Many people, Yankees and reconstructed Southerners (unfortunately) hail the end of the so-called Civil War (read: War of Northern Aggression, or WNA) and celebrate the re-unification of the (conquered and occupied) Southern States to the Almighty and Everlasting Union of Abraham Lincoln and His Sainted Successors. But who really won?
Did the people, the citizens of the Northern States win? Did the legislatures of the Northern States? Did the hundreds of Northern newspapers that were shut down by "honest" Abe win? What about the many local, State and federal Northern politicians that were arrested and incarcerated, without due process, and one who was expelled from his home State of Ohio to Canada? Did they win?
Short answer: NO!
Remember, the main cause for the South, contrary to what you learned in your school by revisionist Yankee "historians" and government employees, was the idea of the sovereign rights of the States; those rights that were eroding under an increasing power of the central government in DC (which, compared to today, we would consider it freedom, but I digress). These same rights that the Southern States claimed, were also enjoyed by the Northern States because that is what the Constitution guaranteed when it was ratified by the original Thirteen. Once the war broke out in 1861, Lincoln acted extra-constitutionally and started to consolidate the executive's powers and stealing or subverting the power of the congress, setting the standards for all of his successors. Lincoln suspended Habeas Corpus, occupied cities and State houses, shut down dissenting Northern newspapers and arresting his political Northern opponents who disagreed with him and felt that the North should just let the South go their own way and suffer any consequences thereof.
This consolidation of power and corporatism, as the Northern industrialists enjoyed the federal money they got for manufacturing all sorts of weapons for "the cause", stayed on and, of course grew....and continues to grow today. The USA continues to feed the modern industrialists (the military industrial complex) and continues to look for enemies to kill. After the South, DC trained it's eyes on the American Indian tribes. After them, the Spanish and Philippines. Then, WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, the Cold War (spy state war), Grenada, Panama, Gulf I, Gulf II, Global War on Terror (so-called). The US government keeps finding enemies and keeps killing them into submission. This is American Exceptionalism???
So, not only did the South lose the war in 1865, so did the North. The people in those States may have fared better immediately after the cessation of hostilities and "re-unification", but they and their State houses lost their sovereignty and power also. All one has to do is look at federal legislation and federal and Supreme Court decisions over the last 100 years.
God help us all!