Lincoln never let the world forget that the Civil War involved an even larger issue. This he stated most movingly in dedicating the military cemetery at Gettysburg: "that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain--that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom--and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
It's an unfortunate trend that seems to be happening today... Government is for the people, primarily. "What will the government do for me?" asks the liberal voter. The conservative voter of today seems to say "by those people."
To get all of this back on track, what we need is to recall that WE are the people. You, me, your neighbor. We the people stand and serve, and decide what is the correct cause to promote and bill to pass and budget to meet. We are responsible to not only learn, but to vote, and even to run for elected office ourselves.
The problems we face today will not be solved by continuing to sit on our laurels and watch others squander the capital won over such a long time by so many that have come before us.