Emancipation of the slaves: maybe the greatest thing that ever happened in the US. What about the 600,000 dead in the war? That was fully 2% of the entire population of the country at the time. By comparison, 2% of today's population would be over 6 million, or more than 2,000 9/11s. Lincoln would look better if the war had been prosecuted with the express purpose of ending slavery, but it was not. It was prosecuted to maintain northern hegemony over southern states which seceded. Along the way, Lincoln trashed the Bill of Rights in the North, and introduced America to the draft, the income tax, and federal fiat money. Lincoln himself made it clear that if he could have "saved the union" by not freeing the slaves, he would not have.