We often hear how Southerners promoted "Lost Cause mythology" after the war in defending their history (which all Nations involved in war do to one extent or another). But how often do we hear those same critics discuss "Holy Cause mythology" and how many Northerners embellished Lincoln's record and glorified his persona in defense of their history. The correct answer would be "not very often"; though we're beginning to see it more.
Case in point: a watch that belonged to the 16th President was in the hands of a watchmaker when Fort Sumter was fired upon. The watchmaker marked the historic event by secretly inscribing something on the inside of the watch. After Lincoln was assassinated, he told family and friends that he had inscribed the following words:
"The first gun is fired. Slavery is dead. Thank God we have a president who at least will try."
Recently, the watchmaker's descendant had the watch opened to see if this was truth or legend and it was then revealed that the watchmaker had actually written the following:
"Jonathan Dillon April 13-1861. Fort Sumpter [sic] was attacked by the rebels on the above date thank God we have a government." He added 'Washington' and his name again."
No reference whatsoever to the watch's owner (Lincoln). No reference whatsoever to what Lincoln ostensibly went to war over - slavery. Only thankfulness for the "government" or, by reference, "the Union", which is what Lincoln actually fought for. Also, by mentioning "Washington" was the watchmaker tying the cause to the "untarnished greatness" of our Nation's first president? The evidence suggests the watchmaker had embellished the story after the war was over which, I believe, illustrates that many Northerners wanted to change the focus from "saving the Union" to "freeing the slaves."