Lincoln Creates the First Surveillance State...

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5fish

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Honest Abe Lincoln was the first to create, the surveillance state. He authorized Sec. of war, Edwin Stanton with sweeping powers...

Snippet...

In 1862, after President Abraham Lincoln appointed him secretary of war, Edwin M. Stanton penned a letter to the president requesting sweeping powers, which would include total control of the telegraph lines. By rerouting those lines through his office, Stanton would keep tabs on vast amounts of communication, journalistic, governmental and personal. On the back of Stanton’s letter Lincoln scribbled his approval: “The Secretary of War has my authority to exercise his discretion in the matter within mentioned.”

Snippet...

I came across this letter in the 1990s in the Library of Congress while researching Stanton’s wartime efforts to control the press, which included censorship, intimidation and extrajudicial arrests of reporters. On the same day he received control of the telegraphs, Stanton put an assistant secretary in charge of two areas: press relations and the newly formed secret police. Stanton ultimately had dozens of newspapermen arrested on questionable charges. Within Stanton’s first month in office, a reporter for The New York Herald, who had insisted that he be given news ahead of other reporters, was arrested as a spy.

Snippet...

Having the telegraph lines running through Stanton’s office made his department the nexus of war information; Lincoln visited regularly to get the latest on the war. Stanton collected news from generals, telegraph operators and reporters. He had a journalist’s love of breaking the story and an autocrat’s obsession with information control. He used his power over the telegraphs to influence what journalists did or didn’t publish. In 1862, the House Judiciary Committee took up the question of “telegraphic censorship” and called for restraint on the part of the administration’s censors.

Snippet... Does war justify the creation of the surveillance state?

When I first read Stanton’s requests to Lincoln asking for broad powers, I accepted his information control as a necessary evil. Lincoln was fighting for a cause of the utmost importance in the face of enormous challenges. The benefits of information monitoring, censorship and extrajudicial tactics, though disturbing, were arguably worth their price.

Here is the link to the article: https://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/06/opinion/lincolns-surveillance-state.ht

Here is another look, start on page 10 and read the evils of Lincoln on liberty...

Link: https://books.google.com/books?id=X1m-FL7nyo8C&pg=PA10&lpg=PA10&dq=Edwin+Stanton+surveillance+network&source=bl&ots=x8-5abeCi2&sig=ACfU3U2KiCjH2CdCwj7IkbmpQSdxPB4IZg&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiT0Yqq4Z7jAhXXX80KHd5uAEk4ChDoATABegQICBAB#v=onepage&q=Edwin Stanton surveillance network&f=false
 

5fish

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I found this book about how Lincoln used the telegraph to win the war with T-mails... I doubt there is anything about surveillance and wiretaps...

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000MAH786/?tag=civilwartalkc-20

1562363734903.png


Summary:

The Civil War was the first "modern war." Because of the rapid changes in American society, Abraham Lincoln became president of a divided United States during a period of technological and social revolution. Among the many modern marvels that gave the North an advantage was the telegraph, which Lincoln used to stay connected to the forces in the field in almost real time.

No leader in history had ever possessed such a powerful tool to gain control over a fractious situation. An eager student of technology, Lincoln (the only president to hold a patent) had to learn to use the power of electronic messages. Without precedent to guide him, Lincoln began by reading the telegraph traffic among his generals. Then he used the telegraph to supplement his preferred form of communication—meetings and letters. He did not replace those face-to-face interactions. Through this experience, Lincoln crafted the best way to guide, reprimand, praise, reward, and encourage his commanders in the field.

Mr. Lincoln's T-Mails tells a big story within a small compass. By paying close attention to Lincoln's "lightning messages," we see a great leader adapt to a new medium. No reader of this work of history will be able to miss the contemporary parallels. Watching Lincoln carefully word his messages—and follow up on those words with the right actions—offers a striking example for those who spend their days tapping out notes on computers and BlackBerrys.

An elegant work of history, Mr. Lincoln's T-Mails is an instructive example of timeless leadership lessons
 

unionblue

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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Honest Abe Lincoln was the first to create, the surveillance state. He authorized Sec. of war, Edwin Stanton with sweeping powers...

Snippet...

In 1862, after President Abraham Lincoln appointed him secretary of war, Edwin M. Stanton penned a letter to the president requesting sweeping powers, which would include total control of the telegraph lines. By rerouting those lines through his office, Stanton would keep tabs on vast amounts of communication, journalistic, governmental and personal. On the back of Stanton’s letter Lincoln scribbled his approval: “The Secretary of War has my authority to exercise his discretion in the matter within mentioned.”

Snippet...

I came across this letter in the 1990s in the Library of Congress while researching Stanton’s wartime efforts to control the press, which included censorship, intimidation and extrajudicial arrests of reporters. On the same day he received control of the telegraphs, Stanton put an assistant secretary in charge of two areas: press relations and the newly formed secret police. Stanton ultimately had dozens of newspapermen arrested on questionable charges. Within Stanton’s first month in office, a reporter for The New York Herald, who had insisted that he be given news ahead of other reporters, was arrested as a spy.

