Regarding Lincoln, there seem to be many views on his administration and his policies that are highly biased, in various ways for and against. He seemed to bear no malice toward any party, but he seemed much focused on preserving the Union. Had things been counterfactual, for example New England decides to secede to be rid of slavery; I think Lincoln still would have focused on preserving the Union using similar methods. Per Mr. Lincoln, Union forever!
Regarding secession and Presidential power. Could not the seceding States have refrained from firing a shot and instead embargoed Federal authority and resolutely pursued a separation treaty? Unilateral secession seems a violent and unconstitutional usurpation; unitary contracts cannot just be torn up. Resorting to arms was an unmitigated disaster. A negotiated secession may have been acceptable, after a time, when the alternative was for the North to initiate aggression. For example Texas couldn’t unilaterally join the Union, why could any State leave unilaterally? Why not reverse the accession process for secession? Presidential authority includes the status as Commander in Chief, and enforcer of laws, the first gives him power and the second gives him cause for its use.
I am impressed with Lincoln’s ability to keep focused, aggrandize moral and political authority and to ultimately achieve his goal. I wonder why Jeff Davis is revered since he and his cronies brought down unmitigated catastrophe on his people?
I now understand how one could oppose slavery, support Union, speak out on behalf of both, and yet when it comes to a fight choose ones own people over differentiated ‘others.’