From an interview of Ron Paul by Tim Russert on Meet the Press in December 2007:
Tim Russert: “I was intrigued by your comments about Abe Lincoln. [Mr. Russert reads from the Washington Post] ‘According to Paul, Abe Lincoln should never have gone to war; there were better ways of getting rid of slavery.’”
Ron Paul: “Absolutely. Six hundred thousand Americans died in a senseless civil war. No, he shouldn’t have gone to war. He did this just to enhance and get rid of the original intent of the republic. I mean, it was that iron fist…”
Tim Russert: “We’d still have slavery.”
Ron Paul: “Oh, come on...Slavery was phased out in every other country of the world. And the way I’m advising that it should have been done is do like the British empire did. You buy the slaves and release them. How much would that cost compared to killing 600,000 Americans and where the hatred lingered for 100 years? Every other major country in the world got rid of slavery without a civil war. I mean, that doesn’t sound too radical to me. That sounds like a pretty reasonable approach.”
A bailout of slaveowners would not have accomplished the same thing, and it would obviously have been wrong to reward people who had enslaved others. There is satisfaction to be had in the idea that we will stand up and fight for our highest ideals even when it costs us our lives. An end to the enslavement of other human beings is such an ideal.