If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that.
- Letter from President Abraham Lincoln to the
Editor of the New York Times, Horace Greeley
Instead of Free or Slave, someone, (heck, anyone) should have suggested "temporary indentured servitude".
For example, any new states admitted to the Union for only the next 10 to 25 years, would only be allowed indentured servitude. By compromising on US territories, it would allow a middle ground to those for and against Slavery and especially open a financial future to The South slave holding states for a certain number of years.
Next, existing states with Slavery could convert all their slaves to indentured servitude. This way all those Southerners who invested their money and time into slaves would get some sort of compensation when going from the process of Slave to Indentured Servitude to Free while those against Slavery would see freedom for all slave over time.
Then, each slave state, within guidelines, could set reasonable time frames on indentured servitude based upon their economy, geographic, population, and even the type of job. Again, another compromise to help Slave Owners, who invested lots of their time and money, to regain some of their investment while seeing an orderly sunset of Slavery.
Then, after so many years, all states would phase out indentured servitude.