Snippet...

Having the telegraph lines running through Stanton’s office made his department the nexus of war information; Lincoln visited regularly to get the latest on the war. Stanton collected news from generals, telegraph operators and reporters. He had a journalist’s love of breaking the story and an autocrat’s obsession with information control. He used his power over the telegraphs to influence what journalists did or didn’t publish. In 1862, the House Judiciary Committee took up the question of “telegraphic censorship” and called for restraint on the part of the administration’s censors.

Snippet... Does war justify the creation of the surveillance state?

When I first read Stanton’s requests to Lincoln asking for broad powers, I accepted his information control as a necessary evil. Lincoln was fighting for a cause of the utmost importance in the face of enormous challenges. The benefits of information monitoring, censorship and extrajudicial tactics, though disturbing, were arguably worth their price.

Here is the link to the article: https://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/06/opinion/lincolns-surveillance-state.ht

Here is another look, start on page 10 and read the evils of Lincoln on liberty...

Link: https://books.google.com/books?id=X1m-FL7nyo8C&pg=PA10&lpg=PA10&dq=Edwin+Stanton+surveillance+network&source=bl&ots=x8-5abeCi2&sig=ACfU3U2KiCjH2CdCwj7IkbmpQSdxPB4IZg&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiT0Yqq4Z7jAhXXX80KHd5uAEk4ChDoATABegQICBAB#v=onepage&q=Edwin Stanton surveillance network&f=false
Neither of the two links work for me.
 
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unionblue

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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I found this book about how Lincoln used the telegraph to win the war with T-mails... I doubt there is anything about surveillance and wiretaps...

https://www.amazon.com/Mr-Lincolns-T-Mails-Abraham-Telegraph-ebook/dp/B000MAH786/ref=sr_1_fkmr1_1?keywords=President+Lincoln's+wire+taps&qid=1562363301&s=books&sr=1-1-fkmr1

View attachment 314785

Summary:

The Civil War was the first "modern war." Because of the rapid changes in American society, Abraham Lincoln became president of a divided United States during a period of technological and social revolution. Among the many modern marvels that gave the North an advantage was the telegraph, which Lincoln used to stay connected to the forces in the field in almost real time.

No leader in history had ever possessed such a powerful tool to gain control over a fractious situation. An eager student of technology, Lincoln (the only president to hold a patent) had to learn to use the power of electronic messages. Without precedent to guide him, Lincoln began by reading the telegraph traffic among his generals. Then he used the telegraph to supplement his preferred form of communication—meetings and letters. He did not replace those face-to-face interactions. Through this experience, Lincoln crafted the best way to guide, reprimand, praise, reward, and encourage his commanders in the field.

Mr. Lincoln's T-Mails tells a big story within a small compass. By paying close attention to Lincoln's "lightning messages," we see a great leader adapt to a new medium. No reader of this work of history will be able to miss the contemporary parallels. Watching Lincoln carefully word his messages—and follow up on those words with the right actions—offers a striking example for those who spend their days tapping out notes on computers and BlackBerrys.

An elegant work of history, Mr. Lincoln's T-Mails is an instructive example of timeless leadership lessons
I've read the book and wasn't all that much impressed with it.
 

5fish

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Last edited:

unionblue

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Seduzal

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Never heard about this before. But I did know that Lincoln used the telegraph for the Communication between generals who were directing in regimental movements of battles especially at Gettysburg. Thanks for sharing this awesome article.
 
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5fish

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I found this tidbit of a story... Lincoln's telegrapher... Here is a link with photos' and his whole bio and life... if you into researching your local history this is the story for you...

Link: https://www.green-wood.com/2013/lincolns-telegrapher/

Snippet...

Sue Ramsey was not surprised she had received a Google alert about Green-Wood Cemetery. After all, though Sue lives all the way across the country in California, she has been a huge fan of Green-Wood for years. It is at Green-Wood that the passion of her life, Civil War Captain Samuel Sims, lies. Sue is an avid and unrelenting researcher, and has been working for Green-Wood’s Civil War Project for years now, finding out more and more about its veterans. So, Sue was not surprised when she got a Google alert that there was a story out there in cyberspace about one of Green-Wood’s Civil War veterans. But she was surprised when she read the details.

The subject of her Google alert was two series of columns about Charles Tinker. He had played a rather unusual role in the Civil War. He was not a private or even a general. Rather, he was a telegrapher. If you saw “Lincoln,” you may remember President Abraham Lincoln, in the telegraph office next to the White House, waiting for hours on end for the latest battle news–ever hoping for a victory, even receiving news of defeat. There were 4 men who were trained to receive and transmit military telegraphs, and Charlie was one of them.

tinker.charles1-316x500.jpg

Charles A. Tinker, one of Lincoln's small circle of telegraphers.
Sue, ever the researcher, checked our Civil War Project biographies –and there was indeed one for Charlie Tinker.


