With the capture of the Davis, today 19 May, 2015 (when I write this) could be argued to be the 150th anniversary of the official end of the Civil War (although Davis met with the Confederate Cabinet for the last time on May 5 and officially dissolved the Confederate government).
How the Civil War Changed the World, by Don Doyle.
While I think the article is somewhat over blown (and the support of massed 'progressive' forces in the UK and Europe is in dispute), it provides a useful example of looking at events a historical context.
We, for our own reasons, often like to concentrate on the issue of slavery, or of federal state relations, or of separate nationalisms.
But the real issue that the article brings up, was that for many, what was really in play was whether a 'self created' state, and a representative republic was a viable institution for governing.
We forget what the world looked like at that time, hence Doyle's reference to Lincoln's reference to “last best hope of earth,” in his December 1, 1862 message to Congress.
What we might now call anti-democratic forces had been waiting for a rupture in the union. To them it was inevitable. How could a state based on some notion of consent actually work.
History, they argued (with some force) showed that such societies could be torn apart if a disgruntled minority withdrew, rather than attempting to participate.
And they asked how could this state then attempt and justify (as a king or traditional ruling class believe they could) to restrain the dissidents.
Lincoln had to show that a republic created on a voluntary basis could provide government, up to an including force. Which, I believe, is why he said:
I would save the Union. ...If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I wouldThe willingness to view as binding the covenants that were used to create a legitimate state, and enforce them is, in my opinion, the greatest lesson of the Civil War.
do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery...I do because I believe it helps to save the Union
When I look at the feeble responses often provided by those who should defends such legitimacy -- more than the false claims of defending liberty used to attack our state -- I am not sanguine what Doyle refers to as the "trial of democracy".