Sometimes I actually get angry when I'm taking about Lincoln and his history because what I found is that he's really been minimized. He's been sort of cheated by history in a way. He's a greater man than we sometimes try to make him. There's a grotesque kind of irony to it too. The man who freed the slaves, the man who brought equality to millions who'd been in bondage is rewritten by history falsely as the man who only wanted to save the union. Almost any high school text book you pick up will have maybe a few quotes. But if there's only one quote of Lincoln's it will be the quote and I don't remember the exact wording but you're familiar I would free all the slaves to end the war, I would free none of the slaves to -- or I would free some and leave others slaves and that becomes the defining quote for him and it's grossly misrepresentative. That was not a state of the union address. That was taken from a letter he wrote to a guy. You know, he did. Like the Emancipation Proclamation and it's true that didn't free all the slaves, only those who were living in states that were in rebellion against the Union. For example, slaves in Maryland were still slaves. But it definitely not only started the ball rolling as people will sometimes give him credit for, it very deliberately started a process amongst all the states of rewriting their individual constitutions. But then as soon as he's reelected and in face he's working toward this before reelected he very actively works the political machine, talks to the congressman, co joins, promises things to get the 13th amendment passed. In face he gets Nevada admitted to the union and makes promises to the politicians of that new state. He brings them into the union specifically so they can vote to ratify the 13th amendment. The 13th amendment didn't just happen to follow closely upon the Civil War and Lincoln's death. He worked the political machine to make it happen.
So, to say that Lincoln only wanted to save the Union, to say that he freed the slaves but it was only incidental to saving the Union, ignores his most important contribution: he forced us to live up to those words "All men are created equal." And by doing that, he made this a union worth saving.