Originally Posted by frazod
The industrial revolution would have ended slavery just as certainly as the war did, only without half a million casualties.
That is a gross oversimplification:
1) War had become an inevitability. It was an issue that was punted on for years by Fillmore, Pierce, and Buchanan. In a very inept manner that pitted the South against the Union. The Confederacy rebellion had been brewing and likely was inevitable, unless the Union granted major concessions that we would to this day, very much regret. Conflict was inevitable. And the Union had to balance out resisting conflict vs. squashing it -- being weak and sitting back and doing nothing was NOT an option. Lincoln chose to squash it once and for all. Devastating, but think about the implications of if he would have lost.
2) The industrial revolution argument is one that is nice in theory, but it isn't backed by scholars. There is no proof that the southern cotton trade was declining anytime soon, in fact scholars believe the trade was growing and likely would have continued on for years. The Civil War accelerated the path to phasing out slavery, it eliminated outright the disgusting practice of slavery, and allowed America to accelerate the path to a unified nation
3) Lives were lost during the Civil War. But how many years of continued conflict and rebellion, especially between an industrial north and an agrarian south, both of whom relied heavily on each other and needed each other for trade... how many lives would we have lost?
4) Let's not rule out that punting on this issue wouldn't have led to an eventual rebellion. Especially as an agrarian south that was losing money from an increasingly less profitable slave trade wanted more.
The idea that the industrial revolution would have ended the civil war is based on pie-in-the-sky logic. We lost lives. But look at the benefits. It also saved the lives of slaves from maybe 20+ years of the continued practice of abuse and slavery. It kept the south from seceding from the union. It forced the north and south to learn to work together, which was incredibly important as the north began to industrialize while the south had superior agrarian resources. And it also kept us from 20 or so years of heated border tensions between the two regions. It arguably helped us accelerate expansion of the US as well as accelerate our industrial strength.
So no, I do not believe Lincoln did "terrible things" nor do I believe there was any other option but to go to war with the objective of creating a non-slave union.