Litig­a­tion: Ster­ling v. Constantin, 287 U.S. 378 (1932)

Notes: In Ster­ling, the Supreme Court enjoined Texas from using martial law, milit­ary force, or any other means to enforce the oil produc­tion regu­la­tion at the center of the dispute. However, the Court did not form­ally inval­id­ate the governor’s declar­a­tion of martial law.


Oklahoma Gov. William “Alfalfa Bill” Murray declares martial law during a nonvi­ol­ent dispute between the state govern­ment and oil produ­cers over oil produc­tion limits, May 1932.

Covered Area: Oklahoma oil fields
State or Federal: State 
Dura­tion: May 26, 1932 – Unclear

Precip­it­at­ing Event: Nonvi­ol­ent dispute between state govern­ment and oil produ­cers over oil produc­tion limits

Declar­ing Author­ity: Gov. William “Alfalfa Bill” Murray
Termin­at­ing Author­ity: Unclear

Relev­ant Pres­id­en­tial Proclam­a­tions or Exec­ut­ive Orders: None
Civil­ians Tried by Milit­ary Tribunal? Unclear


Oklahoma Gov. William “Alfalfa Bill” Murray declares martial law during a nonvi­ol­ent dispute between the state govern­ment and oil produ­cers over oil produc­tion limits, June 1932.

Covered Area: Oklahoma oil fields
State or Federal: State 
Dura­tion: June 21, 1932 – Unclear

Precip­it­at­ing Event: Nonvi­ol­ent dispute between state govern­ment and oil produ­cers over oil produc­tion limits

Declar­ing Author­ity: Gov. William “Alfalfa Bill” Murray
Termin­at­ing Author­ity: Unclear

Relev­ant Pres­id­en­tial Proclam­a­tions or Exec­ut­ive Orders: None
Civil­ians Tried by Milit­ary Tribunal? Unclear


Oklahoma Gov. William “Alfalfa Bill” Murray declares martial law during a nonvi­ol­ent dispute between the state govern­ment and oil produ­cers over oil produc­tion limits, 1933.

Covered Area: Oklahoma oil fields
State or Federal: State 
Dura­tion: March 4, 1933 – April 10, 1933 (37 days)

Precip­it­at­ing Event: Nonvi­ol­ent dispute between state govern­ment and oil produ­cers over oil produc­tion limits

Declar­ing Author­ity: Gov. William “Alfalfa Bill” Murray
Termin­at­ing Author­ity: Unclear

Relev­ant Pres­id­en­tial Proclam­a­tions or Exec­ut­ive Orders: None
Civil­ians Tried by Milit­ary Tribunal? Unclear


Oklahoma Gov. William “Alfalfa Bill” Murray declares martial law as part of an attempt to force Oklahoma City to create “segreg­a­tion zones,” 1933.

Covered Area: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
State or Federal: State 
Dura­tion: May 1, 1933 – See notes

Precip­it­at­ing Event: Attempt to force Oklahoma City to create “segreg­a­tion zones”

Declar­ing Author­ity: Gov. William “Alfalfa Bill” Murray
Termin­at­ing Author­ity: See notes

Relev­ant Pres­id­en­tial Proclam­a­tions or Exec­ut­ive Orders: None
Civil­ians Tried by Milit­ary Tribunal? Unclear

Related Litig­a­tion: Allen v. Oklahoma City, 175 Okla. 421 (Okla. 1935)

Notes: As the Oklahoma Supreme Court explained in Allen, Governor Murray declared martial law in order to create “segreg­a­tion zones” in Oklahoma City. The dura­tion of his order was such that martial law would expire when the city adop­ted its own “segreg­a­tion ordin­ance.” The court held that both the declar­a­tion of martial law and the segreg­a­tion ordin­ance adop­ted by Oklahoma City were illegal.


Geor­gia Gov. Eugene Talmadge declares martial law as part of his “coup de high­way depart­ment,” 1933.

Covered Area: In and around High­way Board of Geor­gia headquar­ters build­ing
State or Federal: State 
Dura­tion: June 19, 1933 – July 29, 1933 (39 days)

Precip­it­at­ing Event: “Coup de high­way depart­ment” by state governor

Declar­ing Author­ity: Gov. Eugene Talmadge
Termin­at­ing Author­ity: Gov. Eugene Talmadge

Relev­ant Pres­id­en­tial Proclam­a­tions or Exec­ut­ive Orders: None
Civil­ians Tried by Milit­ary Tribunal? No


Arizona Gov. Benjamin Moeur declares martial law in response to a federal effort to prevent construc­tion of the Grand River Dam, 1934.

