Southerners — and some conservative sentimentalists — tell themselves two convenient lies about the Civil War. One is that the Confederate cause was an honorable one, the other is that the war wasn’t really about slavery. Neither of those stands up to very much scrutiny, and the former is mostly false in no small part because the latter is almost entirely false.
There were honorable men fighting on the Southern side, to be sure, and their fight was an honorable one to the extent that risking life and limb on behalf of one’s home and people is generally honorable. General Lee is widely considered to have been an honorable military man, and so was Field Marshal Rommel. But General Lee’s cause was destroying the United States of America to facilitate slavery. The historical record, including practically every Confederate document explaining Southern separation, makes that clear enough. That the abolitionists were imperfect in their commitment to the liberation of the slaves and that there were Southern men of conscience who detested slavery and yet fought on behalf of its preserver does not change any of that. The War Between the States wasn’t about cotton tariffs.
Read the whole thing – very good.