The U.S.Supreme Court, according to the Prize Cases decided on in December 1862,
ruled: "Congress cannot declare war against a state or any number of states
by virtue of any clause in the Constitution. The President has no power to
initiate or declare war against a foreign nation or a domestic state. Several
of these states have combined to form a new Confederacy, claiming to be
acknowledged by the world as a Sovereign state. Their right to do so is
now being decided by wager of Battle."
The Stars and Stripes was the symbol of a regime that made
arbitrary arrests, suspended habeas corpus, and curtailed
freedom of speech,
press, and assembly. The number of political prisoners during the
Civil War era has been estimated to be as high as 38,000. The
Legislature of Maryland was overthrown by Lincoln's military.
The Chicago Times was among hundreds of Northern
newspapers suppressed for expressing "incorrect views."
As late as the middle of 1864, Lincoln was ordering his military
to "arrest and imprison the editors, proprietors and publishers
of the New York World and the New York Journal of Commerce."