Professor Tibor Machan, in his “Lincoln, Secession and Slavery” (6/1/02) has taken the position that while secession in and of itself is unobjectionable to the libertarian, it cannot properly be applied to political jurisdictions which practice slavery. For, if secession rights were allowed to slave owning countries, it would in effect be to justify kidnappers absconding with their victims. He applies this perspective to the United States, circa 1861, and concludes that Abraham Lincoln, for whatever his faults, and Machan concedes they were many and serious, is still “a good American.” Why? This is because he was justified in stopping the Confederate (slave) States from seceding, even though, Machan again stipulates, stopping slavery was no part of Lincoln’s motivation.
A Libertarian Theory of Secession and Slavery8 12 2006