“Of all the enemies of public liberty, war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it compromises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies, from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few . . . No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.” James Madison, 1795.
War and Change
“The North’s defeat of the American South’s bid for independence decisively settled the question of whether or not the 1789 agreement between the States was dissoluble. By confirming the permanence and supremacy of federal power, the war had shifted the basis of national legitimacy at least partly back toward its Hamiltonian and Federalist roots.
The Civil War prefigured not only the massive firepower, extended fronts and complex logistics of World War One, but also the economic mobilization integral to that war. By penetrating the American economy in previously untried ways, Lincoln significantly altered the relationship between the economy and his government. Prior to 1861, the federal government had been a minor purchaser in the American economy; during the war it had become the largest single purchaser and a catalyst of rapid growth in key industries such as iron, textiles, shoes, and meat packing.
The war also spawned a revolution in taxation that permanently altered the structure of American federalism. Prior to war over 80 percent of federal revenue had come from customs duties, which of course could not sustain Lincoln’s war economy. In early August 1861 the first income tax appeared, soon followed by the Internal Revenue Act of 1862 which levied many taxes on stamps, luxuries, inheritance, and manufactured goods.
Beyond taxation the northern public experienced federal intrusion such as Lincoln’s arbitrary suspension of habeas corpus resulting in thousands of arrests without judicial process. Anyone could be arrested or detained simply for suspicion of “disloyal practice” with trial before military commissions. Lincoln’s imposition of national conscription, which even Horace Greeley decried as slavery, ignited the largest civil insurrection in American history. The riots and violence in northern cities had to be suppressed with military units pulled from the front lines.”
With the South’s independence crushed, the Radical Republicans began remaking the South in the image of the North as Congress imposed military rule on the South And mandated a rewriting of State constitutions on northern models. The Radicals main agents of change were the coercive arms of the Freedmen’s Bureau – to ensure freedmen did not align with their former owners – and the US Army. The seemingly peaceful Union League, a postwar political arm of the Republican party in the South, politicized the freedmen against their white neighbors, and in the process created the Ku Klux Klan.
In the early 1870s, two former Confederate generals testified before Congress that if the Union League were disbanded, the Klan would disappear.
(War and the Rise of the State, Bruce D. Porter. The Free Press, 1994. pp. 258-263)