Can you imagine an America without the First Amendment?
No freedom of speech. No freedom of the press. If you said or did anything that in any way might be interpreted as criticism of the government or any of its policies, or even if you were suspected of doing so, or even if someone didn't like you and started a rumor that you were critical of the government, you could be immediately thrown in jail and kept there indefinitely. No formal charges need ever be made against you. No writ of habeas corpus, and no right to counsel. No trial. No contact with family, ever. Chances are, your family would never find out where you were, what happened to you, or why you had abandoned them.
That could never happen in the US, could it? That kind of thing happened in Hitler's Germany, Stalin's Russia, and Mussolini's Italy, but not in America. Because we do have the First Amendment, and we do have habeas corpus rights, and the right to a speedy trial, and protection against cruel punishment without due process of law.
But just try to imagine what it would be like if suddenly America had its own Hitler, Stalin, or Mussolini, and America became a police state, with secret police, like the gestapo, and you lived in fear every single day that your neighbor might turn you in for some minor infraction, real or imagined, and that a family member might suddenly disappear, and you would have no way of finding out what happened to them, ever.
Millions of Americans didn't have to imagine such a scenario. They lived it. That's exactly the way things were in the North during Abraham Lincoln's reign of terror. If that's the way Lincoln treated his fellow Yankees, it is little wonder that he turned loose his goons, like Sherman, Sheridan, and Grant, to rip the South apart, and do their level best to exterminate all remnants of Southern culture.
Lincoln was America's Hitler, Stalin, and Mussolini, all rolled into one mad tyrant. Yet we have been taught that he was a saint. We have been lied to all our lives about Lincoln and the Civil War. We worship Lincoln, because we don't know Lincoln. We think we do, because we have been brainwashed into accepting a fictitious Lincoln image that masks his true character and hides what he did to Americans.
Lincoln's Secretary of State, William Seward, established a secret police force, very similar to Hitler's gestapo. They were constantly on the search for anyone who failed to fully embrace Lincoln and his policies. At first, there was a lot of Yankee resistance to Lincoln and his war policies, but Lincoln eliminated all opposition in the North, very much like Hitler, Stalin, and Mussolini did in their countries during WWII. Here are some of the details.
Lincoln, like all dictators, viewed anyone who was suspected of being anything less than enthusiastic about his policies as a suspected traitor. While conducting his military invasion of the South, Lincoln unleashed Seward's gestapo to root out and eliminate all potential adversaries in the North. Once his unconstitutional, illegal, immoral, and unnecessary invasion of the South had begun, he used the war to justify any and all steps he took or might take to win it. That meant completely abandoning the Constitution, including the Bill of Rights, for as long as he felt like being a dictator instead of a president.
The gestapo's first priority was newspapers. Specifically, New York City newspapers, because they dominated the nation's news and views. The New York Tribune (Horace Greely) was in the tank for Lincoln. However, the Journal of Commerce and the New York Daily News were the heart of the opposition, because their articles were picked up by many other newspapers critical of Lincoln.
The Journal, in May 1861, published a list of over 100 Northern newspapers that expressed opposition to Lincoln's war. So, Dictator Lincoln ordered the Postmaster General to stop delivering those newspapers. That put every one of them out of circulation, because they had no other means of delivery. A few buckled under the pressure and promised to stop all criticism of Lincoln. Mail delivery resumed for them.
Gerard Hallock, founder of the Journal, had spent 30 years building his newspaper into one of America's most prominent. His paper had appealed for peace. Nothing treasonous or even in support of secession. Just calls for peace. But that was enough to incur Lincoln's wrath. Hallock was forced to sell his shares of the paper and resign from management of it in order to get mail delivery resumed. The newspaper was censored from then on.
Daily News editor, Ben Wood , didn't give in so easily. He hired private pony express couriers and delivery boys to get his paper delivered. But Wood was a particular pain in the . . . press to Lincoln, because he had called the dictator an unscrupulous Chief magistrate, whose recent message to Congress had been an ocean of falsehood and deceit. Lincoln retaliated by ordering federal marshals to confiscate all copies of the Daily News throughout the Northern states. That forced Wood into bankruptcy.
By Sep 1861, the Union military was censoring all NYC opposition press that hadn't been shut down. Ft Lafayette prison was full of newspaper editors from all over the North and Union-occupied areas of the South. By that time, all newspaper editors had gotten the message, and any of them who were inclined to criticize Lincoln kept their mouths and editorials shut. The North had become a police state. The gestapo conveniently looked the other way as mobs, often consisting of Union soldiers, destroyed newspaper offices and property. One such victim was Washington, DC's Democratic Standard, which had dared editorialize about Union military blunders in the Battle of First Manassas.
The gestapo's work was never done. As the war's fatality toll climbed, the peace movement flared up again, and the gestapo cracked down even harder. Editors were threatened with hanging, they were tarred and feathered, they were intimidated and assaulted, they were arrested, and their newspapers were destroyed. All they had done was advocate ending all bloodshed and working to find a peaceful solution to the crisis. To Lincoln, that was treason. He couldn't be bothered with actually charging them with treason, or any other crime, so he just called in his military goons to solve the problem. Much like Hitler, Stalin, and Mussolini did in WWII.
Learn more about Lincoln and the Civil War here.