Henry Dieterich made an interesting comment concerning an Amy post (highlight is my emphasis):
We had the same incremental vs. no-compromise debate over slavery 150 years ago. The Republicans were the incrementalists, William Lloyd Garrison, John Brown, and their allies were the no-compromisers. The slave interest could see no difference between them, and when the incrementalists came to power in Washington, they started a war to preserve slavery. The war, and the end of slavery that it brought about, would not have happened if the ghost of John Brown had not been standing over Abraham Lincoln's shoulder. Eventually, I fear, we will come to a showdown on this issue as well. Incremental measures may preserve some sort of peace for a time, but in the end, the two sides have entirely incompatible goals. The valuable thing about incrementalism is that it can build an alliance that will make the final confrontation winnable. Outright abolitionists were a minority even in the North in 1859; but in many states you could get a majority against the Fugitive Slave Act.