Most posters here concede the point that Reconstruction was not as nice to the South as it should have been, and so there has been virtually no debate on it -- not that I've seen.
But we should note that after Lincoln's assassination, East Tennessean Democrat Andrew Johnson became president, and did his best to protect the South from Radical Republicans' hopes for vengeance.
That was behind their efforts to impeach Johnson and remove him from office.
The question is whether Lincoln woulda, coulda been "kinder and gentler" to the South than Johnson was?
Some historians think so, but maybe the point can be debated?
The other question is whether, anywhere in world history, there’s ever been a rebellious region that waged war against the government that’s ever been treated as well in defeat as the south was.
I don't even see a debate there. Johnson was many things but one thing he was not and had zero capability to be was a statesmen. He was a hard, totally inflexible man.
Lincoln, IMHO, would have handled reconstruction much more diplomatically, would have (just as he did during the war) kept the Radical Republicans from their excesses, and gently eased the nation back together. Johnson was totally incapable of any of that.
He on one hand wanted to hang all the Confederate leaders while on the other pretend the war never happened. Neither was possible or desirable.
I see on an earlier post where one of the posters was cheering J.W. Booth shooting Lincoln. IMHO, if Lincoln had lived, we wouldn't even be having these debates today, the Lost Cause school would have never been born, and if we did talk about the Civil War it would be as dispassionate as if we were talking about the French-Indian war or the War of 1812.