But it was rather cursory–missing the historical importance of this man entirely:

TINKER, CHARLES A. (1838-1917). Communications worker. Born in Chelsea, Vermont, Tinker assisted the war effort as a worker for the United States Military Telegraph. He died in Winnipeg, Canada, but last resided in Stamford, Connecticut. Section 165, lot 27130.
 

5fish

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Here some other tidbits and lincoln telegraph... here a link about Lincoln Telegraph office...

https://www.thoughtco.com/abraham-lincoln-and-the-telegraph-1773568

A snippet with Tinker in the story...

One of the men who would serve as a government telegraph operator during the Civil War, Charles Tinker, had done the same job in civilian life at a hotel in Pekin, Illinois. He later recalled that in the spring of 1857 he chanced to meet Lincoln, who was in town on business related to his legal practice.

Tinker recalled that Lincoln had watched him sending messages by tapping the telegraph key and writing down incoming messages he converted from Morse code. Lincoln asked him to explain how the apparatus worked. Tinker recalled going into considerable detail, describing even the batteries and electrical coils as Lincoln listened intently.

Snippet...

Four telegraph operators were recruited for government service in late April 1861, soon after the attack on Fort Sumter. The men had been employees of the Pennsylvania Railroad, and were enlisted because Andrew Carnegie, the future industrialist, was an executive of the railroad who had been pressed into government service and ordered to create a military telegraph network.

One of the young telegraph operators, David Homer Bates, wrote a fascinating memoir, Lincoln In the Telegraph Office, decades later.

Hey, @unionblue here is a readable link to Bates book "Lincoln In the Telegraph Office" from 1907. You may like this one better check it out...

https://archive.org/details/lincolnintelegra00bates/page/n9

Snippet...

For the first year of the Civil War, Lincoln was barely involved with the military's telegraph office. But in the late spring of 1862 he began to use the telegraph to give orders to his officers. The Army of the Potomac was becoming bogged down during General George McClellan's Peninsula Campaign in Virginia, Lincoln's frustration with his commander may have moved him to establish faster communication with the front.

During the summer of 1862 Lincoln took up the habit he followed for the rest of the war: he would often visit the War Department telegraph office, spending long hours sending dispatches and waiting for responses.

Lincoln developed a warm rapport with the young telegraph operators. And he found the telegraph office a useful retreat from the much busier White House. One of his constant complaints about the White House was that job seekers and various political figures wanting favors would descend upon him. In the telegraph office, he could hide away and concentrate on the serious business of conducting the war.

Snippet... or tidbit...

According to David Homer Bates, Lincoln wrote the original draft of the Emancipation Proclamation at a desk in the telegraph office in 1862. The relatively secluded space gave him solitude to gather his thoughts. He would spend entire afternoons drafting one of the most historic documents of his presidency.
 
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5fish

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so Lincoln did everything he could to run a country while suppressing an armed rebellion...duly noted.
So okay to create a Police State and justify under the title of "National Security" ... I basically had to go into Stanton life just to find tidbits of Lincoln's surveillance state...

Lincoln/Stanton all but nationalized the trains and telegraph businesses...

Stanton soon proved that his reputation was right. Within weeks of his appointment, for example, he had secured federal legislation to authorize the president to take control of the nation’s rail and telegraph systems. In theory Lincoln could have nationalized the railroads and telegraphs, seized them from their private owners, and compensated them only after the war’s end.

Instead, Stanton summoned the rail leaders to Washington, told them that he would work with them, but only if they would work closely with the War Department, and charge reasonable (read very low) rates. Stanton moved the Washington hub of the telegraph lines to his own office, so that served as the central command post for Lincoln and Stanton during the war.

Here another mention... aonther source...

https://www.npr.org/2017/08/08/542062280/new-biography-of-lincolns-secretary-of-war-reveals-a-resilient-man-haunted-by-gr

Snippet...

Stanton also weaponized the telegraph and developed a system for sending official messages to a key general in New York as a means of sharing them with the press, thereby informing the public even as he controlled and carefully censored the news the public would receive.

Stanton was also the tip of the spear for policies that angered many at the time and cast a shadow over the Lincoln years even now. These included elements of martial law, the suspension of the right of habeas corpus and the extensive use of military commissions to prosecute civilians.


Another... https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/10/books/review/edwin-stanton-biography-walter-stahr.html

On civil liberties his record is worse. As the war continued, Stanton ordered an ever-increasing number of military trials for civilians and used the broad powers of arrest accorded him by the president to lock up correspondents and editors of the newspapers he was alternately censoring and cultivating. On this matter, as historians generally do with Lincoln, Stahr issues appropriate scoldings while staying aware of the overwhelming circumstances.
 
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Rebforever

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The thing of it, though, the Northern people and the republican party all supported Lincoln's Imperialism which was the first time that had happened in America. Even Lincoln questioned his right to do what he did but did it anyway. That can be found in his July, 1861 speech to Congress.
 
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