From The Abolitionist Imagination by Andrew Delbanco:
Would we have regarded the firing on Fort Sumter as the abolitionists did—as a welcome provocation to take up arms against an expansionist power? Or would we have regarded it as a pretext for waging war, akin to that notorious event in every baby boomer’s memory, the Gulf of Tonkin incident? If we could have known in advance the scale of the ensuing carnage, would we have sided with those who considered any price worth paying to bring an end to slavery? Or would we have voted for patience, persuasion, diplomacy, perhaps economic sanctions—the alternatives to war that most liberal-minded people prefer today in the face of manifest evil in faraway lands?