Yes, the US is a republic. We elect representatives, who may vote according to public will or according to personal "statesmanlike" judgment vs. voting directly on most issues ourselves (The pro-democracy enlightenment thinker Rousseau said that he doubted that democracy could be implemented in countries much larger than Switzerland, where he lived, and [at least many cantons in] Switzerland remained mostly democratic into my own lifetime)
Lincoln didn't free ANY slaves. His Emancipation Proclamation (quoted below) explicitly applied ONLY to areas that didn't acknowledge his authority [he might as well have declared Arab slaves free] and excluded any part of the [self-accepted] US. It didn't outlaw slavery, and by failing to make the slave citizens, rendered them stateless refugees. The Emancipation Proclamation was actually Lincoln claiming martial law (he'd already suspended many Constitutional rights like habeas corpus
) to override Art. 4 Sec. 2 of the US Constitution and Federal Laws like the Fugitive Slave Act.
Historians don't consider the Civil War to have been over slavery, but a schism between agrarian and industrial states. Slavery was ended by the 13th Amendment after Lincoln died, but throughout the war remained legal in all parts of the Union where it had been legal to begin with. Ironically, some parts of the Confederacy [e.g. Tennessee] outlawed slavery by the end of the war, before the Union did.
But you're a spoilsport if you bring that up during a political debate, speech or classroom discussion.
Similarly, a lot of media discussion, conservative and liberal, is "you know what I mean" handwaving [Yes, I know what you mean, but what you mean is wrong]
Emancipation Proclamation said:
Whereas, on the twenty-second day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two, a proclamation was issued by the President of the United States, containing, among other things, the following, to wit:
"That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State, or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free; and the Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom.
"That the Executive will, on the first day of January aforesaid, by proclamation, designate the States and parts of States, if any, in which the people thereof respectively, shall then be in rebellion against the United States; and the fact that any State, or the people thereof, shall on that day be in good faith represented in the Congress of the United States by members chosen thereto at elections wherein a majority of the qualified voters of such State shall have participated, shall in the absence of strong countervailing testimony, be deemed conclusive evidence that such State, and the people thereof, are not then in rebellion against the United States."
Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, by virtue of the power in me vested as commander-in-chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, in time of actual armed rebellion against authority and government of the United States, and as a fit and necessary war measure for suppressing said rebellion, do, on this first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and in accordance with my purpose so to do, publicly proclaimed for the full period of one hundred days from the day first above mentioned, order and designate as the States and parts of States wherein the people thereof, respectively, are this day in rebellion against the United States, the following, to wit:
Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana (except the parishes of St. Bernard, Plaquemines, Jefferson, St. John, St. Charles, St. James, Ascension, Assumption, Terrebonne, Lafourche, St. Mary, St. Martin, and Orleans, including the city of New Orleans), Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia (except the forty-eight counties designated as West Virginia, and also the counties of Berkley, Accomac, Northampton, Elizabeth City, York, Princess Ann, and Norfolk, including the cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth), and which excepted parts are, for the present, left precisely as if this proclamation were not issued.
And by virtue of the power and for the purpose aforesaid, I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated States and parts of States are, and henceforward shall be, free; and that the Executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authorities thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of said persons.
And I hereby enjoin upon the people so declared to be free to abstain from all violence, unless in necessary self-defence; and I recommend to them that, in all cases when allowed, they labor faithfully for reasonable wages.
And I further declare and make known, that such persons of suitable condition, will be received into the armed service of the United States to garrison forts, positions, stations, and other places, and to man vessels of all sorts in said service.
And upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justice, warranted by the Constitution, upon military necessity, I invoke the considerate judgment of mankind and the gracious favor of Almighty God.
In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the city of Washington, this first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the eighty-seventh.