I don’t want to cause Ron Paul any extra grief, but I would note that Ron Paul stated his opposition to Lincoln and the War on national television just a few weeks ago and gave a reasonable answer when he was asked about this.  Among other things, he said:

How much would that cost compared to killing 600,000 Americans and where it lingered for 100 years?  I mean, the hatred and all that existed.  So every other major country in the world got rid of slavery without a civil war. 

Those who would like to defend the Unionist cause should ask themselves: “Is there any other conflict where I would view the invading, aggressive party driven by ideology and, among a few, religious fanaticism as the obviously right side?”  The story of the War is that it was tragic, in that it was between two flawed peoples (as all peoples are more or less flawed) who warred against one another to the ultimate detriment of both.  Moreover, unlike in classical tragedies where the hero is destined to suffer, that conflict was avoidable. 

Nowadays, it is possible for some modern historians to see the massacres in the Vendee as a French-on-French ideological “genocide” of sorts, but it seems that we are still a surprisingly long way from coming to terms with our destructive revolutionary experience in the mid-19th century.