Covered Area: Area around the Grand River Dam in Arizona
State or Federal: State 
Dura­tion: Novem­ber 10, 1934 – Unclear

Precip­it­at­ing Event: Federal govern­ment effort to prevent construc­tion of Grand River Dam

Declar­ing Author­ity: Gov. Benjamin Moeur
Termin­at­ing Author­ity: Unclear

Relev­ant Pres­id­en­tial Proclam­a­tions or Exec­ut­ive Orders: None
Civil­ians Tried by Milit­ary Tribunal? No

Related Litig­a­tion: United States v. Arizona, 295 U.S. 174 (1935)


Oklahoma Gov. E. W. Marland declares martial law during a dispute over drilling for oil on the grounds of the state capitol build­ing, 1936.

Covered Area: Around the state capitol build­ing in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
State or Federal: State 
Dura­tion: Early April 1936 – Unclear

Precip­it­at­ing Event: Dispute over drilling for oil on the grounds of the Oklahoma state capitol build­ing

Declar­ing Author­ity: Gov. E. W. Marland
Termin­at­ing Author­ity: Unclear

Relev­ant Pres­id­en­tial Proclam­a­tions or Exec­ut­ive Orders: None
Civil­ians Tried by Milit­ary Tribunal? No


Rhode Island Gov. Emmitt Quinn declares martial law in Pawtucket during a dispute over the oper­a­tion of race tracks, 1937.

Covered Area: Area around Narragansett Park in Pawtucket, Rhode Island
State or Federal: State 
Dura­tion: Octo­ber 17, 1937 – Unclear

Precip­it­at­ing Event: Dispute over oper­a­tion of race tracks

Declar­ing Author­ity: Gov. Emmitt Quinn
Termin­at­ing Author­ity: Unclear

Relev­ant Pres­id­en­tial Proclam­a­tions or Exec­ut­ive Orders: None
Civil­ians Tried by Milit­ary Tribunal? No

Related Litig­a­tion: Narragansett Racing Ass’n v. Kiernan, 59 R.I. 79 (R.I. 1937); Narragansett Racing Ass’n v. Kiernan, 59 R.I. 90 (R.I. 1937)


Geor­gia Gov. E. D. Rivers declares martial law as part of his attemp­ted “coup de high­way depart­ment,” 1939.

Covered Area: In and around High­way Board of Geor­gia headquar­ters build­ing
State or Federal: State 
Dura­tion: Decem­ber 18, 1939 – See notes

Precip­it­at­ing Event: Attemp­ted “coup de high­way depart­ment” by state governor

Declar­ing Author­ity: Gov. E. D. Rivers
Termin­at­ing Author­ity: See notes

Relev­ant Pres­id­en­tial Proclam­a­tions or Exec­ut­ive Orders: None
Civil­ians Tried by Milit­ary Tribunal? No

Related Litig­a­tion: Miller v. Rivers, 31 F. Supp. 540 (M.D. Ga. 1940), rev’d as moot, 112 F.2d 439 (5th Cir. 1940); Patten v. Miller, 190 Ga. 123 (Ga. 1940); Patten v. Miller, 190 Ga. 105 (Ga. 1940); Patten v. Miller, 190 Ga. 152 (Ga. 1940)

Notes: Governor River­s’s impos­i­tion of martial law was the subject of extens­ive litig­a­tion. It was enjoined by both state and federal courts, but Rivers did not concede defeat until the Geor­gia Supreme Court ruled against him on April 10, 1940. It is unclear if or when he form­ally rescin­ded the declar­a­tion of martial law.


Oklahoma Gov. Leon C. Phil­lips declares martial law in an effort to prevent the comple­tion and oper­a­tion of the Grand River Dam, 1940.

Covered Area: Area around the Grand River Dam in Oklahoma
State or Federal: State 
Dura­tion: March 13, 1940 – Febru­ary 21, 1941 (11 months)

Precip­it­at­ing Event: Effort to prevent comple­tion and oper­a­tion of Grand River Dam

Declar­ing Author­ity: Gov. Leon C. Phil­lips
Termin­at­ing Author­ity: Gov. Leon C. Phil­lips

Relev­ant Pres­id­en­tial Proclam­a­tions or Exec­ut­ive Orders: None
Civil­ians Tried by Milit­ary Tribunal? No

Related Litig­a­tion: “United States v. Phil­lips, 33 F. Supp. 261 (N.D. Okla. 1940), vacated on other grounds, 312 U.S. 246 (1941). State of Okla. v. United States, 173 F. Supp. 349, 350 (Ct. Cl. 1959) (describ­ing events after Supreme Court ruling).”

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