Ken Blackwell and Bob Morrison, both fellows with the Family Research Council, argue that conservatives shouldn’t rush to condemn Lincoln and his war for the Union:
Some folks say the Civil War was not about slavery, but about states’ rights. We strongly support states rights — especially when it comes protecting our essential liberties from the dangers of Obamacare. But in 1861, the secessionists’ new constitution prohibited any free state from joining the Confederacy. It forbade the people of any Confederate state from voluntarily freeing their slaves. And the framers of that constitution even debated — and soundly defeated — a provision that would have allowed states to secede from the Confederacy. Clearly, the war was not about states’ rights.
Some think Abraham Lincoln gave us the Big Government we all deplore today. He did give us the Trans-Continental Railroad, to be sure, but that was privately built and owned. And the Homestead Act turned over millions of acres of public lands to private owners who would farm and improve them. Even the military — which had mushroomed to over a million men in wartime (including some 200,000 free men of color) — quickly shrank after the war. By 1870, it was little larger than before the war.