In schools today, if students are even taught history, they are usually taught that Lincoln fought the war with the South to free the slaves. Nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, Lincoln thought slavery was terrible for the Union, however, the War was fought to re-unite the Union. PERIOD.
A “Civil War” is anarchy among the people, for the most part, it is neighbor against neighbor, brother against brother. The War Between the States was started over differing philosophies regarding taxation of goods and states rights. Only two States had philosophical conflict; North Carolina had a large pro-Union segment of their population, predominately in eastern North Carolina. Naturally, to state the obvious, Virginia had a large pro-Union segment of its population in western Virginia, which ultimately became West Virginia.
At the beginning of the War Between the States, Lincoln believed if he could re-unite the Union then he would resolve this volancic issue. Lincoln did not want to allow any new territories to enter the Union as slave States. This was the real problem with Lincoln’s election in the South, they were afraid the delicate balance of power in the Congress would be swayed against the South.
Most Southerns fought the War as they believed the US Constitution gave them the right to withdraw from the Union. Very few of them were slave owners. Did they believe in preserving Slavery, yes, many did but again most believed they had a right to withdrawal from a “Tyrannical Government” who was imposing unusually high tariffs on their cotton, which was becoming very popular with England and France, among other European countries.
In late 1862, as the Union was losing the War, Lincoln offered his famous Emancipation Proclamation. While it has long been reported to have been a turning point, philosophically in the War, it took the “wind” out of many in the Union Army, as they did not believe that they were fighting for any other reason than to re-unite the Union. Neither Lincoln nor most of the northern population at that time, believed that the African-Americans were equals to the whites. Lincoln had in a lot of ways mis-interrupted the Slaves running to the Union seeking freedom. The irony of this Proclamation, Lincoln did not free the slaves in the Union States, only those in the Southern States.