A fellow Tennessean over at Tennessee Sons of Liberty e-mailed me a very interesting quote from p. 272 of "The Real Lincoln" by Dr. Thomas Dilorenzo:
"Lincoln's admonition that secession would lead to anarchy and destroy democratic government was pure sophistry. Had the South been permitted to go in peace, as was the wish of the majority of Northern opinion makers before Fort Sumter according to historian Joseph Perkins, democracy would have continued to thrive in two nations. Moreover, the act of secession would have had exactly the effect the founding fathers expected it to have; it would have tempered the imperialistic proclivities of the central state.
"The federal government would have been forced to moderate its high-tariff policies and to slow down or abandon its quest for empire. Commercial relationships with the South would have been continued and expanded. After a number of years, the same reasons that led the colonists to form a Union in the first place would likely have become more appealing to both sections, and the Union would probably have been reunited.
"After that, knowing that secession was a real threat, the federal government would have stuck closer to its constitutional bearings."