The Confederate States of America existed between 1861 and 1865. During the CSA's period of existance, constant war raged. During the America Civil War the dixie Confederacy would be plagued by constant hardship, war, and hunger. The entire antebellum society and planter class that led the South from 1781 to 1865 would be vanquished during the war. After 1865 a strong backlash would occur, due to the Republic rule and the policies known as Reconstruction. The cause of the Southern Confederacy would become a legend known as the "lost cause" and the banner of the Confederacy would be a rallying tool for the disunited people of the South.
An important aspect of the Confederacy to examine is the issue of Slavery. While many modern historians characterize the South as a Slaveocracy, I am inclined to disagree. Many of the notable Southern Generals such as Robert E. Lee freed their slaves during the beginning of the Civil War, while northern Generals such as U. S. Grant did not free their slaves until after the war. Robert E. Lee did not wish to fight against the Union, but was inclined to do so because his loyalty lay with his home state, Virginia. The CSA was a patchwork of independent states, all believing that they were soverign in nature, and this is perhaps the reason for the death of the CSA. Maybe they died of State's Rights. To examine slavery; slavery during the antebellum period was a state right.
While Slavery is wrong, evil, immoral, and injust, the people of this period were fighting not just to protect Slavery, but state rights as a whole. They were fighting against a bloated Federal Government, that was just beginning to dictate policy to the states during this period. Slavery was just one example. Another is an economic example. Did you know that the South supplied almost 70% of U.S. national wealth during the antebellum period, but was made up of around 25% of eligible voters. The North had around 75% eligible voters, but supplied 30% of the wealth. Northern politicians imposed strict tariffs on the South, like the Morrell Act. Tariffs stripped the Southern States of wealth. One of the primary reasons for the creation of the CSA was to protect wealth, the wealth being generated in the south, from falling into Northern hands.
After the war the wealth of the South was stripped from them. Northern businessmen took agrarian land and property from the defeated planter classes. The wealth of the South was no longer in Southern hands, but in Northern hands. The primary cause for the war was over cotton, over the South's wealth. Slavery was a tool, but so was wage-laborers of the north who worked in terrible conditions, were exploited and paid next to nothing. Northern managers treated immigrants as second-class citizens like the South did with slaves. The only exception was that in the South slaves were generally cared for even after they could no longer work. If you couldn't work in the north you became a destitute homeless person and died of hunger.
I agree that Slavery was a horrible institution, but I also believe Northerners exploited wage-laborers in this period just as bad, if not more so. It wasn't until the 1920s that wage-laborers were given fair working hours and wages. The Civil War was fought to keep southern wealth in the hands of the U.S., in the hands of the greater populace, the north, and out of the hands of an independent southern state. Even so, the South nearly triumphed. U.S. Grant mentioned in a 1878 interview that he did not believe that the United States outnumbered the South and won through strength of numbers, but that he believed the United States won through hard fighting and costly defeat. Whatever the case, history was written to scew state rights and the real motives for the Civil War, economic wealth.