Nice essay by the author of Land of Lincoln (and Weekly Standard editor) in First Things magazine. Excerpts:
Ferguson on Lincoln’s view of the Civil War: "This is no ordinary war, because this is no ordinary country."
"At Gettysburg, Lincoln explained why the country—the Union—was worth preserving. It was not any Union that was being preserved, it was a particular kind of Union: a Union dedicated to a timeless proposition that existed before the Union was even conceived."
"The war would determine whether such a proposition could be safely entrusted to human institutions."
The country, Lincoln believed, is the carrier of a precious cargo, a proposition that is the timeless human truth, and the survival of this principle will always be of providential importance. We assent to Lincoln’s creed, wide open as it is, when we think of ourselves as Americans."