You cannot dispute that Lincoln won on an anti-slavery platform. The anti-slavery sentiment in the north was not, by and large, abolitionist, but it was strongly in the majority. After all, that was why Southern secessionists broke away from the Union and created a Confederacy that was, as Alexander Stephens put it, founded on the belief "that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery -- subordination to the superior race -- is his natural and normal condition."
These differences in opinion of the morality of slavery were recognized, by essentially everyone of the time, as the fundamental difference between the sections. Lincoln said so directly in December 1860 to Stephens: "You think slavery is right and ought to be extended; while we think it is wrong and ought to be restricted. That I suppose is the rub. It certainly is the only substantial difference between us."
This differing moral assessment of slavery may have played little role early in the war. But by late 1862, after increasing pressure by northerners--many of whom had been rather conservative in regards to emancipation and race relations in 1861--Lincoln formally made emancipation a military objective, thus officially linking the Union war effort to the freedom of millions of people. There is no doubt that the Emancipation Proclamation was a strategic act, intended to weaken the Confederacy. But there is also no doubt that Lincoln and millions of Americans--white and black--recognized it as a monumental social and moral accomplishment.
Finally, I have no idea what you think your reference to Kentucky and Maryland accomplishes. Most people on this website understand the tenuous position of the border states and how carefully the Lincoln administration attempted to balance their interests and keep them in the Union. Nonetheless, and I assume you would know, Lincoln worked quite hard to encourage these border states to adopt a voluntary and gradual emancipation policy. He advocated a compensated emancipation plan to Congress in December 1861, and again in March 1862. He drafted a bill to emancipate Delaware's slaves and called upon border state leaders to push legislation in their own states. Oh, and he abolished slavery in Washington, D.C., and set the 13th Amendment in motion.
So, while we see a growing abolitionist sentiment, increasingly bold emancipation efforts, and new rights and opportunities for black Americans (such as the enlistment of over 150,000 black troops) in the Union, we also see Lee's Confederate army capturing freed blacks in Pennsylvania and shipping them South, Confederate soldiers executing black Union soldiers in several different instances, and a continued dedication to the institution of slavery in Confederate areas until forcefully ended by U.S. Army units.
A sincere moral comparison of the Union and the Confederacy looks at the comprehensive picture -- not just a surface view of a single moment in early 1861, or so, and calls it even.
President Lincoln won on an anti expansion of slavery platform. That being said, I see nothing you have said that undermines my argument. You speak of the precarious position of Kentucky and Maryland. I can't agree more. If, however, as you suggest it was a moral crusade, alowing them to remain slave states seems to undermine the crusade. I will simply leave it that we will not come to an agreement on this issue and leave it at that.