Perhaps the most tragic thing about the Civil War is that it could have been avoided, and avoided in a way that would have accelerated slavery's demise. Even some ardently pro-Lincoln scholars have acknowledged that Lincoln and Congressional Republicans sabotaged the Crittenden Compromise, even though the proposal was clearly supported by a strong majority of the people. In fact, the Republicans even blocked an attempt to put the Crittenden Compromise to a nationwide popular vote in a national referendum. Considering that Lincoln got elected with less than 40% of the popular vote, his decision to block the Crittenden Compromise was undemocratic and autocratic. The Crittenden Compromise would have banned slavery from 75% of the western territories, would have significantly improved the fugitive slave legal process in the slaves' favor, would have set up a sort of de facto compensated emancipation system for some/many runaway slaves, and would have given Southern slavery the same protection that Lincoln was willing to give it in the Corwin Amendment. If the Republicans had at least allowed a nationwide referendum on the Crittenden Compromise, it would have won overwhelmingly and the momentum for compromise would have gained enormous steam. Lincoln defenders fault Southern leaders for calling for secession "just because they lost an election." True, but they rarely consider the fact that Lincoln won with less than 40% of the vote. How do you suppose Northern leaders would have felt if Breckenridge had won with less than 40% of the vote?