The Confederacy cannot be divorced from its consequence. If the South won, blacks would have remained enslaved as "property." Because the Union won, blacks were liberated as people and Americans.Kuhn's remark comes after Mississippi Governor Hailey Barbour defended Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell's decision to proclaim April "Confederate History Month." The myth that slavery was somehow the efficient cause of the war goes down well with people who, in addition to being historically challenged, like to give other people moralistic lectures about, well, just about anything. And by "other people," we mean primarily Republicans.
And in what way exactly are Republicans complicit in slavery? Well, you see, when you are rewriting history, it is convenient to forget that it was Republicans primarily who opposed it. In fact, it seems to be forgotten in these discussions that Lincoln was the first Republican president and that the defenders of slavery were primarily Democrats--who continued their obstructionism well after the War in their involvement in organizations like the Ku Klux Klan.
One would think that if the War was about slavery that Lincoln would have a) freed the slaves in northern territories in process of emancipating southern slaves (he didn't), and b) would have said, when asked, that that's what the war was about (he didn't).
Concerning b), here is Honest Abe himself in his letter to journalist Horace Greeley, who did want the war to be about slavery, but was frustrated because Lincoln wouldn't agree:
I would save the Union. I would save it the shortest way under the Constitution. The sooner the national authority can be restored; the nearer the Union will be "the Union as it was." If there be those who would not save the Union, unless they could at the same time save slavery, I do not agree with them. If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time destroy slavery, I do not agree with them. My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. 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. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union. I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts the cause, and I shall do more whenever I shall believe doing more will help the cause. I shall try to correct errors when shown to be errors; and I shall adopt new views so fast as they shall appear to be true views. [Emphasis added]But it does salve the consciences of certain people to make it appear that their opponents are defending slavery when they're not and who want the rest of us to conveniently forget the complicity of Democrats in everything from slavery to segregation.
I have here stated my purpose according to my view of official duty; and I intend no modification of my oft-expressed personal wish that all men every where could be free.