It's all relative. What Lincoln brought forth was big government for that time. The fact that comparatively what he proposed and did is small compared to today's federal government doesn't change the fact that Lincoln and the GOP of that time were big government crony capitalists and they were bigots to boot. The slave owners and Confederates should be viewed in the context of the time as well. The states DID have more power then, as the Founders intended. Whether they were "overconfident, abusive and arrogant" is a matter of opinion and philosophy and not a matter of historical fact.