why did Lincoln decide to war with the South in April of 1861 with only the information available at the time.
I think this is where a lot of the disconnect is deriving from.
The question was not “did Lincoln make the right decision” or “was he motivated by altruism” or “was he consistent in every action he took.”
The question was “why did Lincoln decide to war with the south.”
If you think Lincoln was picking and choosing what parts of the constitution to follow, that’s your prerogative, but it doesn’t answer or help to answer the original question. If you think Lincoln was acting like a hypocrite, that’s your prerogative, but it doesn’t answer the question.
Lincoln told us why he went to war. His speeches and actions across his life are consistent in showing a belief in the importance of preserving the Union and the existential threat that secession posed. YOU may think peaceful and limited secession was possible, but Lincoln clearly didn’t. Whatever concerns Lincoln had about the economic consequences of secession paled in comparison to his stated concerns as to the existential threat of secession.
And his actions support this conclusion, such as his countermanding of early emancipation efforts by generals for fear of provoking border states to secede.
If you want this thread to shift into an analysis of the justness of Lincoln’s behavior, then that’s a conversation we can have. If you want it to shift to an analysis of the decisions he made, then that’s a conversation we can have.
But in 38 pages of debate there has not been any conclusive evidence that Lincoln went to war for economic reasons. There has been plenty of analysis as to the potential economic damage of secession, but no clear lines have been drawn between those numbers and Lincoln’s actions.
Lincoln’s concern about collecting the revenue was understood then and now as a worry about the legal consequences of permitting South Carolina to ignore federal law.
I will cite again the words of Louis Wigfall, who certainly had no desire to defend Lincoln, as to such from a speech on March 7, 1861
(page 332 https://digitalcommons.lsu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=3871&context=gradschool_disstheses)
"Why sir, if the President of the United States were to send a fleet to Liverpool and attempt there to enforce the laws of the United States and that fleet were fired at, would anybody say that the British Government was responsible for the blood that might follow?"
Enforce the laws of the United States in a foreign country. That was the issue at stake. Lincoln is sending a fleet to Charleston to "enforce the laws of the United States." Collecting revenue means enforcing the laws.
Even the most virulent secessionists understood this.