Here's an interesting essay.
Here's a few passages.
Abraham Lincoln was an extraordinary man with many wonderful qualities. He is greatly admired by many and is generally considered one of America's greatest Presidents. Since the era of the founding fathers, he is certainly one of the most influential Americans. Yet he was President during a brutal Civil War in which an estimated 625,000 Americans died. This is nearly as many as all the Americans who have died in all the other wars of the United States. Although Lincoln was obviously not the only cause of the Civil War, he was probably more responsible for the nature of the war than any other individual.
Lincoln took the strong position, which some would call tyrannical, that states have no right to secede from the Union. He believed it was his obligation as President to enforce the laws that would keep the states in the Union even against their will as expressed by democratic conventions and state legislatures. His policy is ironic and even hypocritical because this position conflicts with Lincoln's own doctrine of the right of revolution that he expressed in Congress on January 12, 1848 during the Mexican War when he said,
Any people anywhere, being inclined and having the power,
have the right to rise up
and shake off the existing government
and form a new one that suits them better.
This is a most valuable-a most sacred right-
a right, which we hope and believe, is to liberate the world.
Nor is this right confined to cases in which
the whole people of an existing government
may choose to exercise it.
Any portion of such people that can, may revolutionize
and make their own so much of the territory as they inhabit.
Early in his presidency Lincoln rejected the option of letting the southern states withdraw peacefully. He took the position that secession is illegal and that the use of force against the Federal Government was rebellion and treason against the United States. He refused to recognize the Confederate States as legal entities and would not let anyone in his administration negotiate with their representatives. He also rejected an offer of mediation by Napoleon III of France. In March 1861 Jefferson Davis sent peace commissioners to Washington with an offer to pay for all Federal property in the South and to take on the southern portion of the national debt. However, Lincoln refused even to acknowledge them, thus blocking any attempt to resolve the conflicts by peaceful means. He took the hard line that the southern states must return to the Union. Unless they did so, or unless he relinquished the forts and tariffs, it became inevitable that the two sides would fight. His position has been compared to that of the British empire, which demanded that their American colonists pay their taxes.