Lincoln – the first fascist
In the introduction to Liberal Fascism, Goldberg makes the point that a fascist type of governing got its start right here in the US. He proposes that the Wilson was fascist in deed if not in word. Goldberg describes the Wilsonian administration as having “the first modern propaganda ministry” and in Wilson’s America “political prisoners by the thousands were harassed, beaten, spied upon, and thrown in jail simply for expressing private opinions; the national leader accused foreigners and immigrants of injecting treasonous ‘poison’ into the American bloodstream; newspapers and magazines were shut down for criticizing the government” and the list goes on.
I propose that Goldberg did not go far enough back in history to find his fascist example. I suspect he might have purposefully done so because the Lincoln myth is so strong and Lincoln worship is so prevalent. Wilson is a much easier target.
Regardless, Lincoln used many of the same tactics as Wilson on his fellow countrymen and so deserves the label just as well. You won’t find these facts in your history books because they don’t fit with the accepted myth of Lincoln the Emancipator. Lincoln also had opponents arrested and held indefinitely, he had a congressman deported because he spoke against Lincoln’s income tax, he sent the military into New York City to shut down newspapers and arrest their editors. To curry political favor Lincoln ordered the largest mass execution in US history – 38 Sioux indians were hanged on his order.
The start of the highly centralized federal government that we are struggling against today had its birth in the Lincoln administration. No single event in hour history stripped away the constraints on the federal government like the war between the states did. Lincoln was at the helm of this consolidation of power in Washington. For all of these reasons, Lincoln was the first fascist.