Lincoln's actions were illegal and unconstitutional- he suspended habeus corpus, shut down printing presses, and presided over a terror campaign that cost the lives of some 50,000 southern civilians. He kidnapped the Maryland state legislature to avoid a secession vote and used union troops to interfere with lawful elections (in the north) to secure Republican victory. The emancipation proclamation did not free all slaves and wasn't declared until 2 years into the war- then it was declared to garner sympathy from anti-slavery european interests and to aid in a Lincoln's reelection run. He also, as were many people of power at the time, a devout racist that believed in white supremacy.
"I will say, then, that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races ?that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which will ever forbid the two races living together in terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together, there must be the position of superior and inferior. I am as much as any other man in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.?
- Debate with Steven A. Douglas, Oct. 13, 1858